Frequent Director's Email messages are emailed to LCMS members.
Select messages are posted here on the web site.
March 18, 2015 - Annual Doctor-Lawyer Dinner
What a treat to listen to someone so enthusiastic about his efforts to do something for the greater community that it clearly inspired others to get involved. Mayor John Dickert of the City of Racine in Wisconsin is a mayor who has clearly made a difference. Racine, its population, businesses and natural resources have thrived under his guidance, and it is easy to believe that mayors do make things happen after listening to him discuss the collective activities of mayors around the Great Lakes, including into Canada, through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, a plan started by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2003 to help preserve the ecologic integrity of these precious bodies of water. Yes, our future and our health depend of fresh water. Caring for our lakes is closely woven with all that our members do — safeguarding our health! Thank you Mayor Dickert for contributing to an enjoyable and educational evening. We will be posting some links to websites with some vital information on what we can all do to participate in protecting our fresh water supply.
November 9, 2014 — To the Lake County Medical Society Membership
We certainly hope many of you will join us for the annual dinner program, December 16, always a congenial get together during holiday season. We do our best to bring you an interesting program and look forward to hearing our guest speaker describe the LIG Global Foundation, which plans, organizes and delivers medical services to medically underserved countries and at times of natural disasters and wherever help is needed. Please join us! The announcement is due to be mailed the second week in November, and it is posted on this web site. Help us welcome your new president, Dr. Daniel Liesen, who will be installed as president for 2015.
I also urge you to read Dr. Mientus' letter on the Home page here on our web site. It sums up some of our most important efforts throughout his year as president. We are proud of our achievements this year in reaching out to the legislative representatives in our community and having involved another group of intensely interested professionals from our community in the Mini-Internship program held in September. This powerful community outreach program, first implemented in 1989, gives community members the opportunity to make first hand observations about medicine as it is practiced in our community. Through first hand observations in hospitals, they have the opportunity to draw their own conclusions about costs, quality of care and access to services. Our invited Mini-Interns learn about the very high quality of medicine practiced our community. It has been my favorite event since I started working the LCMS in 1983.
It has been a really good year. We hope to bring you more exciting events, educational programs and continue our outreach efforts to those who impact laws in our state.
Have a great holiday season and a healthy New Year!
[Photo: Dr. Piyush Vyas, State Rep. Barbara Wheeler and LCMS President, Thomas Mientus November 3, 2014, in Crystal Lake]
June 22, 2014 — Summer Buzz
Things are moving fast at LCMS headquarters this summer! Lots of changes are taking place as the group insurance plan will wind down by December 31. We have interviewed some brokers and zoomed in on one Lake County business with very helpful and experienced staff that we think will prove helpful to any of our current enrollees. Of course, you are free to go to any broker or insurance company of your choice, but we wanted to offer a place to start for those of you with a lot of questions! Visit our Insurance page for more information.
We reviewed and selected several BCBS plans that are similar to the one we have offered for your consideration, since so many of you indicated you wish to stay with BCBS. Of course, you can do as you please, there are other companies to choose from, but because you have asked, we took the liberty of doing a little bit of research for you.
Visit our Insurance page for more on Insurance plans and our current options. Yes, you can still enroll according to the terms of our Administrative Policy, before the plan goes away for good. Open enrollment runs through June 30, 2014.
We are actively making plans for the fall Mini-Internship program, to take place September 8 & 9 this year. We will be welcoming professionals outside the medical world to explore medicine with you with the cooperation of several Lake County hospitals. Any member who is interested in participating by hosting a Mini-Intern for half a day in the office, hospital or clinic setting, please send us an email to LakeDocs@aol.com.
We look forward to the August 14 Office Manager Luncheon program featuring guest speaker Peter Milianti with the law firm of McGuireWoods in Chicago. He will cover several topics related to employment law, including medical marijuana use, a hotly debated topic. He will be available to answer individual questions related to employment issues. Members are always welcome to attend, as our your key staff members. Click here for details.
Finally, members are welcome to post an open position in your office in the "Job Openings" section of our home page. Send us the information.
Pleased note that our office will be closed on Wednesdays for the summer. However, we answer email from members seven days a week, sent to LakeDocs@aol.com.
May 16, 2014 — Group Insurance Update
I want to inform you that we are working diligently to bring you some helpful suggestions related to health insurance coverage. We know it has been tough to deal with many considerations following the notice of our policy's 12/31/2014 cancellation. We hope to have some practical alternatives for you following the BCBS cancelation of our group policy. Before the end of the month a letter will go out electronically and by US Mail informing you of some useful considerations.
