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Humboldt -Del Norte County Medical Society

A Tradition of Leadership

The Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society (HDNCMS) was organized in 1886 by medical doctors desiring to associate with their peers and promote the practice of medicine. Throughout its history the HDNCMS has sought to improve public health, the quality of the practice of medicine and patients' access to care. The following are accomplishments to that end:

Formation of the Blood Bank. Recognizing the vital need to maintain an adequate supply of blood and blood products in Humboldt and Del Norte County, the HDNCMS formed the Northern California Community Blood Bank. The Blood Bank continued with a joint governing board under the auspices of the Medical Society until 1980. (1951)

Medical Library. Due to space constraints and the need for the ability to manage on an on-going basis, the resource materials owned by the Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society were moved to St. Joseph Hospital, which was the start of the current Medical Resource Library. (1965)

Foundation for Medical Care. Responding to changes in state law permitting third party payors to contract directly with physicians, the HDNCMS created the Humboldt-Del Norte Foundation for Medical Care, a PPO-type organization formed to contract with insurance companies, self-insured groups and other health plans. Contrary to the philosophy expressed by many managed care programs in which access is limited to provide leverage to secure more competitive rates, the HDN Foundation offers wide access to physicians while still remaining competitive, and assures that physicians have appropriate input into medical policy and utilization review mechanisms. (1967)

NORCAL Mutual Insurance. The HDNCMS, responded to the "malpractice crisis" by working with other northern California component medical societies, by establishing the first doctor-owned professional liability company, NORCAL Mutual Insurance Company. The company now insures physicians in several states and is considered by the industry to be pre-eminent among doctor-owned companies in the country and has received the highest rating available from various insurance industry rating firms. (1975)

Recognizing the need for local education, the high expense of traveling outside of the area, reducing the responsibilities for scheduling of medical education programs in the hospital setting, and to avoid duplicating costs for being an accrediting body, the HDNCMS formed the Humboldt-Del Norte Consortium for Continuing Medical Education who took over the function of accrediting the weekly Grand Round Programs and Tumor Board meetings at the local hospitals. The HDN Consortium continues to work with local hospitals in organizing and bringing quality education to the NorthCoast. (1981)

With the closure of the old Humboldt County Hospital there was significant concern that many people who did not qualify for assistance through Medi-Cal or CMSP would "fall through the cracks" and not receive needed medical care. The HDNCMS formed the MEDISHARE PROGRAM in which persons were screened for eligibility and appointments were made with local participating physicians. There was a $2 co-pay per visit.1988-89 With directions shifting to contracting with Federal entities to provide medical care to our Seniors under the Medicare Program and the low participation in the Federal Program of physicians accepting Medicare Assignment for those who truly needed it, identified that many physicians would accept Medicare assistance, in cooperation with the Area Agency on Aging, the Redwood Medicare Assignment Program (R.M.A.P.) was formed. (1988)

At the time there were no physicians accepting new Medi-Cal patients into their practices and upon learning of the illness of one of our long-time outstanding practitioner, Samuel P. Burre, M.D. HDNCMS stepped in to coordinate volunteer physicians to keep the practice open until such time as an Administrative entity was found to take over. General Hospital stepped forward to operate the Samuel P. Burre Memorial Clinic. (1990)

The HDNCMS, working with the local Public Health Officer, created the Disaster Preparedness Committee to review plans for mobilization and response of medical services to natural and civil disasters. The plan outlined the duties and responsibilities for physicians and hospitals, in cooperation with other local officials. The committee continues to meet regularly to improve networking options and coordination of disaster plans between the physicians and the hospitals. (1992)

The HDNCMS established the Physician Well-Being Committee made up of representation from each of our area hospitals to assist physicians who may be impaired by alcoholism or other dependencies or problems. (1992)

The HDNCMS, upon being notified regarding concerns of medical input and the need to increase Sexual Assault Medical Examiners to work with the local District Attorney's office in providing quality forensic exams to collect evidence, began working with the Humboldt County Sexual Assault Response Team to form a quality medical committee consisting of physician and mid-level trained examiners to develop quality assurance protocols, increase the pool of trained examiners and look at moving the program into a 24-hour facility. (1992)

In an effort to bring concerns regarding Access to Medical Care locally, the HDNCMS met with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors to begin discussing these concerns along with concerns of duplication of services locally. This group eventually grew into the Community-Based Health Plan organizing committee.(1994)

With changes in managed care and to gain the ability to negotiate for capitated contracts, the HDN Foundation formed the HDN Independent Practice Association (IPA). Under the newly formed IPA, a local medical management program was formed. The HDN IPA's mission is to be a competitive, physician-directed managed care organization which is responsive to the needs of patients and physicians. These organizations operate under physician-developed policies governing matters such as utilization and quality assurance programs which are medically appropriate. The physician-patient relationship will not be undermined and physicians will not be required to place the financial considerations of the organization above their ethical obligations or the interests of their patients. (1994)