Susan Turney, M.D., the medical director of patient financial services at the Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic since 1995, has been named chief executive officer and executive vice president of the 10,000-member Wisconsin Medical Society.
She is the first physician and the first woman to hold the CEO position at the society in its 163-year history.
Turney, an internist, is an expert in the financial side of medicine who has testified on behalf of the physicians before the Wisconsin Legislature and other government entities.
She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School and began her residency at Marshfield in 1979. She joined the Marshfield staff in 1981 and has served on the board of directors at the clinic. She is vice chairman of the board of directors of the state medical society and former chairman of its healthcare access and finance council.
"Although I've been a practicing physician most of my career, I've always had an interest in the socioeconomics of medicine and been a leader in my group for 20 years," Turney said. "So, the leadership position at the society is really a marriage of my abilities and my interest in advocacy on behalf of patients."
Turney said she expects to face the same issues heading the Wisconsin society that physicians are confronting across the country.
"The whole workforce issue is one. It takes a long time to get doctors through the pipeline, and with the demographic changes ahead, that's going to be a big issue in years to come.
"We're starting to see some areas in Wisconsin where there are difficulties in access to care, and that could worsen if we don't start fixing some of the financing mechanisms."
Turney also said consumer-driven demand, technology, patient safety, disease management and related quality-of-care issues also will present challenges.
She will begin work at her new position in August.