May, 2014 — After 31 Years...
After 31 years of managing the Lake County Medical Society and your group health insurance plan, do not think that I take lightly what is happening now with the insurance company's cancelation of our BCBS contract. Times change, for better and for worse, and we have to make the best of things! Health insurance laws and regulations are changing rapidly, and the Affordable Care Act, like it or not, has some good features as well as some that are hard to swallow. It is extremely difficult to manage a group made up of multiple size employers, as well as individuals, when different laws and regulations apply to each with respect to reporting requirements and employer responsibilities.
We have done our best over the years to learn about your responsibilities as employers and provided you with guidance, forms, current information and assistance with some touchy issues and individual claims, as well as assisting you with your duties to your employees.
I have become more and more involved in the insurance world, even earning a Registered Health Underwriter designation following 18 months of classes, years ago. And, I have come a long way from a nursing career, but I have derived great satisfaction from assisting many of you personally with some challenging health care and insurance issues, as well as many of your employees. It is all behind the scenes and necessarily confidential work, but I have derived a sense of satisfaction when I have been able to "make things work" for our members.
We do a lot of other work, however. There have been calls from members who forgot to renew their medical license, or who discovered theft or dishonestly in their office, and some who had discovered drug users working for them. What to do? Where can you get swift, personal, confidential help? Employment issues come up from time to time, billing and coding questions, and a variety of other matters. Call or email the Medical Society office. All calls are handled with privacy and a personal touch. Often, it astounds me how quickly we can help out, even with a legal opinion in some cases. We even answer email seven days a week.
The Lake County Medical Society provides a variety of programs each year for members as well as for office staff. Our manager programs are well attended, and provide local access to experts in the fields of OSHA regulations, billing issues, legal and regulatory matters, employment law and more.
And, the program that makes me most proud, our very popular Mini-Internship! We invite local county and city officials, attorneys, judges, legislators, business leaders and others to visit among you once or twice a year. They are cautiously selected for their interest or involvement in health care decision-making, and after being oriented carefully to observe privacy regulations and patient safety, they are escorted into hospitals (including surgery departments) and office settings to observe doctors at work. There is nothing like first hand observations of reality to help people form clear and accurate opinions of the miraculous world of medicine.
The Mini-Internship involves a very complex and sensitive scheduling task, but it brings all of us great satisfaction when the group comes together for dinner after two days of exploring in at least two hospitals and various doctors offices throughout the county. Some Mini-Interns have formed lasting relationship with physicians who have escorted them and taught them about some of the realities of practicing medicine in today's ever-changing world of health care. There are photos and more information on this program here on our website. Let us hear from you if you want to get involved or host a Mini-Intern for half a day.
Well, I have come a long way from my former beloved nursing career, which included work at three different hospitals. This has been a gratifying and unique career, and I plan to stick around after the insurance plan expires at the very end of this year. I have talked to many of you and will continue to assist you with your unique concerns, to the best of my ability.
The insurance plan was not the reason for accepting this position. Indeed, I did not even know that LCMS had a group insurance contract when I was hired! I was not told until after I accepted this position. No kidding. It was that minor of a benefit and was only a small concern to the board members who hired me in 1983.
We do a lot more than billing and plan management. We provide educational and social programs for members, assist with some complicated legal issues, provide classes and information on OSHA and so much more, discussed above. We visit local legislators and let them know of your concerns for your patients and your ability to care for them under ever-changing regulations. We are your voice, and you need to support the Medical Societies who speak out on behalf of the profession and the patients you serve.
I look forward to continuing to serve the Lake County Medical Society well beyond the cancelation of the health insurance program.
Thank you for your attention. It is a pleasure to work with you all.
March 13, 2014 — Spring Is In the Air... Almost!
We are confident that the snow will melt and something resembling spring will show up underneath it all! So, we are planning as if people will be eager to get out. Our spring manager luncheon program, scheduled for Thursday, May 1, will feature the always popular speaker Ken Ryan, with the Illinois State Medical Society. Ken is a favorite speaker on all things related to insurance and billing regulations. Please have a key person on your staff ready to attend this important program, and treat him or her to a nice luncheon and program out of the office. Announcements will be mailed and sent by broadcast fax and email. Yes, they can bring their individual questions. Ken is always happy to accommodate our member offices.
In the fall, we hope to bring you a dinner program on how to deal with some tough issues in the office — legal issues that most of us are likely to face in one way or another, and the questions that arise from the legalization of "medical" marijuana, employee alcohol use and drug use and the consequences involved. Stay tuned for more on that.
