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President's Message - Fall 2017

By John F. McCarthy, MD | SCMS President

I have had the honor of working as your SCMS president for nine months and as I have alluded to in previous letters, it has been a period of introspection, transitioning, and refocusing. We have taken a “no holds barred” look at the society to determine our value to you and to our community. We went so far as discussing the dissolution of the society as has happened in some communities. We discussed the value of the society in very raw terms. It has been a deliberate wide open discussion and I have been impressed by my colleagues on the board. You should be aware of their commitment and I would ask you to thank them for their intentional and time consuming work. And now it is time to move forward with our plans.

Let me start by saying that as we have refocused, we have taken a hard look at dues structure and have made some changes. That is not a traditional business plan and some might say unwise. At the same time, we want to be honest and align dues with value. In the past, dues were tied to hospital privileges. When I came back to work in Spokane, my dues covered hospital credentialing, that is no longer the case. We also are cutting our expenses with some of the overhead we have been paying out. (Some would suggest we are a model the federal government could emulate.) These are responsible, important, and appropriate changes.

As we reduce our dues, we still would like to offer the real value we can provide to the community. We believe this is an appropriate price point for the advocacy, networking, community assistance, community voice, and neutral perspective that we offer. Our colleagues on the board and in the community have passionately expressed an interest for our society’s existence; it is something which most members and non-members whom we spoke voiced as important for Spokane.

We spoke with a number of physicians, health systems, and physicians/physician assistants to come to this this conclusion. It has been an intentional series of discussions. We have committed to working with the Spokane Regional Health District to vigorously address the opiate epidemic that all of us play a role in. I can say, without question, that if my dues help me deal with a couple less patients not dealing with narcotic misuse, it has been a worthwhile investment.

So I have an ask, and it is an important one that has been informed by hundreds of hours of your colleague’s time looking at these issues. Consider joining if you are not a member and rejoining if you are a member. We are likely advocating for you regardless of your membership and we will continue to do so and we need adequate resources to do the important work which we have been doing and will continue to do.

As we re-emerge from our introspection with reduced overhead, streamlined services, and commitment to supporting you, we believe your membership will add value to your work as a physician/physician assistant in our community. Thank you for thoughtfully considering.

Picture of John McCarthy, MD, President of SCMS


John F. McCarthy, MD
SCMS President

Spokane County Medical Society
Ph: 509.325.5010 | Fax: 509.325.5409
708 North Argonne Road, Suite 5 | Spokane, WA 99212-2760