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S.D. family physician elected California Medical Association president

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San Diego family physician and member of the San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS) and the California Medical Association (CMA) since 1985, James T. Hay, M.D., took over as CMA president at the close of its annual House of Delegates meeting on Oct. 17 in Anaheim, Calif.

In his address to the nearly 1,000 physicians in attendance, Dr. Hay challenged the members to set out to recreate the health care marketplace "like the tech industry does."

Rather than waiting for someone to pay us for our products and services under the new health care system, he said, physicians need to be active in its creation. Physicians need to set big goals, he said. It's time to think about the end point: a better profession, a more secure economic environment, a healthier and safer public; then we need to design a way to get there. But to get there, he cautioned, physicians must stop "fighting each other for pieces of a dwindling market" and instead think about enacting plans that enhance the marketplace for patients and clinicians.

Physicians know a lot about what would improve care for patients and produce cost savings, he said. For example, if we can coordinate care better and make it possible for patients to receive "treatment at home rather than in a hospital or skilled nursing facility," this would save money and help patients. "How many more patient services and patient care coordination could we deliver if we had 25 percent of the healthcare dollarinstead of 19 percent?"

"We have met the enemy and he is us," Dr. Hay said, quoting Walt Kelly's satirical cartoon character Pogo. Then he challenged CMA's members to stop thinking like victims. "If we have the power to create our own problems, we certainly have the power to fix them."

A native of Philadelphia, Dr. Hay has practiced in North San Diego County since 1978 when he founded North Coast Family Medical Group. He received his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and his B.A. from Duke University in North Carolina. He completed his residency at Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton, and is board-certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.

Dr. Hay is a member of SDCMS and the California Academy of Family Practice. He also has a long history of involvement in organized medicine at the local, state, and national levels. He is past president of SDCMS and the SDCMS Foundation and has been on the CMA board of trustees since 1994. He has been a member of CMA's House of Delegates (HOD) since 1986, serving as vice speaker and speaker from 2003 to 2009, and he is currently concluding a one-year term as CMA president-elect.

He has served as a member of the board of the San Diego and Imperial County Red Cross for six years and on the board of 211 San Diego for four years. Each year since 1977 he has received the American Medical Association's Physicians Recognition Award, which is given to physicians who demonstrate a commitment to patient care through continuing medical education.

Dr. Hay is active in local and state political action and enjoys running, travel, and great restaurants. Dr. Hay and his wife, Tricia, have two grown children and four grandchildren.

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The San Diego County Medical Society (SDCMS), the professional association for physicians in San Diego County, founded in 1870 and chartered by the California Medical Association, currently counts approximately 2,600 practicing physicians within the county as members. SDCMS -- "Physicians United for Healthy San Diego" -- fights for access to quality healthcare for all San Diegans.

The California Medical Association (CMA) represents more than 35,000 physicians in all modes of practice and specialties. CMA is dedicated to the health of all patients in California.

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