Dear Colleagues and Friends,

As your Florida Medical Association District E Representative (Collier, Charlotte, Lee, Manatee, Polk, Sarasota counties), I’d like to share with you some of the highlights from our most recent Board of Governors’ meeting.

Women Physicians’ Task Force
The FMA approved the creation of a Women Physicians’ Task Force to better help our women members practice medicine. I have the honor of chairing the task force, and I welcome your participation! If you’d like to receive my FMA Women Physician newsletter keeping you informed of our activities, please email me. The Task Force plans include:

1. Developing a webinar series based on identified topics of interest to women physicians including fertility issues, contract negotiations, and conflict management.
2. Hosting a virtual Town Hall in Spring 2024
3. Investigating the feasibility of offering onsite childcare during the FMA Annual Meeting to increase participation of women physicians
4. Evaluate the possibility of creating an online, opt-in directory that would allow physicians to share information to facilitate mentor-mentee connections on a variety of topics.
5. We will host another Women’s Reception at this year’s annual meeting (thank you to ACOG for financial support!).

Task Force on Membership Engagement
FMA president Jason Goldman established a Task Force on Membership Engagement chaired by Tra’Chella Johnson Foy, M.D. The task force will work to establish and nurture ongoing relationships with organizations that represent diverse physician groups, as well as develop policies to improve value to our members.

FMA Delegation to the AMA
The FMA sent a delegation to the AMA interim meeting in November. This was my first AMA meeting, and it was quite a learning experience! The AMA declared Medicare Payment Reform a top priority and is working on many administrative burdens like prior authorization. There was also robust discussion about the many social issues affecting physicians and our patients.

The FMA Political Action Committee (PAC) is working to advance legislative policies that help Florida physicians practice medicine. I’m on the PAC Board and I’m so impressed with our legislative team and the work that they do. Our PAC helped to elect legislators who were instrumental last year in obtaining Medicare pay parity for pediatric Medicaid patients, blocked several scope bills, and gained more funding for loan repayment for physicians practicing in underserved areas.

This year will require even more effort – there are multiple bills intended to increase scope of practice for CRNAs and psychiatric nurse practitioners, as well as possible tort changes that require our advocacy. We do need more funding to ensure that Florida elects legislators who hear our message, so I encourage you to please join the PAC. It’s just $250 – feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions, and join online.

Please email me if you have questions, comments, or concerns to bring to the FMA.

Thank you!

Rebekah Bernard MD
Gulf Coast Direct Primary
17595 S Tamiami Tr #204
Fort Myers FL 33908
239-322-3860 (phone)
239-437-4548 (fax)