President’s Message

I am honored to serve as President of the Roanoke Valley Academy of Medicine (RVAM)
for the upcoming year. The primary concern for the RVAM Board of Directors this year is
a decrease in membership. I thank all of you who are members and wish to encourage
those who are not to initiate new memberships or renew memberships that have lapsed.
Join or renew your membership today!

RVAM is the local component society of the Medical Society of Virginia (MSV) and has a
long history in Roanoke. The society was incorporated in 1905 after the merger of
several smaller, local medical societies. Membership soared to 500 physicians in the
1980s but dwindled to only 166 members in 2014. Physician membership categories
include part-time and retired physicians. We now offer a special category for two
physician couples. Residents and medical students are granted free memberships and
physician assistants are also welcome to join. RVAM provides benefit to the local
community by working in conjunction with its related organizations. The Roanoke Valley Academy of Medicine Alliance (RAMA) hosts the Annual Book and Author Dinner and uses the proceeds to fund scholarships for students in the health professions. Project Access enlists physicians to provide care to the working uninsured in the community.

RVAM provides specific benefit to the physician community through its advocacy efforts in conjunction with the MSV. These advocacy efforts make Virginia a better place to practice medicine. Issues of great concern to physicians such as the medical malpractice cap came about through significant efforts of the MSV negotiating with the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association. RVAM physicians consistently attend White Coats on Call each year to lobby our elected officials.In this year’s legislative session, RVAM and MSV were busy promoting legislation to improve the daily life of physicians. Bills addressed by the MSV and RVAM this year pertained to: (i) Reform of the insurance prior authorization process - physicians and their staff spend significant time dealing with this cumbersome process; time which would be better spent on the clinical care of their patients, (ii) Opposition to change of the fee schedule for the Workers’ Compensation Program to one based on Medicare rates – payment to providers based on Medicare rates would limit access to care for injured patients and would disrupt this very important program that currently works well, (iii) Prevention of childhood poisoning by ingestion of liquid nicotine – the MSV and RVAM pushed a requirement for child safety caps on packaging for electronic cigarettes. The concentrated liquid nicotine in electronic cigarettes is colored, flavored and attractive to children; contact with a small child’s skin can be dangerous.

Not every physician in Roanoke can take the time out of his/her practice to attend a White Coats on Call to personally advocate for the House of Medicine. Please keep this society alive with your continued membership support such that RVAM can continue this important advocacy on behalf of all physicians in the Roanoke Valley.

Cathy Jo Swanson, MD