A Letter from the MSNVA Board of Directors President

January 18, 2012 - By Brenda Dintiman

As we start the New Year, I am excited about the opportunity as your President to support and advocate for physicians in Northern Virginia.   Those of you who attended the MSNVA Annual dinner heard my vignette reflecting on how my career in medicine began and  how my very brief "childhood career in politics" ended.

To recap, I ran for president of the class in 6th grade and was asked to make a poster to illustrate what I stood for and promised to change for the students.  I proudly promised longer recesses, better school lunches and less homework.  As soon as I hung my posters on the wall, I got called to the principal's office.  The principal told me "You can't promise these things, they are not in your control."  Not only did I lose the race but I had to tell my parents that I had been reprimanded in the principal's office for trying to change things that were not in my control.  And there ended my political career. The next thing I knew my parent's had me studying biology, dissecting frogs and I was on my way to medical school.

Now 40 years later, I am faced with a similar theme.  Many days as physicians it feels that very little is in our control and that we should not enter into the political arena or attempt to change things.  Yet, we are challenged in the New Year to look at our life and to reflect on our hopes and dreams for the future of medicine.

As physicians, we have to address what is in our control and what changes we have to accept.  Threatening SGR cuts, healthcare reform, EMR, new technology all are producing change and anxiety.  Yet, we must join together to give our input because there is strength in numbers.

At the Medical Society of Northern Virginia, we are here to help you with the changes that are taking place.  I ask you in this New Year to focus on three things.
1) Rekindle something old.  Read the Hippocratic oath that you took and remember what it felt like the first time you took care of a patient and knew that you were making a difference in their life.  Take this opportunity to renew your love of your passion for reading, playing tennis or spending time with friends that you may have put aside.

2) Embrace something new.  Vow to take better care of yourself this year and spend time networking with your fellow physicians.  Send your practice manager to the MSNVA breakfasts to help support your office.  Make it your goal this year to send electronic prescriptions and consider electronic medical records for your practice.  Consult one of MSNVA's business sponsors and have them help  you  to improve your employee benefits, renegotiate your office lease or obtain a business loan to convert to electronic medical records.

3) Most importantly, let us help you find your voice again.  Now is the time for physicians to be fearless about expressing their ideas and opinions about the changes that are occurring in medicine.  As a member of MSNVA, we encourage you to talk to your legislators about the changes that you want to see in medicine.  Join us at one of the "White Coat Days" in Richmond to show legislators that physicians do care about the changes that are occurring.

Just remember we will be by your side, even if you get called to the "principal's office."

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