Barbara McAneny, MD, on the Collective Power of Doctors

Excerpts from “Narratives in Oncology,” The ASCO Post, June 10, 2014

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Dr. McAneny took over the practice management side of her growing clinic, a transition that was partly related to her serendipitous career move into organized medicine, she noted. “I was in the hospital’s doctor’s lounge after a consult with a young lung cancer patient, bemoaning the fact that so many people still smoke. A urologist came over and said, ‘So, are you just going to bitch about smoking, or are you going to do something about it?’”

The urologist was president of the local medical society, which worked with the Department of Health on smoking cessation initiatives. He invited Dr. McAneny to join the committee and push for antismoking legislation. She jumped at the opportunity. “It took about 15 years of hard work but we got a clean indoor air act passed city-by-city in New Mexico. The experience taught me that when doctors organize together they could accomplish some pretty remarkable things,” said Dr. McAneny.

“I’ve been as ASCO member, from the day I decided to become an oncologist,” she continued. “ASCO is essential in moving forward everything related to oncology. But I’ve also been a long-time member of the American Medical Association [AMA]. The current situation in health care does a very good job at dividing doctors and keeping us relatively powerless as we fight over pieces of a decreasing pie.”

Designing a Better System

In 2012, Dr. McAneny was awarded a $19.8 million Health Care Innovation Award from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to test how private practices could provide better cancer care at a lower cost. To that end, she created Innovative Oncology Business Solutions, serving as its Medical Director and CEO. The project, titled COME HOME (“Community Oncology Medical Homes”), aims to replicate the care and cost-saving practices that Dr. McAneny created at the New Mexico Cancer Center at six practices across the nation.

In regard to her role as AMA’s Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dr. McAneny said “I hope to help AMA to continue to lead the way in providing the support and structures needed to unleash the creativity of American physicians to provide the highest possible level of patient and physician
satisfaction.” ■

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