The Colorado Orthopaedic Society (COS) was awarded the 2011 State Orthopaedic Society Achievement Award for its successes in the areas of membership recruitment, advocacy, and organizational development. Theodore Clarke, MD, society president, accepted the award, which was presented during the National Orthopaedic Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.
The annual award honors a state orthopaedic society that has had a measurable impact in addressing problems facing their membership. It recognizes the creativity employed by the society in its approach to issues and honors the overall achievements of the society.
The COS was recognized for its efforts to increase membership and support tort reform. Funded by two grants from the AAOS, COS began rebuilding its organization in 2008. Since then, COS has been able to increase its membership by 40 percent (from 93 to 130 members), in large part by establishing a statistical recruiting database. This enabled the society to conduct quarterly direct mail campaigns to orthopaedic surgeons in the state and to recruit physicians in larger practices to act as membership advocates.
Dr. Clarke, along with COS Executive Director Dean Holzkamp, also made personal visits to orthopaedic practices throughout the state to encourage orthopaedic surgeons to join the state society. COS expects that the membership increase will add approximately $15,000 per year to its annual budget.
COS has also been engaged in important legislative initiatives. By joining with the state medical society, COS was able to play a major role in preserving Colorado’s current limits on noneconomic damages payable under medical liability settlements and maintain a stable liability climate in the state. Through its participation in a statewide Patient Safety and Professional Accountability work group, COS also helped bring a strong patient safety bill to the Colorado legislature.
In addition, COS led the efforts to defeat a bill in the Colorado legislature that would have allowed chiropractors to inject prescriptive homeopathic substances and podiatrists to perform muscle transfers in the lower leg.
Since reorganizing, COS has established a 12-member board of directors that holds regular organizational meetings, transformed a $12,000 budget deficit into a $30,000 surplus, and established a bimonthly electronic newsletter to communicate with COS members and increase COS awareness among orthopaedic surgeons in the state. COS is now looking forward to holding an annual meeting.