Earl Mills scholarships available

The Earl L. Mills Educational Trust is accepting applications from practicing physicians for scholarship funds to support additional study in medicine lasting 4-12 months at an approved institution or to attend local educational seminars offering post-graduate opportunities. Applicants must have practiced in Kansas for at least five years and be a member of a medical group no larger than five. The deadline is Aug. 31, 2017. To request an application, call Stephanie Clausen with INTRUST Bank at 383-1912.

Teaching simulation: MSSC member Dr. Elisha Brumfield shows the simulations lab to community members during a Jayhawk Docs Live event at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

MSSC member Dr. Elisha Brumfield shows the simulations lab to community members during a Jayhawk Docs Live event at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita.

Health care issues during a legislative session dominated by taxes and schools

The Kansas Legislature finally wrapped up its 2017 session early in June, reaching deals on taxes, revenue and, it hopes, a school funding package that will pass muster with the Supreme Court.

Legislators restored – retroactively to Jan. 1 – taxes on LLCs and others exempted five years ago and then overrode the governor’s veto and went home. Budget issues and school funding dominated the session, of course, but several health-related bills moved ahead. They include:

House Bill 2079, supported by KMS, KHA and others, reverses the 4 percent payment cut to Medicaid providers. It passed both the House and Senate and was recently approved by the governor.

House Bill 2026 was introduced by KMS and other provider groups and is intended to increase standardization, encourage uniform processes and improve the appeals process for claims adjudication within KanCare. The bill underwent revisions during a House-Senate conference committee, changes sought by KDHE to make the bill more workable while still resolving provider concerns. The governor signed the bill after passage in both chambers.

House Bill 2278 repeals the requirement on state health care facilities and mental health facilities to either allow licensed individuals to carry firearms or significantly increase security measures. The bill had strong support in both the House and Senate, and the governor let it become law without his signature.

House Bill 2044, to expand Medicaid, passed the House and Senate with strong majorities but lacked the votes to override the governor’s veto. It did not come up during the wrap-up session that brought the tax and school funding deals.

House Bill 2027 addressed the re-enactment of institutional licenses and allowed providers of direct primary care (i.e. physicians practicing under medical retainer agreements) to bill patients for anatomic pathology services as long as the provider and the cost of services are disclosed to the patient. It passed both houses and was signed by the governor.

– Adapted from the Kansas Medical Society

KHIN exercises legal option and concludes its working arrangement with WHIE

khin-final-logo-2017webWHIE-newsThe Wichita Health Information Exchange, founded in 2009 as a nonprofit affiliate of the MSSC, has worked in partnership with the Kansas Health Information Network since 2012 to share patient information among doctors, hospitals and other health care providers and facilities.

In late April, KHIN exercised its legal option to terminate, effective July 1, a memorandum of understanding regarding the working arrangement with WHIE. As of that date, KHIN alone will handle all new and existing participation and business agreements with practices and facilities.

Through the network, more than 9,000 providers securely access medical records for over 3 million Kansans. The network includes more than 100 Kansas hospitals, 670 ambulatory sites and 770 bidirectional sites (doctors’ offices, hospitals, public health departments, safety net clinics).

With the change, WHIE project manager Allen Laramore will become a project manager with Topeka-based KaMMCO Health Solutions, which services KHIN participants.

“Nothing should change as far as the ability for our clients to continue utilizing KHIN,” said Dr. Ron Brown, president of the WHIE board of directors. “The WHIE as currently structured has completed its mission and the ongoing work continues to be done by KHIN.”

WHIE will remain incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, he said. Its plans for the future are yet to be determined, but the WHIE board would be glad to hear suggestions about how its mission could be redirected. Feel free to email Dr. Brown at

11 MSSC member physicians named Health Care Heroes by Business Journal

Eleven MSSC members are among 39 individuals and organizations honored recently as Health Care Heroes by the Wichita Business Journal.

Dr. Ely Bartal, medical director of Kansas Surgery and Recovery Center, and Dr. Dennis Ross of Kansas Nephrology Physicians – and 2007 MSSC president – are winners of lifetime achievement awards. They and other winners will be recognized at a dinner Aug. 3 at the Hyatt Regency Wichita.

Other MSSC members honored and their award category are: Jacques Blackman, physician; Michael Brown, physician; Gerard Brungardt, health care educator; Ron Hunninghake; physician; Gretchen Irwin, health care educator; Kim Molik, physician, Brian Pate, health care innovations; Anthony Pollock, physician; and Pavan Reddy, community outreach.

In addition, Jaydoc Clinic and KU Pharmacy were honored as health care educators, while the Children’s Mercy Type 2 Diabetes Prevention Clinic was named in the health care innovations category.























