The Litchfield County Medical Association is now in its 250th year, making it among the oldest (if not the oldest) continuously operating medical association in the country. The LCMA celebrated this milestone at Weatherstone, an historic property in Sharon, CT built by Simeon Smith, MD in 1765. Historical records indicate that Dr. Smith hosted meetings of the County Medical Association and the Medical Society of Sharon at his home.
Held in the Stables at Weatherstone, the celebration began with a reception overlooking the grounds and the rolling landscape of the Litchfield Hills. Several generations of Litchfield physicians were joined by their colleagues from Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven Counties. Many thanks to LCMA President Frank Luzzi, MD and LCMA Executive Director Charlene Donaghy for a memorable evening.
Dr. Luzzi gave a warm welcome to the assembled guests, and shared some of LCMA’s storied history. He then introduced State Rep. Roberta Willis, who read a proclamation from Governor Malloy, and State Rep. Prasad Srinivasan, MD. Dr. Srinivasan, a CSMS member and the only physician serving in the state legislature, read a congratulatory citation from the Connecticut General Assembly.
CSMS President Henry Jacobs, MD, JD spoke of LCMA’s impressive history, noting that organized medicine continues to support physicians today at the county, state, and national levels. Dr. Jacobs described the key advocacy role played by the American Medical Association (AMA) in repealing Medicare’s flawed Strategic Growth Rate (SGR) payment formula, as well as the AMA’s “Truth in Advertising” campaign. Dr. Jacobs went on to introduce AMA President Steven Stack, MD, a board-certified emergency medicine physician and the youngest AMA president since 1854.
Congratulating LCMA on its milestone anniversary, Dr. Stack observed that the spirit of those 18th-century physician founders lives on today: “Two hundred and fifty years stands as testament to your commitment to patients and the profession of medicine.” He then turned to more contemporary issues, including the need for physicians to take the lead in reversing the opioid epidemic. Referencing his recent open letter on opioids, Dr. Stack called on physicians to re-examine prescribing practices, and work to prevent patients from becoming addicted to opioids in the first place. “We must do these things with compassion and attention to the needs of our patients despite conflicting public policies that continue to assert unreasonable expectations for pain control.”
Dr. Stack also spoke about the challenges physicians face with the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) which replaced the SGR, and with the proposed mega-mergers among insurance giants Anthem/Cigna and Aetna/Humana. Citing extensive AMA research on the potential impact of the mergers, he noted, “It ain’t a monopoly, but it’s an oligopoly, to be sure.”
Ending his remarks on a positive note, Dr. Stack described the AMA’s three “big, bold goals” for the decade: a national diabetes prevention program, creating the medical school of the future, and restoring joy to the practice of medicine. He thanked LCMA for the opportunity to share in the celebration, and wished LCMA physicians continued success in the years ahead.
You can find additional details about LCMA history in the May issue of Connecticut Medicine, thanks to guest editor (and CSMS member) Doug Gerard, MD.