One of the most meaningful aspects of the KMS Annual Meeting (#KMS2017) is the hearing from our physician members, through the Members Forum. This year was no exception. During the September 9 meeting, members provided their perspectives on important issues impacting Kansas physicians.
Members discussed the current practice of drug therapy management allowed by pharmacists who are working with physicians through collaborative practice agreements. Some pharmacists have asserted that collaborative practice agreements are too restrictive and patients would be better served by pharmacist prescribing. Members reported concerns about disrupting collaborative practice agreements and allowing pharmacists to supplant the role of the physician. There was unanimous agreement that collaborative practice agreements are helpful to patients and allow both providers to address the needs of patients in a team-like fashion.
Maintenance of Certification
Extensive comments were received regarding the benefit of MOC. Many physicians reported that MOC imposed significant new requirements and costs on busy physicians with little to show as positive outcomes. The AMA was recommended as a source for policy and strategies regarding MOC as well as partnership with other state medical societies and specialty societies seeking responsiveness from ABMS. State legislation was discussed as a potential strategy to prevent the inappropriate use of MOC that would restrict a physicians’ ability to practice. KMS is actively engaged in the MOC issue at the state and federal levels.
The question posed to KMS Membership was whether its current policy should change regarding the use of medical marijuana. Currently, KMS policy opposes the use of marijuana for medical purposes due to lack of FDA approval and scientific evidence of medical efficacy. Several physicians indicated that while they are not personally or philosophically opposed to marijuana if it has proven medical use, both scientific research, evidence and training will be necessary before there is support for legalizing cannabis for medical use.
Research was shared that indicated an increase in the number of US physicians who report symptoms of burnout. One of the most recent reports indicate that 54% of practicing physicians display one or more symptoms of burnout. Numerous physicians provided factors that contribute to physician burnout and one physician reported that research indicates women physicians experience burnout at a higher rate than their male colleagues.
A number of physicians acknowledged the current opioid challenge within Kansas and the challenge of balancing the need/duty to treat a patient’s pain while not inadvertently creating a physical dependency for opioid based prescriptions. There was common agreement that K-TRACS was a valuable tool for physicians. Several physicians cited the need for additional physician education on the issues of opioid addiction and effective pain management strategies. Lastly, several KMS members urged KMS to discourage legislative interference in the patient-physician relationship as it pertains to pain management.