NOTES ON PEOPLE
Elected president of N.J. Medical Society
PARSIPPANY, N.J. - Ukrainian American Mark Olesnicky was recently elected president of the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) for the 2003-2004 term, according to the Star Ledger. The MSNJ is the state's largest organization for doctors, with approximately 8,500 of the 22,000 physicians in the state belonging to the group.
Dr. Olesnicky, 60, has set several goals for his term as president of the MSNJ, among which is increasing MSNJ membership. While the MSNJ currently enrolls nearly 40 percent of the state's doctors, Dr. Olesnicky hopes to see this number rise to 70 percent.
Also a foremost objective for Dr. Olesnicky's term is the achievement of tort reform, meaning a change in the rules of malpractice lawsuits against doctors. In May Dr. Olesnicky headed a protest in Trenton, seeking to convince the New Jersey state Senate to pass a bill limiting monetary awards for pain and suffering in malpractice lawsuits to $300,000.
As Dr. Olesnicky said in an interview with the magazine New Jersey Medicine, "Jackpot justice has no place in this." He also commented, according to The Star Ledger (May 30), "I want to see the day when physicians can really practice medicine without fear of huge lawsuits looming overhead. If they don't have to practice defensive medicine, they can spend more time with patients."
Another priority on Dr. Olesnicky's agenda is to reform the system of managed care so that doctors regain a measure of autonomy. In the interview with New Jersey Medicine - which featured his photograph on the cover of its May issue - Dr. Olesnicky was asked about problems that doctors deal with daily, and he responded, "Practicing medicine unencumbered is number one. Every day we speak with physicians about the hassles that are imposed on them, either by regulatory bodies or insurance companies or laboratories. We are burdened with administrative issues. We cannot even give medications that we want to give, if they are not covered by a health plan. We have to substitute other medications. The physicians feel that their turf has not only been invaded, but, basically, has been taken over. We are made to feel like the employees of health plans."
The MSNJ, led by Dr. Olesnicky, is also involved in a class action lawsuit seeking injunctive relief from, as Dr. Olesnicky said in the New Jersey Medicine interview, "the various pre-certifications required, the limited choice of medications, access to reliable care in the hospital, and termination of benefits."
Dr. Olesnicky - who was honored on May 2 as the 211th president of the Medical Society of New Jersey during a special evening at The Ritz-Carlton in Philadelphia - took a somewhat circuitous route to get to where he is today.
He was born in Lviv, Ukraine, in 1942, but, as The Star Ledger reports, the war forced his family to leave Ukraine and move to Austria. There, his father worked first as a doctor in Austrian villages and later in international relief organization hospitals. When Dr. Olesnicky was 7 years old, his family moved to the United States and made a home in Newark, N.J.
Dr. Olesnicky, whose father was a doctor and whose mother was a pharmacist, also decided to enter the medical field, majoring in pre-medical studies at Seton Hall University. He then graduated from medical school at the University of Innsbruck in Austria.
He returned to the United States, becoming an internal medicine specialist at St. Barnabas Medical Center. When his father passed away, Dr. Olesnicky assumed control of his father's medical practice in Irvington, N.J., which he has since moved to Florham Park, N.J.
According to New Jersey Medicine, prior to his election as president of the MSNJ, Dr. Olesnicky served as president of the Essex County medical society, president of the St. Barnabas medical staff, a delegate to the MSNJ House of Delegates, and vice-chair of the American Medical Association (AMA) delegation. He has also served on the Council on Communications and the Committee on Finance and Budget.
Most recently, on April 24, he was a keynote speaker (on the topic of "Water and Disease") at the 12th International Conference on Health and Environment: Global Partners for Global Solutions, sponsored at the United Nations by World Information Transfer Inc., with the co-sponsorship of the government of Ukraine.
Dr. Olesnicky is known also for his involvement in charitable work, such as bringing children in need of specialized medical care from Ukraine to the United States. Two recent cases included a boy with a cleft palate and another with a heart defect.
Dr. Olesnicky is married to Dr. Milla Olesnicky, a pathologist. The couple have three children: Bohdan, an internist and emergency physician; Natalia, who is studying medicine at St. Georges University Medical School; and Genia, a doctoral student in molecular genetics at New York University.
Dr. Olesnicky is a member of Ukrainian National Association Branch 27.
Notes on people is a feature geared toward reporting on the achievements of members of the Ukrainian National Association. All submissions should be concise due to space limitations and must include the person's UNA branch number. Items will be published as soon as possible after their receipt, when space permits.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, June 22, 2003, No. 25, Vol. LXXI
| Home Page |