MSSC rolls out new group health plan option

In Affiliates, MSSC News by admin

The new ProviDRs Care-NexUS level-funded health plan – created in partnership with the Medical Society of Sedgwick County and administered by Medova Healthcare – is officially open for business.

Two years in the making, the ProviDRs Care Nexus group health plan was designed especially by and for MSSC physician members and features a powerful benefit package and a robust wellness program that offers access to corporate level benefits with significant savings over small group plan options.

“One of the biggest pain points for physicians is their health insurance benefits,” said Karen Cox, chief executive officer of ProviDRs Care Network. “We can provide a unique, level-funded health program that not only addresses employee health but achieves deep discounts thanks to the ProviDRs Care Network.”

The new ProviDRs Care NexUS group health plan, which opened to MSSC members this month, is not a typical association health plan. Designed for employer groups from two to 500 employees, members are individually underwritten and rated, which means that physician groups will earn their own rate plus the advantage of saving on administrative costs through membership in the Medical Society.

Karen Cox

Cox said the new group health plan is particularly effective because it doesn’t just base its performance on the evolving fee-for-service, managed care programs of the past. The NexUS platform is designed to support value-based care in which cost-containment incentives are aligned between physicians and members to better manage care, cost and members’ health, she said.

In addition, the plans feature a strong lifestyle and wellness improvement component.

Key features of the ProviDRs Care-NexUS group health plan include:

  • Lower unit costs, which combine price transparency with the deep discounts offered through ProviDRs Care Network to achieve a lower net cost on a unit-of-care basis.
  • Physician-led service utilization in which medical service is provided at the right place at the right time and the right price.
  • A productive lifestyle improvement and wellness program with advocacy coaches and a deductible credit incentive program.
  • Fixed costs that support program sustainability and that can be budgeted by the practice.
  • A unique benefit design structure that promotes using primary care physicians and the valued-based benefits structure of NexUS.

“I believe we have something very unique,” Cox said. “For this population, it’s so important for the MSSC to have this available to its members, because it’s developed by their peers.”

Groups can get plans based on their size, with multiple benefit plan designs for their employees, all with the integrated benefits of NexUS in each plan option. An eligible physician group must be an active member of the MSSC to be eligible to participate in the NexUS program.

Members interested in learning more about the new product or who would like to receive a group quote can contact Cox at KarenCox@ProviDRsCare.net.


NexUS plan value-added features

The unique benefit structure of NexUS Health is designed to promote the utilization of primary care physicians and the value-based benefit structure of NexUS Health. In addition, NexUS Health provides the following value-added benefit components:

  • ProviDrs Care Network for in-network benefit savings
  • $0 copay for all lab services provided through preferred vendor(s).
  • $0 copay for diabetic supplies provided through preferred
  • Benefit incentives for utilization of free-standing facilities and services.
  • Pricing transparency tools for selecting the most cost-effective facility for services.
  • Rx concierge services for non-covered prescriptions.
  • 16 plan design options for benefit and premium options.

Join us for WD<40 event

In Meetings/Events, Membership by admin

We’re not planning to play pickleball as a group – although you’re welcome to on your own – but we are serving up free alcohol and appetizers at Wichita’s newest indoor/outdoor entertainment complex, Chicken N Pickle. The venue includes a restaurant and sports bar and features pickleball courts and a variety of yard games.

Spouses are welcome. And while supplies last, each attendee will receive a handy-sized can of WD-40.

RSVP by Aug. 15 to denisephillips@med-soc.org or call 316-683-7558.

July President’s Message: Medicine is a lonely profession; physicians need one another

In President's Message by admin

by Michael Lievens, MD —

As many of you already know, we recently lost a colleague to suicide. Dr. Peg Bicker always struck me as quiet, dedicated and deeply caring. I thought very highly of her.

Most of my interactions with Peg were in the hospital, often late at night. She worked hard, and her patients felt how much she cared about them.

