Skidmore Brings Healthcare, Legislative Experience to Palm Beach County Medical Society CEO Role: Current Articles: South Florida Hospital News
By Vanessa Orr
For the past two months, Kelly Skidmore has been serving as the CEO of the Palm Beach County Medical Society (PBCMS), a position previously held by Tenna Wiles for the past 22 years. She brings a wealth of healthcare experience to this role, as well as advocacy and legislative expertise as a former and current member of the Florida House of Representatives.
“I was delighted to be offered the position,” said Skidmore, who most recently served as the public relations specialist for the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the largest trade association in the southeastern United States. Her healthcare experience has included serving as the vice-president of community relations for UnitedHealth Group and as the vice-president of advocacy and public policy for The Arthritis Foundation.
In her new role, Skidmore is responsible for the two different branches of the organization, which include the Palm Beach County Medical Society, a traditional physicians’ trade association, and Palm Beach County Medical Society Services, a grant-driven, community-based organization that improves patients’ access to healthcare and educates the public on healthcare issues.
Skidmore is excited about the many programs she will oversee, including Project Access, which pairs uninsured or underinsured patients with volunteer physicians and facilities, and the Physician Leadership Academy, which provides physicians with advocacy, legislative and media training to help them become leaders in local, regional and national organizations. PBMCS also includes a Medical Reserve Corps component, in which physicians volunteer to help in emergencies such as recent COVID-19 vaccine distribution events.
“This job is really unique; not only am I working with two different boards of directors and a MEDPAC board as well, but there is always something going on to engage our physicians and the community,” said Skidmore.
One of PBCMS’ latest initiatives is the establishment of a new Council on Physician Inclusiveness, created by new president Dr. Roger Duncan. “Through this council, we will be engaging with sister societies such as the T. Leroy Jefferson Medical Society, and Indian and Haitian physicians, among others,” said Skidmore. “We’re working to find synergies and establish relationships that will allow us to provide the best services to these physicians so that they can provide the best care to patients.”
Believing that the PBCMS is one of the best-kept secrets in the area, Skidmore is also creating a social media campaign to provide physicians and the community at large with information about all of the benefits the organization provides.
“Every month, we will feature one to four health-related focuses,” said Skidmore, giving the example of providing heart-healthy tips during American Heart Month in February. “Our goal is to build a following so that we can expand our message to the broader community.”
With the pandemic showing no signs of slowing, Skidmore has also been working with PBCMS staff to research current COVID vaccination regulations to determine when its member physicians and their staffs will be able to get vaccinated, and to try to get the vaccine available in physicians’ offices.
“This is where people tend to feel the most comfortable getting a vaccine,” said Skidmore, adding that they are currently battling an inventory shortage. “We’re talking with different government entities to let them know that we are an available resource to help offset some of the strain facing local departments of health. Our physicians are ready, willing and able to help.”
As a state representative, Skidmore is naturally drawn to the PBCMS’s advocacy role. “One of my strengths is that I am able to share insight into the legislative process and healthcare bills coming forward,” she said. “I will be getting more proactive in that regard, bringing real-time information to physicians who are asking questions about what bills we want to engage with and how to best advocate for our interests.”
In addition to her role at UnitedHealth Group and at The Arthritis Foundation, Skidmore’s health care background also includes her own experiences as a patient, having dealt with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since she was four years old.
“I am very defensive of physicians and their role in healthcare because it’s been a big part of my life,” she said. “I think that all of my diverse experiences give me a well-rounded perspective that will be a benefit to PBCMS members, our staff and community.”