The issues affecting our members and the practice of medicine have changed greatly since the inception in 1946, but the core services of advocacy, education, member communication; networking, physician referrals and patient complaint remediation remain unchanged. The services our physician members valued in 1946 are very similar to the services you value today.
The first meeting minutes of the society, dated June 3, 1946, detail a meeting of eight local physicians who had gathered to discuss the manner to be approached relative to procuring the Naval Air Station Hospital (now Kadlec Regional Medical Center) for civilian use. The first permanent officers were elected and our first President, Dr. Joseph Greenwell, was named.
In August name was changed to the Benton Franklin County Medical Society and bylaws were approved. Our first official office operated out of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and had 37 active members. In contrast, today we have close to 250 members.
In 1949, operations of the Benton Franklin Counties Medical Service Corporation officially began; taking care of all welfare cases and offering plans for pre-paid medical care for employed groups. Medical Service Corporation of Spokane took over the day to day operations of the medical bureau and ran it for years to come.
The networking function of the society has been in place since our inception. We continue to offer six membership meetings annually that include dinner and a speaker. We also offer periodic social events geared towards families such as our Dust Devil’s baseball night.
As early as 1960, board members and physician members were participating in the WSMA Legislative Day in Olympia and every January board members along with interested physicians travel to Olympia to meet with our local legislators to discuss the medical issues affecting your practice.
- 1948: Articles of Incorporation; with the purpose to promote the art and science of medicine in the betterment of public health and to unite with other County Medical Societies in the State.
- 1949: The women’s auxiliary was formed by physician wives.
- 1979: Our physician referral service began.
- 1984: Our first CME Seminar took place.
- 1986: the WMSA CME Committee visited our offices for our first ever accreditation site-survey.
- 2017: BFCMS amended the bylaws to create a category of membership for physician assistants.
For more details, “History of the Medical Society” contains more content. This was a presentation by Nicole Austin in 2011.