Medical Provider Resources handles details so physicians, facilities can focus on work


Vicki Bond

Vicki Bond

Details. They’re the specialty of Medical Provider Resources, along with quick turnarounds and customer service.

“In this business, we’re judged by volumes and turnaround times,” said Vicki Bond, chief executive officer, noting that MPR does well in both categories.

For MPR, the standard on turnaround times for completing an initial appointment file is 33 calendar days or less, a goal it often exceeds. In April, for example, initial appointment files averaged 25 calendar days. “The sooner we can get the file primary source verified, the sooner we can get the provider to work at the hospital,” Bond said.

“MPR is a one-stop credentialing shop,” she said, providing primary source verification for initial appointments and reappointments, provider insurance enrollment, network credentialing and recruitment credentialing.

As a subsidiary of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County, MPR is physician-owned and one of just three credentialing services in the country that are parts of a county medical society (others are in Colorado Springs and Lexington, Ky.). MPR is governed by a board of seven MSSC members, and Dr. Zachary Kuhlmann is the current president.

“MPR offers an invaluable service to physicians and health care providers. We must complete credentialing paperwork for everyone from insurance companies to hospitals. MPR saves physicians time, allowing us to only complete one verification application. After all, a physician’s time is often their most coveted commodity,” Dr. Kuhlmann said.

mprsignaloneweb“MPR is a for-profit that exists to support the MSSC and its mission. And we try to do it well,” Bond said. She has led MPR since it formed in 2011 from the merger of her company, Medical Staff Services Inc., and Kansas Physician Information Verification Program, a service established by the MSSC in 1992.

As of April, MPR had 8,318 providers in its system, 65 contracts with hospitals, 39 contracts for provider enrollment and one for network credentialing. “No other credentialing verification service in the country has more than 100 contracts,” Bond said.

Customer service has always been a key element of MPR’s mission, and it recently began an initiative to measure how it’s doing. The company is sending surveys out with completed files, and also calling clients to follow up. Since much of its work occurs electronically or by phone, they are striving to get face to face.Read More

Michael Hunter to head Health ICT

Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter

Michael Hunter has been hired as the new project manager of Health ICT, the grant-funded MSSC affiliate that works to reduce obesity, diabetes, heart attack and stroke in Sedgwick County.

Hunter, who will join Health ICT on June 30, has been director of development and community outreach for Hunter Health Clinic. He oversaw grant writing and management, worked with its community partners, and managed social media and external communications. He has extensive experience in substance abuse counseling and program management.

He replaces Becky Tuttle, who led Health ICT since its formation in 2015 and has moved to the Greater Wichita YMCA to become its community development director.

Health-ICT-logo“The difference that Health ICT has made in the community is substantial, and it’s exciting to join a team that’s highly functioning and focused on some of the great health issues of our time,” Hunter said. “Taking on a project of that scope and seeking ways to grow its influence is something I find personally gratifying.”

Often collaborating with other organizations in the community, Health ICT’s efforts include workplace wellness, working to draft and promote collaborative practice agreements between doctors and pharmacists, and promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles.

Introducing the MSSC’s new director Phillip Brownlee


Phillip Brownlee with Dr. Estephan Zayat, the MSSC’s 2016 president, and his wife, Janane.

Phillip Brownlee likes a challenge, especially one in pursuit of a mission. He saw both in the MSSC executive director position.

Brownlee officially came aboard at the medical society on May 16, although he had many get-to-know-you meetings with physicians, affiliate leaders and others before then. His hiring concluded a three-month-plus search that attracted more than a dozen candidates.

“What’s drawn me to health care and the medical society is the community service,” said Brownlee, who had been the Wichita Eagle’s opinion editor since 2001. “Doctors are dedicated to their patients and the well being of the community, and the medical society is very active in the community, in public health and other areas.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time initially visiting with staff and physicians and learning as much as possible about both the medical society’s operations and the work being done by physicians in the community,” he said.

Brownlee grew up in Sterling, the youngest of five children whose mother taught French and humanities at Sterling College and served as its academic dean in the 1970s. He attended the college and majored in accounting and business administration, a practical outlet for his “math orientation.”

College provided his first introduction to publishing when, as student body president, he took over the faltering yearbook. “I became the de facto editor. I knew nothing about design work, but I discovered I was good at it and loved doing it.”

Sterling College also introduced him to Laila, and they married in 1985, the year he began working for Judd Thomas Smith, a large accounting firm in Dallas. He did both tax and audit work and envisioned a bright future in the profession, but came to realize “it was not something I was passionate about it.”

