It seems like the seasons change daily here in Illinois. We have a beautiful summer day in April and a cold winter day in May. Ironically, change in our lives is our only constant, especially when it comes to healthcare. Our hospitals in the area show that. We have seen hospital names changed, procedures altered and familiar faces come and go. It’s our normal now.
But some changes can be good. How about using media to inform our patients of new technologies and advancements? Take the radio program, “House Calls” on WRMN 1410-AM as an example. It has featured many topics such as disease prevention and other healthcare topics. Recently, there was a show that aired where three of our member physicians were guest speakers. Dr. Christine Mueller, Dr. Humberto Lamoutte and Dr. Timothy Roth were featured. Each had the chance to speak on uses for the da Vinci robot, which is a robotic platform offering minimally invasive options in many specialties. What a great path for transferring information to our patients.
We’ve seen some changes that unfortunately are not beneficial. For example, some insurance carriers have dropped coverage in certain networks affecting many of our patients and causing much undo stress and confusion. The ISMS-backed Network Adequacy and Transparency Act (House Bill 6562) however, counters this negative change and would require insurers to develop networks that meet the needs of patients for plans sold in Illinois. Insurers would also be required to maintain up-to-date directories of "in-network" health professionals and facilities, and communicate with patients when there are changes to networks.
The bill would ensure continuity of care for pregnant women and for patients with certain other conditions, protecting them from being forced to transition from their physicians when networks change. This bill was introduced late in the legislative session and received significant bipartisan support. ISMS has been engaged in positive negotiations with various stakeholders and General Assembly members.
Change is here to stay. If it’s a good change, let’s embrace it. If it’s not, let’s make a difference and make it better. The Kane County and Illinois State Medical Societies provide us with the opportunity to let our voices be heard and impact medicine in positive ways for our patients.
Dr. Andrew Ward