President's Message

By N. Douglas Boardman III, MD
President, Virginia Orthopaedic Society


N. Douglas Boardman III, MD

VOS PresidentNPs and PAs
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VOS 2009 Annual Meeting

Dear Virginia Orthopaedic Society Members,

As we end a very pleasant and cooler-than-usual July in Virginia, I am pleased to serve as your new President in this very dynamic time for healthcare, both at the state level and nationally. I would like to acknowledge the efforts of my predecessors, notably Dr. Joel Stewart, who, along with Luke Balsamo, put together a great meeting in Virginia Beach in May. Congratulations Joel and Luke for a job well done and for achieving (with a bit of legwork by Matt Van Wie at Society Headquarters) a record level of sponsorship for the meeting.

Preparations for the 63rd Annual Meeting on April 30-May 2, 2010 in Charlottesville continue to proceed at a healthy pace. The program chairs, Dr. Jonathan Isaacs from Richmond and Dr. Trey Cui from Charlottesville, have conceived a very exciting and novel meeting agenda, which will appeal to a wide range of interests. I challenge all members to make plans to attend what will surely be another excellent meeting in a fine location. We will keep you apprised of the meeting plans as they progress.

Your Board continues their efforts to increase the size of our membership. A committee chaired by President-elect Bobby Chhabra has been created to focus specifically on this issue. We want to be an inclusive Society and continually strive to reach out to the Virginia orthopaedic community in an attempt to bolster our numbers through maximizing the perceived membership value and streamlining the membership process. The institution of group billing, for example, has met with great success in the past two years. And while the Board has made extraordinary efforts to include as many orthopaedic groups as possible under group billing, we recognize that we have not reached all of the surgeons in the state. Thus, we have charged Dr. Chhabra’s committee with the task of enhancing the Society’s relationship with as large a percentage of Virginia orthopaedists as possible. I would also ask that Society members who belong to group practices also take the initiative to ensure that their groups participate in the group billing process. In these highly-charged political times, numbers matter — the larger our membership, the greater the clout we wield within the medical community and in the political arena.

On the political side, a couple of State issues deserve mention. First, efforts to protect our $2 million malpractice cap continue. An attempt during this year’s General Assembly session to introduce legislation raising the cap was thwarted, but no doubt the issue will reappear next year, so we must remain prepared and involved. We all have the responsibility to involve ourselves in the political theater — failure to do so will not serve us well in the months and years to come. Whether through interacting with legislators at regional meetings or visiting the Senators and Delegates in Richmond, we have the ability individually and collectively to influence the future of medicine in Virginia. Second, the VOS recently partnered with the Medical Society of Virginia and MagMutual to prepare an amicus brief on the ability of podiatrists to provide expert witness testimony on issues of causation. Current Virginia State statutes prohibit this testimony, but an amicus brief arising out of a personal injury case was filed on behalf of the podiatrists calling for change in Virginia law such that podiatrists could provide such expert testimony. The MSV and VOS oppose any changes in current law, and have joined forces to maintain the current statutes. Of course, legal actions require financial commitments. I had previously made a request for special contributions to help support our endeavors and would like to reiterate this request. I appreciate the support we have received thus far, and will keep our membership informed of this case as it develops.

On the national front, the efforts of the current administration to implement some sort of healthcare “reform” continue. In this context, it is imperative that we remain proactive and involved throughout the process. Our Academy does provide us a voice in Congress, and your Board will also advocate for the Virginia orthopaedic community. We, as individuals, can also contact our representatives directly to voice our opinions and concerns. As we enter what promises to be some very dynamic and likely turbulent times, active participation in the process is our obligation.

I would like to take this opportunity to inform you of an upcoming Practice Management meeting which the VOS is co-sponsoring with the Virginia Society of Anesthesiologists. The meeting will take place on October 3 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Richmond and will address multiple practice-related issues from contracting to malpractice and government relations. Delegate Phil Hamilton, recipient of our Legislator of the Year Award, will be among the participants in what should be a very informative meeting.

Of course, no message from your leadership would be complete without a shameless appeal for contributions to the OrthoPAC. Our government relations specialist, Cal Whitehead, provides us outstanding service and has an excellent reputation in the legislature. But his ability to lobby on our behalf does hinge to a good degree on the amount of money in our coffers. At the Annual Meeting in May, the Board instituted a challenge to the membership by achieving 100% Board participation in the OrthoPAC. I would like to reaffirm that challenge and strongly encourage our members to give generously. I recognize that we all have financial obligations to the Academy and multiple societies, but I believe that you will find the return on dollars spent at a state level to be as great or greater than that on dollars spent at a national level.

In closing, I look forward to a challenging and exciting year ahead for the Virginia Orthopaedic Society. We must participate regionally and nationally in the political process to protect our interests in the face of external forces. Through increasing our membership rolls, visibility in the Assembly, and OrthoPAC contributions, we as a Society have the ability to help craft a viable future for orthopaedic surgery in Virginia.

N. Douglas Boardman, III, MD
President, Virginia Orthopaedic Society

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