Brevard County Medical Society
Advocate for Local Physicians & Patients
The number of health care and social assistance firms in Florida has been steadily increasing over the past two decades. This means there are more medical facilities and more physicians on the Space Coast today who can meet the needs of local patients. However, an ever-expanding medical industry makes it more difficult to present a consistent, unified voice for physician and patient advocacy. Enter the BrevardCounty Medical Society (BCMS). The mission of the BCMS is to preserve, and enhance, the practice of medicine. The goals of the BCMS are to serve as the voice of medicine; to maintain the role as a trusted community resource; to provide strong governmental advocacy and to protect, improve and strengthen practice viability.
The BCMS was founded in 1904 as a professional and scientific organization of both medical and osteopathic physicians, and is the local affiliate of the Florida Medical Association (FMA) and a member of the Federation of Medicine.
There are approximately 400 members of the BCMS. Its members participate in political advocacy through the legislative committee and professional development through available physician Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses and BCMS programs.“
Our Political Action Committee, the Brevard County Medical PAC, works closely with legislators in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C. to advocate for patient care, Medicare reimbursement and regulatory issues,” explains Linda Paille, executive director of the BCMS. “All members have the opportunity to provide input on important issues and we keep them up-to-date on current legislative activity.”
“BCMS continues to participate in the discussions and meetings on health care reform and related issues with state and national congressional representatives,” adds Dr. Stephen Badolato, president of the BCMS.
Benefits & Standards for Membership
In addition, the BCMS offers a wide range of benefits to its members and provides a physician referral service to the community. “For example, if someone has just moved to the area and is looking for a new physician, we can give them a referral, or if someone wants to know if a physician is a member, we provide that information,” explains Paille. BCMS provides the community with referrals to member physicians only.
Because all BCMS members are required to be in good standing with the medical community, and must undergo an independent review in order to obtain membership, they have earned additional credibility that their peers have not. Although hospitals perform their own credentialing process today, up until the mid-1980s, physicians needed to be members of local medical societies in order to receive staff privileges at area hospitals. Thus, the BCMS knows what to look for when reviewing candidates for membership.
“Physicians who become members make an important commitment to their profession by joining organized medicine,” emphasizes Paille. The voluntary membership process, coupled with the applicant review process, enables the BCMS to maintain a high level of credibility in all of their efforts. Even though membership is voluntary, physicians believe in the BCMS so much that about a quarter of all members are retired or semi-retired physicians who have maintained their memberships to remainactively involved in health care advocacy and to offer their experiences and expertise to other members.
“When I arrived in Brevard County in 1980, joining the American Medical Association (AMA) and Brevard County Medical Society (BCMS) – linked organizations – was automatic,” says Dr. Richard Weber, who has been a member for 30 years. “It seems that, over the preceding three decades, one obstacle after another has been introduced into the business of medical practice that endeavors to erode the quality of care for which my patients and I strive. Medical societies represent my patients and my interests, resisting these changes.”
Dr. Weber is not the only local physician who strongly believes in the BCMS. Drs. Stephen Badolato, Lance Grenevicki, Ara Deukmedjian and John Potomski are the current BCMS officers, and many members are actively involved in ongoing health care reform dialogues and legislative processes.
Through their various programs and services, the BCMS touches all levels of the local community, and helps promote state-wide initiatives. It is a results and goal-oriented organization that will be working hard to improve health care on the Space Coast for years to come.
Why Should You Join?
SpaceCoast Living HEALTH asked Brevard County Medical Society (BCMS) officers and members to explain the benefits of the BCMS to the local community. Here’s what they had to say:
“The BCMS benefits members by keeping us informed of the proposed and implemented policy changes that affect the practice of medicine. The society also allows member physicians to become actively involved in the process of change in legislation through delegate participation at our annual Florida Medical Association (FMA) meeting.”
– Dr. Stephen Badolato, BCMS president
“The society provides an environment for physicians to come together to solve problems facing our patients. We discuss ways to improve access to care and organize physicians’ efforts to bring about positive change for our patients.”
- Dr. Ara Deukmedjian, BCMS vice president
“The BCMS brings physicians together from the county to interact and exchange ideas.”
- Dr. Douglas Barimo, BCMS member
“I’d always been cognizant of the central role that these national and regional organizations have played inorganizing and representing the interests of American physicians. Over the ensuing three decades I’ve seen younger physicians question the value of these institutions… but, in my opinion, they continue to fulfill these functions as originally conceived.”
- Dr. Richard Weber, BCMS member for 30 years
“Each member or potential member of BCMS offers unique insight into helping shape the delivery of medical care in Brevard County. The BCMS allows physicians to get involved and lobby for the patients.”
- Dr. Lance Grenevicki, BCMS president-elect
“The biggest benefit of membership is working together with other physicians in the county. The membership has given me and my partners a chance to interact with other local physicians, and get involved in all aspects of public health.”
– Dr. Silas Charles, BCMS member for 28 years