Losing a thoughtful, kind and bright human being, and physician, is really sad. It is, of course, hard to image what her family and loved ones must be going through. Our deepest sympathies go out to them. Our hearts also go out to her patients, who I suspect will miss her dearly as well.

Deaths of people we know, love and respect – and sometimes even deaths of complete strangers – seem to get us thinking about our own lives. What is really important? What should my priorities be, and am I living accordingly?

Obviously, family and loved ones should top anyone’s list of priorities. I don’t want to think about my world without my wife, kids and new grandchild being a part of it. They are the most important part of my life.

Yet, I don’t spend near enough time with them. I spend most of my time, it seems, working at a profession that I also love.

The career we have chosen has an ironic twist, however. Most of us are with people all day long – patients and their families, nurses, technicians, aides, receptionists, administrators, and so on. It is a profession largely based on human interaction.

Yet while we are in close proximity to many people, it can be a lonely, somewhat isolated job.

We are serving patients and their families. We question or interrogate them to get the information we need to help them. We spend our energy to win their trust and confidence, give them hope and teach them about their condition. As the servant in this relationship, the interaction is not about us. It is about them, as it should be.

To the many members of the medical team, we are the leader. We seek to build the team, get the team working toward a common goal, and nurture its proper function. All of this takes effort. It does not just happen. It takes work.

What the physician gets out of this effort isn’t necessarily friendship, although that may be possible on some level. We get satisfaction, pride and the respect of the community. We get to share in really tender, personal and meaningful moments of people’s lives.

This is truly a gift. This can bring us great joy, and it is important. But it is sometimes lonely.

Really connecting with patients, getting to see the look of hope in their faces, and helping to lift the burden of worry and fear that they experience is pure gold. Experiencing this with one or two people a day, or even per week, is enough to keep me coming back again and again. But this is not the same as nurturing a personal friendship or being with family. We can be really good at this job and still be lonely.

During our education and training, there is often a deep sense of camaraderie among our classmates. We work closely together, cover for each other and help each other. It is a time in our lives that fosters friendships that sometimes last a lifetime.

When we leave the nest of our training, however, it is not so easy to build new relationships. Our partners may be of a different generation or at a different point in their careers. We don’t have as much in common. Our schedules get tighter, and our time becomes more precious. We often lose that sense of camaraderie. It can get lonely.

I vividly remember an event early in my career, shortly after I started practicing in Wichita. I worked diligently doing a procedure, totally focused on my task. It took longer than expected, but I was thrilled. Technically, it was a great success.

Filled with pride in my accomplishment, I looked around the room, expecting smiles and congratulatory remarks from the team. Instead, I saw tired looks, people looking at their watches, and anxious staff worried about getting home in time to pick up their kids. It was a very crushing, humbling and, yes, lonely moment. Welcome to the post-training real world!

I don’t pretend to know why any person commits suicide. It is clearly not related to their intelligence or character or goodness.

We do have some data, however, on local physicians in regards to burnout.

Many of you were in attendance at the MSSC event reviewing and discussing local data on physician burnout a few months ago. Loneliness is a factor in physician burnout, and it was startling to see how many of us experienced suicidal thoughts at times.

We need to stick together. Our colleagues may need our help, even if it is something as simple as our presence.

So many things are leading us to more isolated working lives – administrative burdens, the electronic health record, payer-related mandates such as prior authorization, MIPS, and on and on.

We need our families and our friends, for sure. More than ever. But we also need our colleagues. They are the people most likely to understand our work-related stresses and concerns.

I love my family. I love my career. Both bring me great joy. I feel so fortunate in so many ways. But there are times when I feel the loneliness of this profession as well. It can happen to any of us.

Be on the lookout for it in yourself and your colleagues, and seek help if needed. This community needs all of us. And each of our families and loved ones need us as well.

We do have some data, however, on local physicians in regards to burnout.

Many of you were in attendance at the MSSC event in May reviewing and discussing local data on physician burnout. Loneliness is a factor in physician burnout, and it was startling to see how many of us experienced suicidal thoughts at times.

We need to stick together. Our colleagues may need our help, even if it is something as simple as our presence.