That led him to recall how much he enjoyed being yearbook editor, a decision to change careers and a return to Kansas to serve as his alma mater’s public information director. The job involved writing, design, advertising and marketing, and strategic planning. Eventually, he concluded he needed more formal training in some of those skills, which took him to KU School of Journalism’s graduate program.

An internship as an Eagle editorial writer turned into, first, a full-time job and, five years later, promotion to editorial page editor. “The best thing about the job is that you deal with a lot of different issues and meet interesting people, so it’s ever-changing. It’s also very demanding, which I appreciate and enjoy.”

He knows the medical society will prove challenging and demanding as well.

“I’m someone who has a broad range of interests and skill sets,” he said. “The background in accounting and administration is important in the new job, as are the communications skills and analysis and civic leadership that have been part of my Eagle position. I don’t think there’s a direct link between some of my career moves, but they are all coming together in this move to the medical society.”

“I tend to be a mission-oriented person, and I value working in a job that has larger public purpose,” he said.

About Phillip Brownlee
  • Family: Wife, Laila, teaches English to speakers of other languages, primarily refugees, at Wichita’s Curtis Middle School; son, Lewis, 21; and daughter, Elaina, 19.
  • Outside work: Enjoys the arts, including visual arts, theater, live music, including the symphony. Likes to read for pleasure, but often finds it squeezed out by on-the-job reading.

June Message

by Denis Knight, DO dennisknighttonededitedjan17web

On the final day of the recent AMA annual conference in Chicago, delegates passed a resolution supporting a new policy to improve medical student and physician access to mental health care.

Our group from the Medical Society of Sedgwick County included AMA delegate Terry Poling, MD, alternate delegates Jay Gilbaugh, MD, and Fadi Joudi, MD, President-elect Jed Delmore, MD, Donna Sweet, MD, and Executive Director Phillip Brownlee. We all understood the need for the policy, but it was still striking to hear AMA board member Omar Z. Maniya, MD, explain its impetus:

“We are concerned that many physicians and physicians-in-training are dealing with burnout, depression and even suicidal thoughts, and we find it especially concerning that physicians have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. We are committed to supporting physicians throughout their career journey to ensure they have more meaningful and rewarding professional experiences and provide the best possible care to their patients,”

The topic of burnout brought to mind an earlier heartfelt discussion among the Heart of America caucus. There, Kansas Medical Association member Richard Warner, MD, spoke about a resolution regarding electronic health records and their adverse impact on the delivery of health care and on physicians’ time interacting with patients. It was noted that electronic health records were the leading cause of dissatisfaction among physicians, which leads to burnout. The second leading cause was a loss of control of our profession within the American health care delivery system. For these reasons, many physicians who had much to contribute to society were retiring from practice rather than continue struggling with what seemed an impossible task.

MSSC President Knight visiting with members of the Oklahoma delegation at the AMA meeting.

MSSC President Knight visiting with members of the Oklahoma delegation at the AMA meeting.

During our discussions, I was surprised to learn that burnout is a relatively recent term, one first described in 1974 by a psychologist named Herbert Freunberger, He defined the phenomenon as when a person faces a long-term, unresolvable stress, and that is certainly an apt definition of what many feel has been occurring within our profession in the last decade. The changes not only with the electronic medical records and data entry but also with rising health care costs, shrinking reimbursements, high copayments and deductibles, prior authorizations and worsening financial barriers for access to care are well known and well described.

Kansas delegates and alternative delegates at the AMA annual meeting. Front row: Drs. Art Snow, Terry Poling and Richard Warner. Back: Drs. Fadi Joudi, Rob Gibbs and Jay Gilbaugh.

Kansas delegates and alternative delegates at the AMA annual meeting. Front row: Drs. Art Snow, Terry Poling and Richard Warner. Back: Drs. Fadi Joudi, Rob Gibbs and Jay Gilbaugh.

My message to our members today is that we at the MSSC recognize and understand – because we indeed experience – how you are feeling and want to help in any way we can. If this means simply talking, then please call us. If it means setting up support groups or facilitating assistance, let us know. We are facing a physician shortage in our country and we don’t need to lose any more valued members of our physician community due to burnout. Together, we can address this widespread problem, and the MSSC – your fellow physicians – can help.

