I’d like to share some thoughts on what the future holds this year as I finish my first six weeks as President of the CSA.
First of all, my goal is for CSA to be the leader for patient safety in California. I am so proud that CSA’s House of Delegates on June 5 unanimously passed the first-ever “Patient Safety Bill of Rights”, which promotes patient safety and uniform standards of care across the continuum from sedation through general anesthesia.
This resolution supports one goal: that all anesthetics administered in every location apply the same standards of care that physician anesthesiologists developed, are known for, and use every day. Anesthesiology, after all, is the only medical specialty to be singled out for significantly improving patient safety in the landmark 1999 Institute of Medicine report, “To Err Is Human: Building a Safer Health System”.
Patients have a right to expect a uniform standard of anesthesia delivery and monitoring no matter where they seek medical or dental care. CSA has consistently advocated for patient safety in the face of proposals for deep sedation to be provided by non-physicians – by nurses, dentists, and respiratory therapists, for instance.
In another battle, CSA is actively fighting for adequate physician networks to be provided by insurers so that patients have adequate access to care. We believe that the definition of an “in network” facility should be clear: that all services a patient could expect to need may be delivered in that facility by contracted physicians, after negotiation of fair contracts with insurers. We are working to protect patients from out-of-network “surprise” bills. We are also working to protect physicians from being excluded from narrow networks, and from being short-changed by insurers who refuse to negotiate in good faith.
Yet CSA cannot do it alone. We need your help. Advocate for your patients, advocate for your practices, and advocate for patient safety. Step up and lead! If you don’t, others will. Leverage your voice by donating to your anesthesiology political action committee. Please donate toGASPAC at http://www.GASPAC.org today!
This year we will pursue the mission of CSA: to promote the highest standards in anesthesiology and patient safety, to provide education, and to advocate for patients and for the profession of anesthesiology.
This year we will promote the vision of CSA: to bethe trusted source for information about anesthesiology and patient safety.
As president of CSA, I commit to you that CSA will engage in transparency and communication. I have opened the CSA committee self-nomination process to all members, and revitalized the conflict-of-interest policy throughout society activities. I want to ensure open and transparent processes for the members of CSA. All committee members and delegates must remember that we serve the entire membership – whether members are in academic or private practice, and whether they work in small, large, or national groups.
As CSA enjoys entering its second year working with Association Management Group in Sacramento, and with our Executive Director David Butler, the Board of Directors will be moving from an operations focus to a strategy focus. Immediate Past President James Moore, MD, helped devise and set the stage for specific committee goals and functions. Our new strategic plan includes:
- A new regional public affairs and advocacy initiative, funded in part by a grant from the ASA
- A promising partnership with high schools in STEM education
- Robust practice affairs information and programs
- Better financial support for advocacy via GASPAC
- An improved online nomination and elections system
- Focus on residency engagement and future leaders
- A new long-term vision and plan for CSA’s annual educational meeting.
I look forward, with your help, to a great year for CSA! Thank you for your membership and your support.
Mark Zakowski, MD
President, California Society of Anesthesiologists