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President's Message

Health care delivery in the United States is changing and the mission of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society is changing with it.

Traditionally, for many of us, patient care has been our total focus. I believe that no other group of people in medicine is more committed to the well being of their patients and the delivery of the highest quality, cost effective and compassionate care, than orthopaedic surgeons. I also believe that no other group of physicians has done a better job of achieving these goals than orthopaedic surgeons.

Recent changes in the health care delivery system have required most orthopaedic surgeons to broaden our scope of effort. We now must focus much of our attention in other areas such as contract negotiations, malpractice management, ancillary services and quality assurance, to mention a few.

The Virginia Orthopaedic Society has evolved in a similar manner. In the past, the Virginia Orthopaedic Society provided a patient care oriented educational role for state orthopaedic surgeons. This role has become somewhat less important as a result of strength of the educational resources of our Academy and specialty societies. Nonetheless, the list of visiting professors at the annual spring VOS meeting is extremely impressive and the quality of papers is ever-improving. The VOS has always strongly supported our state's orthopaedic residency programs. We must continue to be strong in these areas.

Recent leadership in the VOS has recognized the need to broaden the scope of VOS as orthopaedic surgeons. Allow us to address some of our goals in areas, which in many ways have as much or more impact on the welfare of our patients.

  1. The VOS must continue to broaden our political contribution. A relatively small group of orthopaedic surgeons has made major contributions to the VOS and our state on issues vital to orthopaedic surgeons and our patients including: (1) Fair Business Practice, (2) Malpractice Cap, (3) Podiatry scope of practice, (4) Physical Therapy direct access, and (5) Certificates of Public Need. We have the finest lobbyist in the state, but we are outspent and we need better participation. Letters to political leaders, telephone calls and best of all, personal meetings, are vital to our role of ensuring the highest quality of musculoskeletal care. The Medical Society of Virginia has a well-organized lobbying effort and encourages our participation.

  2. The VOS will continue to attempt to identify state-specific issues of importance to our members and hold symposia on these issues at the Annual Meeting. Issues of importance include many of the topics previously listed and the VOS will also help provide a means to identify and keep our membership informed of VOS activity. In addition, the VOS has a website at VOS.org, which encourages our membership to identify topics of importance. These topics can range from business issues to coding to technical issues (arthroscopic knot tying or unicompartmental knee arthoplasty). The VOS is under certain legal restrictions, e.g., the VOS can provide information regarding how to negotiate and evaluate contracts but cannot make recommendations as to which contracts to accept or modify, as this is an individual group decision. This year's symposium is on ancillary services. We will have representatives from locations around the state address how they have handled, (1) In office surgery rooms within COPN restrictions (similar to what has been done in other specialties), (2) MRI facilities, (3) Therapy issues.

  3. The VOS will continue to work with our national societies and the Academy to assist with issues of national importance. One of our current goals is to have Virginia support our Academy by issuing a proclamation in support of the years 2000-2010 as the Bone and Joint Decade.

  4. We would strive to include all orthopaedic surgeons in our state to join our society. Dues are business expenses and are not excessive. This newsletter and our website at VOS.org will keep our membership aware of VOS activity. Hopefully, as Virginia Orthopaedic Surgeons become more informed of the activity and value of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society, this, in turn, will promote membership and participation.

We should take pride in the past accomplishments of the Virginia Orthopaedic Society. Founded in 1933, VOS is the oldest of all state orthopaedic societies. We will continue to be thankful to the many who have contributed to our past success but will strive toward the developments of the dynamic, flexible society to meet the specific musculosketal needs to our patients here in Virginia.

D. Christopher Young, MD
VOS President

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