So many things are leading us to more isolated working lives – administrative burdens, the electronic health record, payer-related mandates such as prior authorization, MIPS, and on and on.

We need our families and our friends, for sure. More than ever. But we also need our colleagues. They are the people most likely to understand our work-related stresses and concerns.

I love my family. I love my career. Both bring me great joy. I feel so fortunate in so many ways. But there are times when I feel the loneliness of this profession as well. It can happen to any of us.

Be on the lookout for it in yourself and your colleagues, and seek help if needed. This community needs all of us. And each of our families and loved ones need us as well.

Kansas Medical Society taking close look at Supreme Court decision

In Affiliates by admin

The Kansas Medical Society, the Kansas Medical Mutual Insurance Company (KAMMCO), and the Kansas Hospital Association have been carefully reviewing the Kansas Supreme Court’s recent Hilburn ruling.

In it, the Court ruled that state laws limiting non-economic damages (pain and suffering) in civil cases are now unconstitutional. It is not yet clear how the ruling might impact medical malpractice cases.

“The elimination of the caps on pain and suffering awards could have wide-ranging impact,” KMS officials said. “The longer-term, gradual effects of this change are more challenging to quantify but they could be substantial.”

The ruling and its potential impact will be discussed at the KMS annual meeting on Sept. 7 at the Wichita Hyatt Regency.

Medical Service Bureau changes name to Cairn Health

In Affiliates by admin

Medical Service Bureau – a nonprofit agency founded out of a joint effort by members of the MSSC and the Community Chest in 1937 – announced this month it has changed its name to Cairn Health.

Medical Service Bureau was a part of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County until 1978 when it incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but still remains closely tied to the Medical Society.

Medical Service Bureau has had the same name since being formed. The organization provides a way to help low-income, uninsured and under-insured individuals in Sedgwick County access health care by assisting them with prescription medications, vision care and other services.

The name change reflects the organization’s broader healthcare commitment and its focus on providing hope and guidance for people navigating the confusing, complicated health care landscape, officials said.

A cairn is a human-made stack of stones that serves as landmarks or trail markers. While these stones often are pretty to look at, their typical function is to help travelers find their way in remote, often featureless, and confusing areas. Coming across a cairn during a trek inspires a sense hope and confirmation that you’re going the right way to reach your destination.

“We adopted ‘Cairn’ as our name, because we believe that we serve the same purpose: helping people find their way through the confusing world of medical care,” said Aaron Walker, executive director of Cairn Health. “Our team is here to help our clients uncover the direction in which they should be moving, point them in the right direction if they lose their way, and serve as beacons of hope through the journey.”

Cairn Health currently assists 3,500 to 4,000 Sedgwick County residents annually. Services include a voucher program to purchase needed prescription medications, a diabetic supply program, health and social service navigation, an over-the-counter donated medication program, access to low-cost eye exams through local providers, and vouchers for prescription eyeglasses.

Cairn Health connects people to available resources and delivers important services to low-income or fixed income persons of all ages.

News In Brief

In MSSC News by admin

New and noteworthy …


Training in substance misuse

With the opioid epidemic and growing rates of depression and suicide, experts agree there is a need for behavioral health and medical professionals to more fully address substance use as well as mental health in a comprehensive way.

A free, day-long training session on July 25 will educate about substance misuse, stigma and changing the language and culture around substance use. There will be a brief discussion on screening tools related to substance use, and participants will practice brief negotiated interviewing and referral skills. In addition, the sessions will discuss barriers to screening and intervention as well as improving referral mechanisms to ensure continuity of care for patients.

The training session is sponsored by the Opioid Overdose Crisis Response Grant funded by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Credits and certificates are available upon course completion.

To register, please visit https://tinyurl.com/ICTmisuse.


Lowell Ebersole, DO, promoted to CMO

Dr. Ebersole

Lowell Ebersole, DO, has been promoted to chief medical officer for Wesley Healthcare effective Aug. 1.

Ebersole was hired in January 2019 as Wesley Healthcare’s first-ever associate chief medical officer.