Views of the AMA Meeting

delmoreweb“This was my first national AMA meeting. I was most impressed by the scope and breadth of concerns/ issues presented as possible resolutions to be considered for AMA endorsements. I was equally impressed with how receptive the AMA delegates were to issues raised by medical students, resident physicians and fellows in training. The Kansas delegation led by Dr. Poling is well connected and represents the physicians of Kansas well. Our elected officials in Washington would benefit from seeing how delegations from different parts of the country and from different medical specialties manage to reconcile differences and come to a mutually acceptable compromise of the issues raised.” — Dr. Jed Delmore

“Attending the AMA meeting is always a learning experience for me. Health care issues that affect our communities are discussed and debated. One relevant issue during this meeting was the emergence of new psychoactive substances (NPS). These designer drugs of abuse include synthetic opioids and cannabinoids (Street names include K2 and Spice), as well as stimulants and hallucinogens. It is alarming to know that the development of these agents is outpacing the medical community’s ability to identify these substances and educate the physicians about their side effect profiles. These powerful and dangerous agents have been associated with overdoses and deaths. This calls for collaborative effort between EMS, doctors, hospitals and law enforcement officials to combat this emerging public health threat.” — Dr. Fadi Joudi


Community Health Summit: June 28

What: MSSC is sponsoring a CME event along with team members from Health ICT, KAFP, KDHE and Humana. The half-day Community Health Summit in Wichita will bring together Kansans who affect health and well-being in our state. Physicians can earn 4 CME credits for participating. Nursing hours are pending.

Learn more/register:

The Medical Society of Sedgwick County is accredited by the Kansas Medical Society to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
The Medical Society of Sedgwick County designates this live activity for a maximum of four (4) AMA PRA Category I Credits. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
PENDING: Wesley Medical Center is approved as a provider of CNE by the Kansas State Board of Nursing. This course offering is approved for XX contact hours applicable for RN, or LPN relicensure. Kansas State Board of Nursing provider number: LT 0085-0327

MSSC officers chosen

Michael Lievens, MD

Michael Lievens, MD

Michael Lievens, MD, was announced as MSSC president-elect during the May 2 members meeting.

“I am honored to serve the members of our medical society and the community,” said Dr. Lievens, whose term as president will begin Jan. 1, 2019. “Our society has played such a vital role in this county for many years, often behind the scenes. I hope to continue our current works, and look for additional ways we can improve our community and the practice
of medicine here.”

Others elected for 2018:

Secretary: Jason Taylor, MD

Treasurer: John Lohnes Jr., MD

MSSC Board: E. Jeanne Kroeker, MD, Jany Moussa, MD, and Diane Steere, MD

Membership & Ethics Committee: R. Joseph Nold, MD, and Donna Sweet, MD; they will be joined by Dr. Denis Knight as immediate past president.

QuickFire provided blasts of information and a CME opportunity

MSSC-QuickFire-V2MSSC members had the chance to learn about the latest prostate cancer recommendations, robotic surgery in joint replacement, colonoscopy and cervical cancer screening, KUSM-Wichita’s new curriculum and other topics during the May 2 membership meeting, which was in the fast-moving QuickFire format.

The meeting also allowed attendees to earn up to two CME credits, granted through the MSSC. Members also heard from and met new Executive Director Phillip Brownlee, whose appointment the MSSC had been announced the week before.

Urologist Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis discussed prostate cancer recommendations and strove to clarify misconceptions about PSA testing.

Urologist Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis discussed prostate cancer recommendations and strove to clarify misconceptions about PSA testing.

“It’s a great privilege to join this group that I’ve admired for so long,” Brownlee said. “Thank you for this honor.”

The meeting, held at the Wichita Marriott, then moved into its educational component: seven approximately 15-minute presentations allowing MSSC members to share their interests and expertise and then take questions from the audience. The topics:

Prostate cancer: New task force recommendations. Noting that prostate cancer is “still the No. 2 killer for men,” Dr. Jeffrey S. Davis gave a quick history of shifting guidelines and sometimes-confusing PSA tests. Contrary to some recommendations, he said, urologists believe screening is beneficial because it has reduced deaths. Physicians need to better educate men that PSA tests – while not perfect – are safe and don’t cause dysfunction, he said.

Collaborative practice agreements. Dr. Justin Moore, medical director of Health ICT, the program to reduce obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke, described the formal agreements between pharmacists and physicians. By allowing pharmacists to handle drug management, particularly for chronic diseases, physicians could spend more time with patients and increase job satisfaction, said Dr. Moore, who offered Health ICT’s assistance in setting up the agreements.

Robotic-arm assisted technology in joint replacement: Orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Damion Walker described how he and colleagues are using robotic surgery in full and partial joint replacements, especially knees and hips. The tools provide greater precision, more readily accommodate the highly individual anatomy of joints, and speed recovery. “What’s telling is people’s bounce-back,” he said. “They get up and go. It’s a different recovery.”

