Archive | December 2010

Michael T. Kornett Resigns as Head of the Medical Society of New Jersey

Lawrenceville, NJThe Medical Society of New Jersey’s chief executive officer Michael T. Kornett announced to the Board of Trustees yesterday that he will step down effective June 30, 2011.  He has led the state’s largest physician organization since 2004.

“After more than 30 years as a CEO and the last seven with the Medical Society [of NJ] I find myself ready for the next chapter in my life,” said Kornett.  “I look back with great satisfaction and pride over what we have accomplished as an organization.”

Under Kornett, physicians have re-emerged as leaders in New Jersey, placing them at the forefront in discussions and policies that influence state and national healthcare policies.  He also led the fight for the rights of physicians and patients against managed care manipulations and excessive government influence, and grew MSNJ’s membership.  During his tenure, national class action lawsuit settlement agreements that leveled the playing field between physicians and insurers and improved business practices were implemented.

Kornett is recognized as a passionate and vocal advocate for the physicians in New Jersey.  He built a strong working relationship with the New Jersey Departments of Banking & Insurance and Health & Senior Services through regular working group meetings.  He was an intense critic of Horizon Blue Cross’ attempt to convert to for-profit.  He drew on his experience as a former managed care CEO to explain why such an attempt only benefited a few corporate executives and was a bad decision for the citizens of New Jersey.

In 2008, Kornett along with other New Jersey healthcare leaders introduced the MSNJ/QualCare Prescription Savings Card to provide uninsured and underinsured patients access to prescription drugs that may not have been affordable otherwise.   More than 200,000 cards have been distributed and $3 million worth of prescriptions have been filled for patients in New Jersey.

“In the 244-year existence of MSNJ, Mike Kornett has definitely carved out his own spot in its history,” stated Dr. Donald J. Cinotti, MSNJ’s 218th President.  “He took an organization that was in need of restructuring and reestablished it as one of the premier associations in New Jersey.  His presence will certainly be missed.”

During Kornett’s time, MSNJ helped to develop the Affiliated Physicians MEWA administered by QualCare.  The AP MEWA is a health insurance program designed to allow small employers to join together as one large group and offer a self-insured health plan.  He sits on the AP MEWA Board of Directors.

Kornett currently serves as a director for the Physicians Foundation, a national foundation designed to advance the work of practicing physicians and to improve the quality of healthcare for all Americans, where he is responsible for strategic planning.  He is also vice-chair of NJ-HITEC, a federally recognized Regional Extension Center designed to help physicians adopt and utilize electronic medical records effectively in their practices and sits on the board of Samaritan Hospice.

“Mike Kornett’s leadership has helped New Jersey’s physician community to become a powerful voice in healthcare,” said Health and Senior Services Commissioner Dr. Poonam Alaigh.  “We look forward to working with the Medical Society of New Jersey in this next phase of its leadership as we enter a critical time in our health care environment.”

Kornett came to MSNJ in 2004 after serving as Executive Director for the New Jersey Healthcare Financing Authority.  During his illustrious career in healthcare he served as the chief executive officer of JFK Hospital in Edison, Passaic General Hospital, was a managing partner in the New Jersey healthcare division of Ernst & Young, and helped found two publicly-traded managed care companies; Oxford Health Plans and Mastercare.

A search committee will form at the beginning of the year to find a successor.

BREAKING NEWS: Congress Stops Medicare Fee Cuts through 2011

Today, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 4994, the “Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010,” on a bipartisan vote of 409-2.  This legislation, which passed the Senate yesterday by unanimous consent, would stabilize Medicare physician payments at current rates for 12 months, through the end of 2011.  It will now be sent to President Obama to sign into law.

In addition to providing an additional 12-month reprieve from the 25 percent Medicare physician payment cut scheduled to take effect on January 1, the bill extends a number of payment policies that were set to expire at the end of this year.  It also includes funds to enable Medicare contractors to reprocess claims for physician services affected by provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed last spring with a retroactive effective date of January 1, 2010.  A detailed summary of the bill’s provisions, prepared by the AMA, will be available tomorrow.

Medicine was supported in its advocacy efforts by aggressive grassroots pressure from AARP, which included over 100,000 contacts by seniors to Congressional offices as well as paid radio and print advertising, direct mail, tele-townhall meetings, and educational efforts conducted jointly with medical societies in several key states.  Also key to successful and timely passage of the bill was the bipartisan cooperation among leaders in the Senate and the House. MSNJ appreciate the support of our Senators and House of Representatives. We also appreciate the efforts of our members who participated at the grassroots level by contacting members of Congress.

All parties agree with medicine that the time for recurring stop-gap measures to end the disruption caused by the sustainable growth rate formula is long past.  As noted in a statement issued yesterday by President Obama:  “It’s time for a permanent solution that seniors and their doctors can depend on and I look forward to working with Congress to address this matter once and for all in the coming year.”

Organized medicine must now turn its attention to a repeal of the broken payment formula and a permanent Medicare payment solution.