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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 62(8); 2019 > Article
Kim: Role and future development of the KMA Policy

Abstract

The Korean Medical Association (KMA) operates two organizations dedicated to healthcare policy research: the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy, which was launched in 2002, and the KMA Policy Special Committee, which was launched in 2017 as an administrative subunit of the board of representatives. Some members of the KMA have criticized the coexistence of two organizations for policy development. They argue that it would be preferable to unify these organizations, pointing out that having duplicate organizations for policy development wastes financial resources, disperses professionals, and produces different opinions on policies, which could be a source of confusion in the policy activities of the KMA. The author was a director in charge of policy at the KMA in 2002, when the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy was founded, and has also been an active member of the KMA Policy Special Committee since its launch in 2017. Having been involved in both policy development organizations, the author suggests that unifying these two organizations would not be desirable for the medical profession. The Research Institute for Healthcare Policy and the KMA Policy Special Committee are similar in that they deal with healthcare policy, but their approaches are quite distinct. The former organization must thoroughly research healthcare policy from a theoretical perspective, while the latter approaches healthcare policy by advocating for the interests of the members of the KMA. For instance, if the two organizations simultaneously research the possibility of a global budget payment system, the Research Institute for Healthcare Policy should address both its advantages and disadvantages, while the KMA Policy Special Committee would instead organize a policy initiative opposing a global budget payment system by focusing on its disadvantage of restricting the autonomy of healthcare providers. However, if the former organization provides a theoretical base and the latter organization coordinates policy advocacy in the interest of members of the KMA, the two organizations will make a major contribution to improving the medical environment in a complementary manner. In 2018, the two organizations jointly held a workshop with the theme of “shared growth”in Cheonan, demonstrating their ongoing efforts to collaborate. The author suggests that instead of becoming enmeshed in controversies about whether it should continue to exist as a separate organization, the KMA Policy Special Committee should instead focus on becoming the KMA's center for healthcare policy advocacy as soon as possible.
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