We are privileged to be practicing medicine in a time of unsurpassed scientific advances and innovative therapeutics. We are also practicing during a time in which government and managed care policies affect our ability to implement these advances for our patients. When you call upon a government official, or managed care decision maker, you will frequently be asked: “Who are you with?” or “Whom do you represent?” If you represent only yourself, there is little chance you will be heard, or have much impact. If NYSRS’s leaders and representatives can represent all the state’s rheumatologists, they will be heard, and they can and have had impact. With the state and federal government in the arena of formulary development and management, rheumatologists must educate policy makers about the diseases we treat, how they affect our patients, and the importance of access to care.
There are challenges that confront our subspecialty that affect every rheumatologist, regardless of professional orientation. By organizing, those of us who have joined NYSRS have been better able to effectively work together and make our positions, thoughts and opinions known. We hope that all rheumatologists in New York State will join us this year. In an increasing number of other states and communities, rheumatologists are coming together in formally structured organizations, to enhance their ability to work together effectively. The leadership of the American College of Rheumatology has recognized the importance of state societies, and allocated significant resources to support state societies through the Affiliated Societies Counsel (ASC).
I am honored to have served as your President. I have spent many hours over the past year committed to NYSRS, and commit to continuing to devote my passion and energy to this organization. I believe we have become a statewide organization of colleagues and friends – who teach one another, and help one another, and I know we share the same collegial goals: working on behalf of our patients, whether in the same way or in many different ways.
Max Hamburger, MD