George Hruza, MD, selected incoming president-elect in 2017 Academy election

George Hruza, MD, MBA, a St. Louis-based dermatologist in private practice, was elected incoming Academy president-elect in the 2017 Academy election. Member to Member spoke with Dr. Hruza about his priorities as president.

Member to Member: What excites you most about assuming the role of Academy president?

dr-Hruza.PNGDr. Hruza: It’s an opportunity for giving back. Dermatology has been very good to me and my patients. The Academy represents the very best in dermatology, so for me to be able to contribute to the future success of dermatology and dermatologists as president of the Academy is very exciting.

MTM: What motivated you to run for president?

Dr. Hruza: I’ve been in private practice for years, and was in academics before that. I’ve seen over the last few years how the regulatory burden has gotten so much worse. It’s gotten to the point where many dermatologists in my area have retired early because they don’t want to deal with all the unfunded mandates that the government is forcing us to deal with.

So, I ran for president to make an effort to preserve the private practice of dermatology. We need to reduce regulatory burden in order to take the best care of our patients.

We are under attack from legislators, regulators and insurance companies. Their dictates interfere with the doctor-patient relationship.


MTM: What issues do you plan to focus on as president?

Dr. Hruza: It’s difficult to choose one because there are so many issues facing the specialty. My main focus will be to do whatever possible to clear the obstacles that prevent dermatologists from practicing dermatology. We need to clear the way for physicians to make the best decisions for their patients.

I know we cannot eliminate all regulatory burdens. However, we can work towards reducing burdens. Maybe we can reduce some of the most intrusive and punitive regulations, whether it’s IPAB, HIPAA, MACRA, ACO’s or the crazy non-discrimination rule that requires you to post information in the top 15 non-English languages spoken in your state. There are a lot of rules that make no sense and don’t benefit patients.

When Brett Coldiron, MD, was president of the Academy, he made narrow networks a focus. He did a great job in this area. In fact, he’s kind of my idol because he was able to move the needle in that area. And we saw change as a result of that in St. Louis, where I practice. I’d like to make similar changes that will directly benefit the specialty.

The regulation that’s most top of mind is MACRA and MIPS. We can have the most impact in the area of  value-based health care as CMS is clearly struggling to find its way. We can make it easier for our members to comply with those rules, and, of course, to help reduce the burden of those rules. With the new administration in Washington, we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to impact these regulations because there’s an appetite in Washington to change the regulatory environment. The key is to work toward alleviating the regulations that will result in improving the doctor-patient relationship and allowing us to practice dermatology.

Election results

Election ballots were sent to 14,516 eligible voting members of the Academy. A total of 4,005 (27.59%) members returned ballots. The following are the tabulated candidate and proposed bylaws amendment results. Newly elected Officers and Directors will officially take office at the conclusion of the 2018 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA on February 20, 2018.

George J. Hruza, MD, FAAD 
  Vice President-Elect
Jane M. Grant-Kels, MD, FAAD 

Results of 2017 Proposed Bylaws Amendment
The proposed bylaws amendment must be approved
by a two-thirds majority of the total votes cast.

Article VII, Officers: Section 4. Vacancies
The proposed amendment further clarifies the line of succession to the office of president.

Approve: 98.09%
Disapprove: 1.91%
Results: PASS

Board of Directors
Diane S. Berson, MD, FAAD
Seemal R. Desai, MD, FAAD
Scott M. Dinehart, MD, FAAD
Abby S. Van Voorhees, MD, FAAD
  Nominating Committee Member Representative
Dirk Elston, MD, FAAD