Do we have your email address? Most of our communications are sent electronically now, so it is imperative that we chase you for up to date email addresses, as well as any fax numbers you use. Send them to us at LakeDocs@aol.com. Thanks!
January 28, 2014 — A Chilly Start
We are off to a chilly start in 2014, but warm breezes will follow, as they always do! Have faith. We are working in our warm offices, planning programs for 2014. Keep watching our electronic newsletters (Are you on that mailing list with your current email address?) and you will see news and info about our upcoming annual Doctor/Lawyer dinner, planned for March 18, our office manager/staff programs beginning with an OSHA class on the morning of February 7, and another program to follow soon thereafter on ICD-10 coding. Yes, our popular Spring Shredding Event is in the works — scheduled for Saturday morning, May 3 at Christ Church in Lake Forest — for the convenience of our members. Visit the Events Calendar of our website for updates and details.
We have a growing pile of job openings listed, with far fewer applicants than we normally see at this time of the year. If you happen to know of anyone who might be looking for a medical receptionist, billing, or medical assistant work, please refer them to us. Resumes can be sent to us by email to LakeDocs@aol.com, or faxed to 847-574-0445. We do our best to make connections between our employer members and members of the public who are job searching.
We wish you all a healthy and prosperous New Year!
November, 2013 — To Our Members
I wish you all a happy, healthy, low-stress holiday season. We know the challenges you accept and strive to overcome both personally as well as for the well being of your patients. Your job is not an easy one! We are thankful that you have the courage and the ambition to work as physicians in this difficult political and economic environment. Personally, on occasion, when I hear a complaint about some minor office snafu or business issue, I like to say, "Think of a world without doctors", and some people stop what they are thinking, for a moment at least. We do value your courage and know what it takes to achieve a license to practice medicine.
Keep up the good work and we will do our best to support your business and educate others as to the realities of practicing medicine in today's challenging environment.
Most people depend on and even adore their doctors and when we bring a group into your every day world through our Mini-Internship programs for a first-hand look at medicine in action, the results are astounding. Observing for themselves what challenges you face daily really helps our visitors to bring into focus what is happening in the profession that everyone needs and depends on. We will expand our efforts to help educate people in the coming year with spring and fall Mini-Internship programs. There are photos and testimonials on this website. Go take a look at our Mini-Internship page. The quotations are real. Thank you for your service to others, and have a holiday season filled with joy!
July 11, 2013 — 2013 Legislative Activities of the ISMS
Now available! A recently completed document, listing the 2013 Legislative Activities of the Illinois State Medical Society. There is a lengthy list of bills that needed attention, and some important accomplishments. Some of these items cover hot topics as well as some issues you might not even be aware of. Take a look, and show it to your non-member colleagues. They all benefit from the advocacy efforts of the Medical Society, and we hope they will consider joining if they are not already members. (Click here for membership applications.)
We are busy at work on the upcoming 2013 Mini-Internship program, to be held September 9 and 10, and scheduling other fall programs, including our popular semi-annual Shredding Event, to be held Saturday morning, September 28, to help you un-clutter your offices, attics and basements of un-needed paper. Members are welcome to come by between 9:30 and 11:30 AM with up to 20 grocery bag size paper bags of paper, to be shredded on site. This has become a popular event and tangible benefit, offered twice each year. We will broadcast fax and email the final announcement to members. Do we have your current email and fax communication data? Please make certain. Email to LakeDocs@aol.com.
Enjoy your summer. We wish you at least a few lazy, hazy days of the season! Golfers and other outdoor types, don't forget your sun block!
June 26, 2013 — Working On Your Behalf
You may not be aware that while you are busy at work, others are busy working on your behalf — especially your governmental affairs staff at the Illinois State Medical Society. There were literally dozens of bills introduced during the last legislative session that needed the attention of staff who understand your concerns as well as the needs of the patients in Illinois, and we mean experienced, knowledgeable staff who went to bat for you, describing the real meaning and potential outcomes of some of those bills by personal visits with our voting representatives in Springfield. The 2013 ISMS Legislative Activity list for the Illinois General Assembly covers many pages that would be of interest to you if you had time to read it all! Whether you do or not, and whether some of your colleagues who are NOT members are fully aware, they are benefitting from your dues dollars to keep medicine strong in Illinois. Your advocates really work on behalf of all physicians and patients. Shouldn't your colleagues all be members?
