8 October 2015

The Value of Medical Society Membership for Large Group-Employed Physicians

In an era of rapid consolidation in healthcare, industry organizations are having a harder time sustaining their membership — particularly when it comes to physicians working within large groups like healthcare systems or outsourced physician services providers like Sheridan Healthcare. Large group members are, in many ways, protected and supported by their employer, leading them to believe that they have less need for support from a medical society.

However, healthcare providers should remain committed to their individual development beyond the enrichment opportunities furnished by their employers. Medicine is not a static field, so it’s critical to stay engaged in the conversations and transformations happening around clinical techniques, safety measures and healthcare policy. Sheridan provides leadership and ongoing education programming for its physicians, but encourages them to join industry organizations as well; Sheridan anesthesiologists, for example, are encouraged to become members of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and other industry groups.

There is also value in the ability to unite as a specialty, with peers beyond a physician’s immediate network, to address the larger challenges of the field. Though there’s a sense of “strength in numbers” in a large group practice, the ability to unite as an industry is crucial to effect change in the policy and advocacy work that trade groups often do.

Additionally, large group employers benefit when their providers stay up to date on the advocacy, clinical and managerial guidelines and advisories issued by medical societies. An organization is made stronger if all of its constituents optimize their industry knowledge. Resources related to practice standards, education and MOCA, quality and advocacy can be of great value to a large practice.

Some large groups encourage association membership by covering the annual dues. Though supportive, this has the potential to result in registration without real participation. To encourage active engagement, industry organizations must ensure their membership is relevant and valuable to large group physicians. Sheridan’s National Education Director for the anesthesiology division, Dr. Adam Blomberg, serves on the ASA’s Committee on Large Group Practice and works to develop offerings that are tailored to large group physicians and are complementary to the resources large groups like Sheridan already offer their employees. To stay relevant, medical societies’ offerings will need to evolve as the industry’s structure evolves.