MSSC made gains during past five years
by E. Jeanne Kroeker, MD —
Normally, MSSC presidents provide an annual report in the December MSSC News. But rather than review only 2022, I thought it would be valuable to look back over the past five years to assess MSSC’s trajectory and progress over time.
The MSSC board of directors has a responsibility to be good stewards of MSSC and its resources. It has a duty to preserve and build on the foundation that others laid. And that includes the literal foundation.
Though the Medical Society built and maintained its office building on South Hillside, we didn’t own the land it sat upon. What’s more, when the long-term land lease expired, which was scheduled for 2030, the building ownership would revert to the landowner, not to the MSSC.
Four years ago we were able to buy the land. We then felt better about updating the building, which had been stuck in the 1980s. We remodeled nearly every office on a very limited budget, doing much of the work ourselves. We also replaced part of the roof and did quite a bit of landscaping around the building. This included adding a Keeper of the Plains statue to commemorate the work of our medical community combating COVID-19.
Another big stewardship responsibility is managing MSSC’s finances. During the past five years, MSSC has significantly improved its finances by diversifying revenue and controlling costs.
Also of note, we didn’t raise our dues rate: It’s still $355. What’s more, unlike five years ago, most of our membership events now are free or at a minimal cost.
Speaking of members, five years ago, membership had dropped and been on a downward trajectory. We were first able to stabilize, then slowly build back up. It now tops 1,035 active members, not counting students, residents or retired members.
Attendance at our membership meetings also increased significantly. Meetings have been on timely topics, such as opioids and vaping, or have been community focused, such as the event this past May at WSU’s Koch Arena, in September at the new osteopathic medical school, and the annual meeting this month at Doc Hangar.
Another important membership initiative was the creation of Wichita Docs Under 40. It has helped connect young physicians with MSSC and with each other. We’ve had a variety of WD40 events, including a Doctors’ Day gathering this past March at a brewery and a concert and fireworks show at Bradley Fair that welcomed new residents.
One way to expand our reach and audience is social media. We’ve significantly increased our social media following, particularly on Facebook. In fact, we now have more Facebook followers than many medical societies in major cities.
We also redid our website. And we’ve had many columns published in The Eagle and interviews in the Wichita Business Journal.
We’ve also improved the quality and size of the MSSC newsletter, including publishing a magazine to document COVID-19, and we’ve increased email communications and updates with physicians and practice managers.
Speaking of COVID-19, I’m proud of how MSSC helped physicians and our community. Some of this work included forming a committee of physicians to advise the county and other physicians, leading a PPE donation drive, arranging for our members to have priority testing for COVID, and helping organize and promote vaccine drives.
We also filmed public service announcements about masking and vaccinations, organized mental health support for physicians and staff, and provided meals to the staffs at the COVID units at the hospitals.
We also have worked on existing initiatives and priorities. We continued supporting end-of-life planning, maternal and infant health, and surgical quality improvement.
We’ve been working on increasing the number of Black physicians, an initiative we named this year after the Brown family. We had physicians speak to local elementary, middle and high schools in the Wichita school district about the medical profession. We are also working on forming physician mentorships with Black medical students and residents.
MSSC has been working to help physicians who may be experiencing burnout or COVID-related trauma. During the pandemic, we organized therapists and psychiatrists who were willing to see physicians and their staff. This year, we added a free teletherapy option for MSSC members.
We’ve continued our advocacy work with KMS and the AMA. We’ve had significant successes during the past five years in advancing legislation that aided the practice of medicine and in preventing many other bills that could have harmed it, though the new APRN law this year was a big disappointment.
Ongoing work, subsidiaries
We’ve continued the regular work of MSSC, including practice support, physician referrals (MSSC did about 500 this year), loans to medical students, and operating the Pharmacy Fraud Hotline.
I’ll also note that we approved major revisions of the MSSC bylaws. These included, believe it or not, eliminating references to physicians only as male. Needless to say, that was long overdue.
Our subsidiary and affiliated organizations also have done great work during the past five years. These include Project Access, ProviDRs Care, Medical Provider Resources (MPR), and Health ICT. We’ve also added several new public health initiatives or organizations, including the Kansas Business Group on Health and the Health & Wellness Coalition.
Past and the future
Next year, MSSC will celebrate its 120th year. Thanks in part to the hard work and gains of the past five years, we will enter next year on a stable foundation and will continue to build on MSSC’s strong legacy.
It’s been an honor to serve as MSSC president this past year and to work with so many outstanding and caring physicians. I look forward to what the future holds for MSSC and our community.