I am Kurt Tech, MD and it is an honor to be the MRS President for 2006-07. I practice at William Beaumont Hospital at Royal Oak and Troy, Michigan in the area of Neuroradiology. My previous positions at the MRS included Board Member, Blue Cross/Blue Shield Liaison, Treasurer, President-Elect and Program Chair. Since Kathy handed the baton to me this last May, the MRS Board of Trustees met in June. Although we have not met as a board during the summer, your board members have been individually hard at work.
Before I brief you on those activities, I wish to thank Kathy Scharer for the great work that she has done on our behalf this past year. I will continue her local initiative of fighting economically motivated self-referral. She represented our positions well at MSMS meetings. It was also under Kathy’s leadership that the MRS renewed its outreach to the entire state of Michigan. For the first time in memory the MRS board held a joint meeting in Flint with the Saginaw Valley Section of the MRS. Associated Radiologists of Flint, PC hosted the meeting. Kathy now moves to the position of Past-President and I will seek her wise counsel in that position.
Much has happened this summer. First, Duane Mezwa, MD, our best expert on third party payers including Medicare and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, set up a meeting with Tom Ruane, MD and several members of the MRS board. Dr. Ruane is the head of BCBS PPO product. The meeting that took place in August, 2006 and its purpose was to renew the dialog with BCBS as to their decisions on radiology procedure codes that are payable to non-radiologists. We believe it was a success, but it was only a first step. As you know, many of the customers that BCBS serves such as GM and the Ford Motor Company currently are under financial pressure. We conveyed to Dr. Ruane that we believe the MRS can be an asset to BCBS and their customers to help them save money and improve the quality of radiological care that their patients receive.
Kevin O’Brien, MD, the MRS President-Elect and Program Chair is assembling a first class cardiac imaging interpretation meeting in conjunction with the ACR. This educational activity sponsored jointly by the MRS and the ACR is anticipated to take place sometime in June 2007 and will have case interpretation sessions to allow radiologists to get sufficient case interpretation numbers to meet ACR standards. This activity is a departure from our usual meeting that contains 1 hour of CME 3 times a year.
Ann Swinford, MD has finalized the Breast Imaging Conference that will take place this October at the Inn at St. John’s. You probably have received a mailing regarding this conference and we hope to see those performing Breast Imaging at the conference. The conference is a bi-annual event and sponsorship is ahead of the pace from two years ago. Sponsorship is very important to the financial success of the conference and that success allows the MRS to extend our educational efforts to other areas such as the planned cardiac imaging course. Educational activities are a core of our mission to the membership.
Another core mission is legislative activity at the state level. Dan Shumaker, MD heads our legislative liaison. He, along with our legal consultants, Jim Cavanagh and Dennis Cawthorne of Kelly-Cawthorne, has kept the pulse of legislative activity in Lansing.
There was a recent bill in the Michigan State Legislature that would allow Nurse Practitioners to prescribe medicine. While passage of this legislation likely would have little direct impact on radiology, we joined with the MSMS in opposition to this bill in the belief of its overall detriment to medical quality. We seek cooperation with the MSMS whenever possible while stressing to MSMS the potential dangers of endorsing the performance and interpretation of radiological procedures performed by non-radiologists. Additionally, many members of the MRS board also serve on various MSMS committees to represent our concerns.
Besides being current President of the MRS, I serve a parallel function of being the Chair of the Michigan Radiology Political Action Committee. The PAC is a distinct entity, but does coordinate its activities with the MRS to the extent permitted by law. To that end Dan Shumaker is coordinating the MRS political activity in Lansing along with our lobbying firm, and I (in my parallel role) am chairing the PAC organization to raise money for political contributions. So far the PAC has been very successful in its fund raising campaign and will soon be sending a letter to radiologists asking for support.
Lastly, Biren Shah, MD has been keeping this website at its best. He has been putting a large effort into enhancing its value to you. It is a great vehicle for distributing information to you that I am very excited about. Under Biren’s guidance we can anticipate its continued growth and improvement.
A lot has been happening this summer and there will be more to come for there is much work to do! The MRS board meets September 7, 2006 at William Beaumont Hospital. I look forward to a very productive year.
Kurt E Tech, MD – MRS President