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As a member, do you understand the importance of the ISMA convention and its resolutions?
e-Reports, March 10, 2014
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Here’s what you should know: The ISMA is a member-driven organization. YOU are in the driver’s seat. Resolutions serve as a roadmap directing ISMA activities. Untitled document

Each year at the ISMA convention, resolutions approved by your delegates determine how the resources and efforts of your organization are allocated – from one September to another. That means you can help determine how your dues dollars are spent and what issues should be targeted by ISMA leaders and staff.

5 steps to a resolution:
  1. Determine a clear action or stand you want the ISMA to take on an issue and reasons why.
  2. Write a short title.
  3. Include your name or names of ISMA members introducing the resolution.
  4. Develop one or more “Whereas” statements explaining the issue and why ISMA action is requested.
  5. Conclude with one or more “Resolved” statements that must stand alone and say what you want the ISMA to do in a clear and concise action plan.
For example: “RESOLVED, that the ISMA form an ad hoc commission to study the problem of drug-addicted neonates and propose a solution within one year.”

Be sure to check the ISMA’s current policy on issues on the ISMA website. Also, make sure you submit your resolution by the deadline, July 7; email it by 4:30 pm that day to the ISMA’s Rhonda Bennett.

If you need help, the ISMA staff is available to help you with your resolution. Call (800) 257-4762 or (317) 261-2060.

If you and/or some colleagues are concerned about an issue that impacts Indiana patients, physicians or the health care environment in our state, you are not powerless to change things. Your ISMA membership offers you opportunities to impact the future, but you must take that first step:

Write a resolution.

Note that resolutions are a benefit reserved only for ISMA members. And you have the ISMA staff to help you draft a resolution with the best hope of success.

In 2013, some of your fellow physicians introduced resolutions as they have done for years; others took that step for the first time. They’ve had the satisfaction of seeing their resolutions become ISMA priorities. Often, a resolution ends up as a bill at the legislature and finally, a state law. Others change ISMA policy, telling Hoosiers where 8,100 physicians in their state stand on a key issue.

When you review each week’s Legislative News, note that SB 245-Schools and Auto-Injectable Epinephrine, SB 285-Insulin and Tramadol and HB 1139-Selling Hearing Aids are examples of ISMA resolutions that became bills during the 2014 General Assembly.

The voices of experience
Last year, Robert Flint, M.D., submitted Resolution 13-44 on all-products clauses in insurance contracts because he believed it was the best way to approach a potential problem. “Doctors are too busy to try to confront insurance companies by themselves, but there is a better way,” he said.

“If you submit a resolution, you are no longer one voice; you have the strength of organized medicine behind you.”

First-year resident Dan Sonnenburg, M.D., submitted a resolution for the first time in 2013 because he was concerned about the drug Tramadol. “I had a great experience writing this resolution. The ISMA staff was very helpful in taking my idea and helping to turn it into a resolution,” he said.

The use of Tramadol also concerned members of the ISMA Commission on Legislation and the resolution became a bill. “The ISMA legislative team had great communication about the progress the bill was making and kept me informed when it was up for a vote in committee, so I could attend and testify. I would certainly recommend drafting a resolution to any member and pushing for it to become law,” said Dr. Sonnenburg. “We as physicians truly are the drivers of health care policy in Indiana.”

Dr. Patterson Dr. Sonnenburg Dr. Flint
ISMA members David Patterson, M.D., Dan Sonnenburg, M.D., and Robert Flint, M.D., represent their resolutions and bills at the Statehouse.

Transforming a resolution into law can require a multi-year effort, as may be the case with Dr. Sonnenburg’s bill. Health care issues are sometimes difficult to explain and can take more than one session to get legislators to see the ISMA’s position.

Also, members do need to seek advice to write a successful resolution, cautioned David Patterson, M.D., who authored the resolution on epinephrine that appears to be succeeding at the Statehouse. “If your resolution is one that will go to the legislature, it takes plenty of time and effort,” said Dr. Patterson, who testified and talked to lobbyists numerous times.

Often, semi-retired physicians, like Dr. Flint, or those residing near Indianapolis are willing to fulfill that role, advocating for ISMA bills. Dr. Flint explained why he stays involved, testifying and submitting resolutions. ”In these tumultuous times for our profession, I want to make sure our primary concern stays before us – and that is patient care.”

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