“I am privileged to serve as CMO and to work with the talented providers and staff that make Wesley Healthcare one of the top-rated hospitals in the nation for quality and patient safety,” Ebersole said.

Ebersole completed his residency at Via Christi Family Practice. He began his medical career as a hospitalist for Kansas Inpatient Services. He became the medical director of Via Christi’s hospitalist program in 2013, serving as a hospitalist for Via Christi and Sound Physicians through 2018. Ebersole received his doctor of osteopathy from Des Moines University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Francie Ekengren, MD, who last year announced plans to move toward retirement, will take on the chief of staff role during the transition, focusing on quality markers such as patient safety, physician wellness, Medical Staff Services, GME, CME, and the Wesley Leadership Institute.

“After 19 years as CMO, it is time for me to focus on administrative efforts and many other things that I am personally passionate about that will continue to drive the mission and values of Wesley Healthcare,” Dr. Ekengren said. “It is my honor to be a part of the Wesley Healthcare team and I am looking forward to working with Dr. Ebersole as he transitions into his new role.”


Save the dates for these MSSC events

Access the Edge – Project Access fundraiser
Thursday-Friday, Aug. 29-30

Project Access is holding a 20th anniversary fundraising event on Aug. 29-30. Participants who raise $1,000 will get to rappel down the side of the Ambassador Hotel in downtown Wichita. For more information or to register, visit ote.cphcp.com.

MSSC General Membership Meeting – celebrating international medical graduates
Tuesday, Oct. 1

Mark your calendars for the MSSC General Membership Meeting celebrating international medical graduates on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at Botanica.


Grant to help combat mental illness

Kansas has received a $1.8 million federal grant to help combat an upward trend of mental illness in children.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will be used in collaboration by the KU School of Medicine-Wichita departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, and the KU Center for Public Partnerships & Research. Kansas is one of three states to receive a Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Grant, which is designed to help those 21 years and under.


New kidney stone hotline available

Wichita Urology has established a Kidney Stone Hotline for patients suffering from kidney stones.

The hotline, listed as 1-833-62-STONE, is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone experiencing symptoms of a kidney stone. An announcement from the practice says a Wichita Urology representative will help the caller determine his correct path of care and assist with getting the care needed.

Callers will be assisted in scheduling an appointment to be seen the next business day.

In Remembrance

In Membership by admin

The MSSC extends its condolences to the family of Dr. Bicker.

Internist Peg Bicker, MD, died in the early morning hours on June 24. Dr. Bicker graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2010 and completed her residency at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 2013.

Dr. Bicker devoted her life to helping others, her family said. “She was a brilliant, comforting, beautiful human being, loved by all who knew her,” the family wrote in her obituary.

Dr. Bicker had already earned BFAs in sculpture and art history before she decided to become a physician. “She looked at life with an amazing blend of art and science,” her family said.

She is survived by her husband, Larry Schwarm; her parents, Marjorie Hall Bicker and Richard Bicker of Winfield; her sister, Windy York of Denver; her brother, Micah Bicker of Oregon; and five nieces and nephews.

Because Dr. Bicker was passionate about art and medicine, her family has established memorials in her name with the Wichita Art Museum and Prairie Home Health & Hospice in Dodge City.

Membership

In Membership by admin

Members of the Society who know a good and sufficient reason why any of the following applicants are not eligible for membership are requested to communicate with the Medical Society of Sedgwick County office.

