Well, this is a first in many ways- first blog ever and first presidency of anything.  The past 2 months have been an eye opening experience to say the least.  I cannot thank Gerry and Janice enough for the great Annual Meeting we had in November.  The behind the scenes work that goes on at KAFP is a monumental task.  This month will be my first bit of travelling for the KAFP as we will be attending the Ten State Conference in Hershey, PA.  I will bring back info from that conference in my next blog.  18 months ago or so, the KAFP Board decided to hire a lobbyist group.  I think it is one of the best decisions we’ve made.  With the constant changes in healthcare, MMLK has been instrumental in keeping us aware of legislation and helping us work with our legislature to keep Family Physicians’ interests going.  And a big thank you to our Advocacy Committee who have spent countless hours travelling to Frankfort and speaking with our state representatives and senators.

That being said, we need to support our specialty and KAFP by being involved in these grassroots efforts for legislation that affects not only the practice of medicine but also our patients’ access to care.  The ARNP bill that was begun last year and hammered out by Ron Waldridge and the Advocacy committee with the Nurse Practitioners’ group over the summer and fall will hopefully be signed this week.  It will ensure that ARNP’s will have to collaborate with physicians for 4 years before they can practice on their own.  This will help ensure quality care that comes from experience.  Other legislation put forth this session is mandated CME on pediatric abusive head trauma for FP, EM, UTC, and radiologists.  This is another hour of mandated CME but discussion involves trying to decrease some of the other mandated CME.  The Medical Order Scope of Treatment bill will help define a patient’s wishes for end of life care.  And our opinions will be sought on medical marijuana, Public smoking, the use of Narcan in heroin overdoses, and many more.

Thanks to Ron, Nancy and Brent the state legislators have newfound respect for KAFP.  Their willingness to negotiate in a fair way with the ARNP group, always putting the interests of patients first, means that we can influence the health of Kentuckians in one more way.  But that means we need to get more members involved.  So if the three people that might actually read this reach out to another 2-3 docs, etc, etc then we can have a vibrant organization.  If you have any ideas, comments or suggestions let us hear them.  Keep up the good work and I hope the Affordable Care Act becomes affordable one day!

Patty Swiney