We will soon share a link with you with a detailed list of bills (by name and number) that needed attention, as well legislative activities that should be of interest to you. The bills that were given attention included topics such as Elder Abuse, Physician Profiles, Medical Records, Breast Cancer Education, Immunizations, Electronic Cigarettes, Third Party Payer Issues, Allied Health Care Professional Licensure and more. Stay tuned! Grab your colleagues and ask them if they have joined or renewed their membership with Lake County Medical Society and the Illinois State Medical Society. Call us at 847-482-0222, email to LakeDocs@aol.com, or send them to our website LCMSIllinois.org, where membership applications are posted.
May 28, 2013 — Legal Circuit
The first of our newest program series, Legal Circuit #1, went very well on May 21. We are inspired by the feedback from the 1 hour program with Jason Greis who joined us from the law firm of McGuireWoods, Chicago to discuss the pros and cons of practice sales. Members had an opportunity to get personal questions answered in an informal setting. Plan to join us for an upcoming program this summer.
The next Legal Circuit will be Thursday, June 27. Details will be posted here on our website and sent to you in our electronic newsletter. The topic will be Disgruntled and Noncompliant Patients — What to do. We will welcome attorney Michael Henrick of Hinshaw & Culbertson, LLC (Lake Bluff office). Mike will discuss what constitutes patient abandonment. Mike is well known to many of us and he has presented programs to our office manager group periodically in past years. We hope you can join us for this new and abbreviated program format, planned with your needs in mind. You can be home in time for dinner, and while the sun is still out! Watch for more details. (Do we have your email address?) Enjoy your summer.
April 8, 2013 — Job Postings
You ask for it — you get it. Well, most of the time. Members have asked for more information with respect to our employment service, and we have just posted a new page on our website for your job openings. Let us know what you are looking for. We retain files in our office with your information, and the applications of people who are seeking full or part time positions in medical offices throughout Lake County. We will post the job description without the name of the physician or practice. We try to help. Of course we cannot fill every position or place every job candidate who applies. We are not a full service employment agency. We are not a job agency at all for that matter. This is an informal service for our members. There is a modest fee due from members after successful placement of a job candidate who we have recommended. Contact us if you have any questions. Our complete policy related to the employment service is posted on the list of menu items on the left side of our home page.
March 7, 2013 — Medical Matters
We are pretty excited about the new LCMS program we call Medical Matters. You now have the opportunity to submit articles on medical topics to our editorial committee for the "OK" on publication. We are seeking articles from virtually all specialists, and they can be of varying lengths, from a few sentences up to about one typed page. We will submit them to Lake County publications, both paper and electronic. Health tips for the public are always of interest, and you are in the position to help the community with your expert advice. Please consider submitting articles on topics from healthy eating, and the value of exercise, to avoiding skin cancer, and some more in-depth clinical topics, based on your specialty.
All articles will be submitted to the LCMS editorial committee for approval before release. Please include your full name and title, as you would wish to see it printed, and even a CV or a brief "bio-sketch" telling us more about your practice. We will include your name, specialty and your primary locations with your article(s), at a minimum. For additional information, contact us for a Medical Matters information sheet and application to use when submitting an article. Get to your keyboards!
January 22, 2013 — A New Year Begins
Another year has begun and we are busily engaged in planning for the future. It is never to clear what that future will bring any longer, but we do our best to anticipate and meet your needs and those of the community you serve.
Already, this month I have answered two calls from the public inquiring about specific doctors. Both were about surgeons, in fact. Just today, when I could not give him any information about a doctor he named, a patient asked why the doctor was not a member, sounding somewhat surprised. I could not answer that, but I suggested that he ask the doctor, as we encourage all members of the medical community to join. Instead, he asked that I give him the name of a surgeon who IS a member. I was happy to comply.
Patients do find us, often after calling the American Medical Association first, and we give referrals in varying numbers each month... to our members, of course.
Watch for some programs that will lure you away from your offices for a few hours of relaxing interactions with your colleagues. The first program this year will be the annual doctor/lawyer dinner, to be held at the Highland Park Country Club on March 14. We will, for the first time, provide some musical entertainment for the mixed group! Come enjoy dinner with music and dialogue with Eric Michaels of AmericanEnglish. Visit our website Events Calendar. The preliminary announcement was sent by fax the third week in January... paper announcements will arrive shortly after this message is posted.
Save your paper so you can toss it into our Shredding Truck during our semi-annual shredding event. Drive by on Saturday, April 6, from 9:30 to 11:30 AM, and watch for us in the parking lot at Christ Church in Lake Forest.
The new LCMS president, Deepak Dalia, MD, (radiology) has called the first executive committee meeting for the first week in February. More will follow that meeting! Stay in touch. Have a great year.