If you are a medical professional in the industry today, then you’re here at a time when change is more familiar than constancy. With residents having new health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, ongoing local hospital and clinic mergers, as well as continued preparations for the ICD-10 medical coding / billing conversion (which has now been delayed until at least October 2015), there is never a dull moment in our daily routine.
In addition, the 2014 Legislative Session has had some major focus on health-related bills. HB 7113, which is being called an “omnibus bill” by the Florida Medical Association, was passed by the House of Representatives unanimously. In the last week of the session, the House was preparing to bring this bill before the Senate. Some of the topics addressed in this bill were telemedicine, ARNP scope of practice, mandatory checking of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database, and the meat of HB 373 (legislation that would require hospitals to give 120 days of advance notice to physicians with privileges when closing the obstetrics department) . . . It is essential that we, as physicians, remain involved and make sure our voices are heard. Or inevitably, decisions will be made for us and legislations will be signed into law that we may or may not agree with.
In the midst of all of the government regulations, politics, new policies and procedures, and new faces, we are all trying to stay focused on the reason why we came to be physicians: To keep the “care” in the word healthcare. It would be easy to fall into the trap of the bureaucracy (or red-tape) of the business, and forget what put us on this path to caring for patients. Dr. Maria Martino, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Lakeland OB/GYN and a Polk County Medical Association member, shares her story of the discovery for her passion. Her Medical Memoirs serve as a pleasant reminder for why we ultimately found our calling in the medical field. I encourage you to read her story, as well as the updates in this edition of Central Florida Doctor on all of the happenings in the local industry.
Last, but certainly not least, I recommend attending the upcoming event on May 21. The Polk County Medical Association will be hosting an HCV Screening and Linkage seminar. The event will be held at Grillsmith, 1569 Town Center Drive in Lakeland, and begins at 6:30 p.m. To get more information, call the PCMA office at (863) 644-4051. To register online, go to www.simplyspeakinghepatitis.com, click on event registration, enter event code 23410189, and click on “Begin Registration.” You will not want to miss this lecture on new evaluation and diagnosis for Hepatitis C.
Arvind B. Soni, M.D.
Director of Radiation Oncology
St. Joseph’s Hospital, BayCare Health System
President, Polk County Medical Association