Susan Schaffman, executive director (ED) of the Connecticut Orthopaedic Society (COS), was honored as the 2010 Executive Director of the Year during the National Ortho-paedic Leadership Conference inWashington, D.C. Ms. Schaffmanwas recognized for her many administrative accomplishments, which—according to COS President Brian G. Smith, MD—have guided the orthopaedic society to its current state of excellence.
During her 7-year tenure as ED, Ms. Schaffman has helped the COS increase membership; the society currently has more than 200 members, representing more than 80 percent of the state’s orthopaedists. She has also been instrumental in improving the financial standing of the COS and bolstering its legislative involvement. Specifically, her assistance has proved valuable on the following legislative issues, among others:
- limiting the scope of practice of physical therapists
- developing legislation to clearly define the limits within which podiatrists may operate
- working to convert a favorable worker’s compensation schedule to a Resource-Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) system that includes cost-of-living increases
- coordinating medical liability reform efforts
As publisher of the thrice yearly newsletter, Backbone, Ms. Schaffman keeps society members informed of legislative and practice management issues. During election season, she coordinates fundraising efforts with the state medical society and other state specialty societies for candidates who support orthopaedic positions.
In partnership with the COS treasurer, she worked to streamline the annual membership drive and increase contributions to the political action committee and the COS Foundation, an education foundation that funds training and research initiatives in the state. In addition, the Foundation has made significant contributions to orthopaedic residency programs in the state, and provided grants to the Louisiana and Mississippi state societies after the Katrina tragedy.
Ms. Schaffman also helped develop new COS member programs such as an annual in-state coding course that was recently attended by nearly 100 orthopaedists and a Clinician-Patient Communication Workshop that provides 4 hours of continuing medical education credit. She was instrumental, along with Michael R. Marks, MD, MBA, in convincing the Connecticut Medical Insurance Company (CMIC) to offer a 2.5 percent premium credit to orthopaedic surgeons who complete the workshop.
Ms. Schaffman’s efforts have also had a positive effect on the state society’s bottom line. Before she became executive director, said Dr. Smith, “We were struggling to find our identity and to stabilize our finances.” Now, thanks to her oversight, the COS annual meeting continues to grow and has become a major fundraiser for the society. This year, meeting revenues exceeded $60,000.
During her tenure as executive director of COS, Ms. Schaffman has worked with five society presidents. “Each physician makes sure that Sue is still the executive director before he takes office,” Dr. Smith said. “We couldn’t perform our jobs without her leadership.”
Maureen Leahy is assistant managing editor for AAOS Now. She can be reached at email@example.com