[BC] Board Certified  [R] Residency  [F] Accredited Fellowship  [F*] Unaccredited Fellowship [AT] Additional Training
NEW APPLICANTS

Kirsten Bjorkman, MD
[R] Pediatrics
KU Wichita Pediatric Hospitalists, PA
OFF: 962-7422
FAX: 962-7805
550 N Hillside Bldg 1 6th Fl, 67214

Brent Cameron, MD
[R] Radiation Oncology
Wichita Radiological Group, PA
OFF: 685-1367
FAX: 685-9388
551 N Hillside S-320, 67214

Ayah Elbermawy, MD
[R] Pediatrics
KUSM- Wichita Pediatric Hospitalist
OFF: 962-7422
FAX: 962-7805
550 N Hillside Bldg 1 6th Fl, 67214

Lynn R. Fisher, MD
[BC] Family Medicine
Wesley Family Medicine
OFF: 962-3070
FAX: 962-3136
850 N Hillside, 67214

Claire E. Groskurth, MD
[R] Obstetrics & Gynecology
Mid-Kansas Womens Center
OFF: 685-1277
FAX: 688-5208
9300 E 29th St N S-201, 67226

Andrew J. Ormond, MD
[BC] Pediatrics
KUSM- Wichita Pediatrics
OFF: 962-3100
FAX: 962-3132
620 N Carriage Parkway, 67208

Shilpi Relan, MD
[BC] Pediatrics
[F] Pediatric Endocrinology
Children’s Mercy- Specialty Clinic
OFF: 500-8900
FAX: 816-302-9822
3243 E Murdock S-201, 67208

Debra L. Wade, MD
[BC] Diagnostic Radiology
Kansas Imaging Consultants
OFF: 689-5050
FAX: 689-6192
3600 E Harry, 67218

Thomas A. Woltjer, DO
[BC] Ophthalmology
[F] Vitreous & Retina
OFF: 712-4970
FAX: 712-4987
7717 E 29th St N S-100, 67226

Maggie L. Woods, MD
[R] Obstetrics & Gynecology
College Hill OB/GYN, PA
OFF: 683-6766
FAX: 683-1342
3233 E 2nd St N, 67208

 

Roster Updates

In Roster Updates by admin

Keep your 2019 Roster current by adding the information listed below and in the Membership section of this issue of the MSSC News:

REINSTATE TO ACTIVE

Brenda L. Harkins, MD
[BC] Obstetrics & Gynecology
Associates in Women’s Health, PA
OFF: 283-4153
FAX: 239-2817
700 Medical Center Dr S-120, Newton, 67114

CHANGES

John Du Puis, MD
FAX: 719-1018

Rosalie Focken, MD
FAX: 719-1021

Bernard Hearon, MD
FAX: 631-1617

Thomas Sanders, MD
FAX: 631-1673

Brandon Scott, MD
FAX: 631-1683

Advocates for Behavorial Health
Elsie Steelberg, MD
New address:
1861 N Rock Rd S-203, 67206

Redbud Pediatrics
Drs. Jamie Page & Rebecca Reddy, MD
8725 E 32nd St N, 67226

Dr. Giao Pham
7570 W 21st St N S-1006B, 67205
OFF: 201-1202

Kansas Surgical Consultants
2nd Office information for the following physicians:
Andrew Hentzen, MD
Diane Hunt, MD
Christina Nicholas, MD
Scott Porter, MD

William Waswick, MD
OFF: 219-9360
9300 E 29th St N S-203, 67226

Mid-America Orthopedics
OFF: 630-9300
John Babb, MD
Tarun Bhargava, MD
Pat Do, MD
David Hufford, MD
Ryan Livermore, MD
Justin Strickland, MD

Taylor Bertschy, DO
Wesley Medical Center – Obstetrics Hospitalist
OFF: 962-3000
550 N Hillside, 67214

Sara E Purdy, DO
Effective July 1, 2019
OFF: 613-5800
FAX: 768-8000
990 S George Washington Blvd, 67211

RETIRED

Larry Hund, MDAug. 1, 2019

DROPPED

Rao Chundury, MD Moved out of state
Tracie Collins, MD MPH ­
Moved out of state July 30, 2019
Robert Cusick, MD ­Moved out of state July 1, 2019
Benjamin Kallenberger, DO ­
Moved out of state July 9, 2019
Thomas Scott, MD ­
Moved out of state July 1, 2019
Del Rey, MD ­
Moved out of area
Mathias J. Lillig, MD ­
Moved out of state

DECEASED

Donald Bebak, MDJan. 15, 2019