A Review of the Past, and a Look Forward: The Importance of our Work and the Potential of Our Future
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Over the past two years we witnessed the greatest challenge to the medical profession in our lifetimes. Physicians across the country, and especially here in DuPage County, should feel great pride in the medical profession's achievements during the COVID-19 pandemic. We made a profound difference.
Led by our incomparable Executive Committee, our DuPage County Medical Society (DCMS) contributed in numerous ways to the benefit of DuPage County and our medical community. Partnering with the DuPage County Health Department and its medical officer and DCMS past president, Rashmi Chugh, MD, our Society dedicated hundreds of hours of work to inform our colleagues and the public about COVID-19 and the benefits of vaccinations.
DCMS also partnered in these efforts with world class physician leaders from AMITA, Advocate, Northwestern Medicine, and Walgreens in a series of webinars. The generous participation of Stuart Marcus, MD, Valerie Phillips, MD, and Chet Robson, DO, along with DCMS leaders, assured that health professionals in our community had access to the most current and correct COVID information.
Chicago Department of Public Health commissioner, Allison Arwady, MD, graciously engaged with hundreds of DCMS members and others during our remarkable "Pandemics Past, Present and Future" webinar.
Combined, these efforts helped DuPage County achieve one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation – a welcome success!
During the state legislature's session this year the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association attempted to pass a selfish and destructive medical malpractice bill that would harm not only physicians, but also patient care across the state. Working with the Illinois State Medical Society, our DCMS Governmental Affairs Committee, led by chair Lanny Wilson, MD, galvanized area physicians in a statewide effort that ultimately prevented adoption of the most onerous parts of the proposal. Our success with this and other health-related legislative initiatives stems in great measure from the relationships Lanny and the Committee have established with area lawmakers.
DCMS is now engaged as never before with the Midwestern University/CCOM medical school in Downers Grove, promoting awareness of this important medical education center in our community. The school's dean, DCMS member Thomas Boyle, DO, and his colleagues, helped successfully guide hundreds of medical students through an educational experience unprecedented in modern times. Exceptional physicians practice in DuPage County, and DCMS is dedicated to a collaboration with our county's only medical school that will benefit doctors, future doctors, and county residents.
Over the last five decades our DuPage Medical Society Foundation has raised and donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support and guide future health professionals. These efforts continue. Nearly all of the Foundation's funding comes from you, our community's physicians. Thank you! I am proud to join you with a $1000 contribution in honor of the DCMS Executive Committee and the outstanding work these leaders undertake on behalf of all of us.
To benefit those in our community facing food insecurity, DCMS continues to forge a relationship with the Northern Illinois Food Bank (NIFB). Through our semi-annual "Physicians Make a Difference" volunteer events, DCMS members have donated hundreds of hours to help advance the NIFB vision – "for everyone in Northern Illinois to have the food they need to thrive." In addition, this month the DCMS executive committee made a major financial donation in support of this important charity.
I have enjoyed the honor of serving as DuPage County Medical Society president for the last two years. I witnessed the best of our profession. During this momentous time in health care history, I saw colleagues, in ways big and small, being heroes and making profound differences in the lives of countless patients and families.
A member of DCMS for over 25 years, I am so proud of the 100+ year tradition of our Society as a guiding force in health care in our county. We enjoy remarkable success thanks to the selfless commitment of generations of physician leaders, men and women who believed, as we do, in the noble profession of medicine. If nothing else, these pandemic years have convinced me of the critical importance of physician leadership for the best future of medicine. We remain the intellectual core of medicine, and the most important advocate for our patients.
As Mitra Kalelkar, MD, takes over as the next president of DCMS, I hope you too become more actively engaged with our DuPage County Medical Society. Help us continue adding strong links to the unbroken chain of leaders who have so capably met the many challenges our profession has faced since our Society was born during the last great pandemic in 1918! As my mother always said, "You will receive much more than you give." Our profession needs physician leadership, now more then ever.
Thank you for helping DCMS thrive and allowing me the privilege of leading the Society.
Leadership is a privilege to better the lives of others.
- Mwai Kibaki (Kenya's third President)
Rockford G Yapp, MD, MPH
DuPage County Medical Society
The prior authorization cost management tool used by third-party payers regularly requires physicians to submit additional forms and documentation before their recommended patient care is approved for payment. The requirements delay needed care, sometimes preventing patients from accessing care at all. Physicians stress that increasing overuse and misuse of prior authorization by insurers is harming Illinois patients and placing heavy burdens on their care teams.
To assess the impact, ISMS surveyed Illinois physicians and healthcare institutions about their prior authorization experiences. The more than 1,000 responses received detailed a wide range of concerns and highlighted the urgent need for reform.
House Bill 711 and Senate Bill 177, the Prior Authorization Reform Act, will create a system to reduce long term health care costs by eliminating or reducing inefficiencies and by keeping people healthy on the front end. Among other provisions, the Act would establish deadlines for prior authorization decisions – 24 hours for urgent care services and 72 hours for nonurgent care.
Glen Ellyn's Andrew Tran, a DCMS student member at Tulane, and his younger sister, Kaitlyn Tran, share thoughts on generational difference in this Member Pulse. All views are those of the authors.
ANDREW: I was looking at an odd rash – or something that looked like a rash – during a virtual conference. The speaker displayed a peculiar, rhomboid plaque with central pallor and surrounding erythema. Even more unusual, this diamond-shaped lesion repeated down the forearm. I was stumped; I had no clue what caused the strange plaque.
Eventually the presenter revealed that the rash or lesion was due to applying salt and ice to the forearm. I'll be honest, that was definitely not on my differential. I even Googled "diamond rash on forearm" and pictures of psoriasis and allergic reactions popped up – not salt and ice.
Interestingly, when I showed my sister the image she immediately diagnosed it as the "Salt and Ice Challenge" from TikTok. My sister is in high school and has had no medical training. But she does have expertise as a Gen-Zer – the generation of Americans similar to Millennials, like me, but according to the Pew Research Center, also the most educated, technologically savvy, and ethnically diverse generation yet. This combination of traits adds to and challenges our collective conversation and identity and in some cases like mine, offers valuable knowledge for our profession.
Although unexpected, my sister now joins the group of professors, colleagues, and patients that have offered their unique experiences to help shape my education. Given my learning experience, I encourage others to welcome our younger peers to the table and listen to what they have to say.
KAITLYN: Born as the first digital natives, Gen Zers take full advantage of it in becoming modern-day innovators, educators, and reformers. The internet and social media support our worldwide connection and collaboration with others. Gen Zers exhibit great courage to go beyond the norms established by previous generations.
Gen Zers make great experimenters, testing one trend after another – each one leaving a unique impact. However, a downside to some influential trends is the hidden underlying danger behind them. Is this risky? What are the consequences? Those concerns are seldom raised and tend to go unnoticed by Gen Z.
Unintended consequences occur from time to time, but one positive takeaway could be a potential lesson to be learned and taught to others. To my surprise, I found myself having to explain the popular “Salt and Ice Challenge” to my clueless older brother – a Millennial.
Gen Z is the future. Curious, we strive to be educated and continue to investigate answers to the unknown. I hope the trends we explore or the new measures we create can ultimately help make the world a better place.