As one of over 750,000 practicing physicians in the United States, it seems impossible that you could influence the field by advocating for change on your own. Think of what you might accomplish though, if you were to add your name to the roster of a more powerful force, a medical association with thousands of members? Wouldn’t that lend your voice real power and strength?
Let’s face it, being a physician is more than a full-time job. Every day, your primary purpose is of course caring for patients. However, that is not everything you are responsible for. Chasing down insurance reimbursement, staying technologically current and abreast of research in your field, retaining compliance with shifting legislation, while still finding time for a personal life. It can be physically, psychologically, and spiritually exhausting and can sometimes feel isolating as well.
Feeling isolated doesn’t necessarily mean you are alone though. You can and should find refuge in your peers through a medical association. Medical associations at the local, state, and national levels exist because like-minded people banded together to share knowledge and support a common cause. An association’s strength is in its membership, the sum of which is far greater than its individuals.
“The concept is that all of us are smarter than any [one] of us,” states Ted Epperly, who is president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. “Our single greatest objective is advocacy, with people speaking on your behalf to very powerful groups — the president of the United States, large employers, insurance groups. Through an organization you can get access.”
By aligning yourself with an organization that is working in your best interests, you not only support causes that matter to you, but gain an outlet where your professional voice can be heard. The ability makes a difference in what happens to your message. Especially in smaller organizations, such as county or state medical societies, leaders are receptive to members’ concerns and frequently place support and resources behind them.
“You can put in requests that can be acted upon,” says Epperly. “Many associations are kind of like unions: They represent you. Your membership can affect the association. It’s a two-way street.”
Nationally, there’s been an overall trend of declining membership numbers in formal groups, clubs, and associations for decades. The movement away from organizational membership is unfortunate, as there’s great value in engaging with a network of like-minded individuals.Association membership can provide you with fulfilling relationships, professional networking and leadership opportunities, career advancement leads, and easy access to recommendations, resources and advice on a wealth of business or patient care topics. It could win you some new patient referrals from fellow members and help you make a difference in the future of your industry.
At Emerald Coast Medical Association, our goal is to support and empower our members to promote the highest quality of patient care and practitioner education. We are both a professional and scientific organization of medical and osteopathic physicians, and the local affiliate of the Florida Medical Association). Our physicians choose to join because they know they are most effective in attaining quality medical care with a strong team surrounding them. As a member you are invited to ECMA Member Meetings which spotlight hot topics and emerging trends in medicine and you have access to our cutting edge Continuing Medical Education and our group health insurance benefits. Additionally, Our Board of Governors routinely take time to advocate for patients and physicians at the local, state, and federal level.
If you are a medical professional, we would welcome your involvement and participation! Please click below to learn about what we offer and join us today.