It is an honor and a privilege to serve as President of The Academy of Medicine of Cleveland & Northern Ohio (AMCNO). Our organization, with origins going back to 1824, today represents more than 5,000 physicians and surgeons throughout Northeast Ohio. We are here to advocate for issues important to our membership and to assist with other practice and professional needs.
I would like to thank all of the physicians that are current members of the AMCNO for your continued support of our prestigious organization. The AMCNO continues our dedicated representation of the physician community. Over the past year we monitored numerous legislative initiatives and ongoing medical-legal issues. In addition, the AMCNO has been confronted by some very unique challenges in our mission to support physicians in being strong advocates for all patients and promoting the highest quality of medicine. One of the issues facing medicine today is the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court of the United States. To assist our members in addressing these issues, we have published numerous articles about the ACA and what physicians need to do to prepare for the ACA. We have also co-sponsored programs with other organizations to provide timely information to our members about the ACA its future. In addition, the AMCNO has partner with regional coalitions to support Medicaid expansion in the state of Ohio.
The AMCNO has been actively involved with the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team (GCOAT), in order to assist physicians on how to deal with the ongoing prescription drug epidemic in our state. We have had extensive meetings with the State Medical Board of Ohio staff, giving major input into the proposed physician licensure fee changes and we opposed the implementation of the Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) pilot program. We have submitted recommendations to the Ohio Supreme Court, urging amendment of the affidavit of merit program and we supported the Apology Statute which was ultimately upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court. We have supported numerous pieces of legislation including bills dealing with physician immunity legislation, establishment of licensing requirements for genetic counseling and clinical research, the texting ban law, tightening up regulation on controlled substances, the modification of how physicians contract with health insurers, establishing state-wide standards for youth athlete removal and return to sports events, and the indoor smoking ban. At the federal level, we continue to write to our Congressional representatives expressing our concerns about sequestration and its’ potential impact on graduate medical education and Medicare reimbursement.
The AMCNO is an active participant in the Cuyahoga County Health Alliance with the County Executive’s office and the Northeast Ohio Patient Navigation Collaborative (NEO-PNC) Program, with the Center for Health Affairs. We have also had ongoing input into the activities of the Ohio Health Information Partnership through the CliniSync Clinical Advisory Committee.
Our Academy of Medicine Educational Foundation (AMEF) raises monies for medical student scholarships. We also interact with local agencies and charities to provide support and assistance for local health care projects. We sponsor public education through our radio programs and services such as The Pollen Hotline.
In advocating for physicians the AMCNO addresses important aspects of a physicians’ practice and our daily professional lives – many of which are not obvious to us. It is important to participate in the AMCNO since physicians are our patient’s advocate and we can be assured that our concerns and our voice can be heard through the AMCNO.
The next year will present a full agenda comprised of numerous important regional and statewide healthcare debates. We stand ready to advocate for issues important to our physician membership and to provide a whole host of opportunities and support in giving Ohio and Ohio physicians the information, communications, and representation to make the high quality practice of medicine more manageable and rewarding.
Our immediate role is as caregivers for our patients. Yet we also owe it to them to be informed and to be able to participate and offer solutions for the ongoing healthcare discussions and policy debates. Please continue to follow the AMCNO communications and visit our website regularly for updates on current issues. More knowledge leads to a meaningful participation at all levels. We invite you to join our efforts and enjoy the collegial networking that makes medical care in Northern Ohio so unique and rewarding to us as practitioners as well as beneficial to our patients.
Please contact us with any of your concerns, interests, and ideas. We always look forward to hearing from you.
George V. Topalsky, M.D.
AMCNO President, 2013-14