Bridges 300 webThe LAFP Member of the Month is a forum to recognize and highlight our members. We hope you enjoy learning about fellow members both on a personal and professional level.
LAFP is proud to recognize Richard Bridges, MD as our October 2017 Member of the Month.
Dr. Bridges is currently employed at Amite Rural Health Clinic affiliated with Hood Memorial Hospital in Amite, Louisiana. He also serves on the LAFP Board of Directors and Chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee.
Read more to see Dr. Bridges’ strong background in health policy and advocacy and why he feels it important to become involved in the LAFP.
1. As Legislative Chair of the Legislative and Advocacy Committee, what issues do you feel members should be aware of impacting the practice of medicine? Members need to be involved in the legislative process because of how much it affects their professional life. There are constantly people who want to alter and not always in a beneficial way the practice of medicine. I feel most of our members feel that the most important thing is the relationship of the physician and the patient. We work to monitor and try to prevent as many things as we can that interfere with that relationship. There are always people who feel that they can better tell us how to practice medicine and we know we are the key to a successful and stable healthcare system. Our true strength as an organization is only felt when all members are engaged.
There are many issues coming up that our family doctors will be encountering including MACRA and the shift of trying to push to reimburse based on outcomes. We also have more and more physicians who are looking to move towards direct primary care. Both topics are large and complicated and the LAFP is there to help lead. I also feel we will continue to see outside sources try to whittle away at what we do and we will be there to try and protect the specialty of family medicine.
2. It is important for me to be a member of AAFP and LAFP because...It requires a united voice to begin to try and make changes to our healthcare system not only on a local, but a national level. A strong united and focused Family Medicine voice can have a large impact on the policies that are being driven into medicine these days. I also feel it a place of belonging. A place where you sit amongst your peers and they understand the battles and challenges you face each day. It can also be a place of renewal for the physician.
3. Why did you choose family medicine, what’s your favorite aspect of it, and were you inspired by anyone? I chose family medicine because I grew up only knowing doctors as family medicine doctors. The school bus dropped me off at the small hospital my mother worked at in Kentwood, LA. I would spend my afternoons wandering around the hospital. There I looked up to the physicians and what they did. I was in awe and fascinated with it. The Carlton Faller, Charles Cefalu and John Pike, were the doctors who shaped in my young mind what doctors were. They worked in the clinic, saw patients in the ER, and managed their own hospital patients. I was family medicine from the get go of medical school. I have tried to shape my practice around the ways I saw these doctors work and be a part of the patient’s lives. I have been inspired my many doctors. I have tried to take something from all doctors that I have encountered. I tell students and residents now you can learn from every physician you meet, whether good or bad, how you want to do something or not do something. I am in the LAFP because of Jim Taylor. He has mentored me and pushed me to do more and more. I was heavily influenced by Dr. F. Santi DiFranco in New York City by the way he treated the practice of medicine and its sacredness along with his ways of teaching and caring about the next generation.
4. What has your experience of the LAFP been like? I would say that it has been a giant learning experience. From Joe and Sandy Mapes with Jim Taylor teaching me about the legislative process to all the other stuff we deal with. It has been a great for making new friends and meeting people who are involved in family medicine all over this state. Truly wonderful even though at times crazy.
5. What is the biggest opportunity or challenge you see in the specialty in the next five years? I think there will be significant changes that occur in the field of family medicine over the next few years. I think one of the things we will have to change is our practice setups. There will be an increase in the growth of direct primary care. I hope that we will begin to see more doctors standing up and insisting on restoring the patient physician relationship in the near future. I think there are a lot of changes coming with MACRA and will see doctors have to adapt to pay for performance. I think the field of family medicine with its role in primary care along with the LAFP/AAFP can lead this change. The big challenge will be uniting and energizing the primary care base to take this leadership role and fight for the changes necessary in the healthcare system.
6. Tell me something fun (unrelated to medicine) about yourself. My new hobby is cooking on my big green egg. I am becoming too emotionally invested in LSU sports and my favorite tv show is still MASH.
7. How do you balance the demands of career, leadership, family and your own well-being? Honestly not very well. I am not sure any family medicine doc feels they have this perfect balance in their lives. We all spend too much time of the day worrying with the struggle of doing what we do. It is a constant battle to spread yourself around appropriately. Luckily, I have my wife who helps me to stay grounded and focused and does not let me get too far in one direction.
LAFP’s Member of the Month program highlights Louisiana family physicians in LAFP Weekly Family Medicine Update and on the LAFP website. We feature a biography and a Q&A with a different LAFP member each month and his or her unique approach to family medicine. If you know an outstanding family physician colleague who you think should be featured as a Member of the Month or if you’d like to tell your own story, nominate yourself or your colleague by contacting by contacting Paige Simmons via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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