Cervical cancer screening update: Dr. Randall Morgan recounted recommendations for screening: Pap smears for women under 30 every three years, HPV testing and a Pap smear every five years for those 30 to 65, and no testing after 65 unless there are risk factors. The HPV test, he said, has been shown to more accurately assess cancer risk. One challenge, an audience member said, is convincing 65-plus women that testing is no longer necessary.

KU School of Medicine’s new ACE curriculum. The curriculum that will be phased in starting this summer involves more active learning and less lecture time, said Dr. Scott Moser, associate dean. The goal is to begin the clinical part of their education sooner, and end the “binge and purge” of knowledge in the current approach. He told how courses will be eight weeks, followed by electives or, if the student requires, remediation to help them master material then instead of waiting until later. Dr. Moser said the approach provides plenty of chances for physicians to help students build skills. Email if interested.

Surgeon Dr. Lindsay Strader explained colonoscopy screening guidelines and, like other presenters, answered questions.

Surgeon Dr. Lindsay Strader explained colonoscopy screening guidelines and, like other presenters, answered questions.

Colonoscopy screening guidelines especially for high-risk patients/genetic syndromes. Dr. Lindsay Strader noted that 135,000 cases of colorectal cancer occur each year, with a quarter of those clustered in families. People with heightened genetic risk, such as Lynch syndrome and FAP, require special attention and screening, she said. The cancer risks point out that “we need to do a better job of taking family histories.”

Stick, Slick & Wick – Unique use of common products in the wound center. The tool kit for wound care is immense, Dr. Marilee McBoyle said, and she chose three particularly interesting ones: Medihoney, a medical grade honey that cleans wounds and lifts tissue; amniotic membranes that help close wounds and reduce scars; and moisture-wicking fabrics – much like Under Armour athletic wear – that help with skin-to-skin contact issues.

Dr. McBoyle, presenting last, also made an observation that reflects why QuickFire has become a tradition: “The breadth of the topics we’ve heard tonight is impressive.”

Niernberger named family physician of year


Jerry Niernberger, MD

MSSC member Dr. Jerry Niernberger, DO, has been picked as Family Physician of the Year by the Kansas Academy of Family Physicians.

Dr. Niernberger, who practices with Via Christi Clinic, will be honored June 9 at the KAFP annual meeting in Wichita.

Dr. Niernberger grew up in Liberal, served in the Army and graduated from Wichita State University. He attended medical school at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, interned at Wichita’s Riverside Hospital and completed his osteopathic residency at Denver’s Rocky Mountain Hospital/St Luke’s Medical Center. He also did an allopathic residency at Wichita’s St. Francis Medical Center.

Dr. Niernberger is chief of the Family Medicine Department at Via Christi Health and serves on the Via Christi Clinic Board of Directors. For 22 years, Dr. Niernberger volunteered at Guadalupe Clinic.

“He is truly a good example of a compassionate physician who strives to live his life by serving others,” Ronda Hanneman, a certified physician assistant with Via Christi Clinic, told the KAFP.

Health ICT plays key role in getting BikeShareICT rolling

Becky Tuttle of Health ICT at the kickoff.

Becky Tuttle of Health ICT at the kickoff.

With the support of two foundations and the vision of Health ICT’s Becky Tuttle and others, the city now has a bike-share program that will consist of 100 bikes and 19 stations in central Wichita.

During a May 4 kickoff at the Popup Park downtown along Douglas, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas announced it would give $194,000 to BikeShareICT, while the Knight Foundation Fund at the Wichita Community Foundation gave $30,000.

The bicycle program is managed by the Health & Wellness Coalition of Wichita and Health ICT. Tuttle has been project manager for MSSC affiliate Health ICT and serves as chair of the wellness coalition.

At the kickoff, Mayor Jeff Longwell told how the program was part of making the community a better, more active place to live, one attractive to young people, and good for economic development as well.

“Becky Tuttle and Scott Wadle started this conversation,” Shelley Prichard, president and CEO of the Wichita Community Foundation said, referring to the city planner active in bike and pedestrian issues. “It started small but thanks to Becky and Blue Cross Blue Shield this got much larger.”

BikeShareICT utilizes Zagster, which runs bike share programs around the country, to supply the bikes, bike station and the app that gives users access.

Andrew Corbin, BCBSKS president/CEO, mentioned a motivation that applies to Health ICT and other participants: “The ulterior motive is better health.”

“This truly was a community-wide collaboration,” Tuttle said.

How BikeShareICT works
  • Cost: Yearly memberships are $30 ($20 for college students) or riders can borrow bikes for $3 per hour.
  • What it takes: Download the Zagster phone app at Google Play and iTunes.
  • Learn more: