Who we are.

The Physicians Research Institute (PRI) was established in 2016 as a not for profit organization under §501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. It was physician directed then and is physician directed now.

From the beginning, the goal of PRI has been to provide direct assistance as well as carefully researched information to State Medical Societies. In most cases, the PRI direct assistance and information was helpful in either supporting or opposing legislative and regulatory proposals in a particular state.

Currently, PRI provides detailed and otherwise unavailable information with respect to workers’ compensation, a technology to deactivate opioids and vaping as a harm reduction method with respect to tobacco dependence. A good example of PRI’s diligence with respect to any subject is its focus on workers’ compensation.

In 2016, PRI began researching the workers’ compensation “reforms” that were being proposed in almost every state by the insurance industry and which took the form of depriving physicians of autonomy in treating their workers’ compensation patients. As it turned out, the so-called “reforms” were being justified by reference to studies issued by groups such as the Workers’ Compensation Research Institute (WCRI) and similar organizations. The problem was that the “studies” were not in fact correct.

Insurance Funded Research

One of the principal threats to physician autonomy comes from the current activities of workers’ compensation insurers in restricting the therapy that a doctor can offer to an injured worker or limiting the medicines that a doctor may dispense from his or her office.

Independent Analysis

Truly independent groups in examining the workers’ compensation system have reached the same conclusions as PRI.

Meet Our Leadership.

Gene Ransom

The Board Chair of PRI

Gene is the CEO of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society, which was chartered by the General Assembly of Maryland in 1799 and represents the physicians of Maryland, their patients and the public health.

Gene’s career has been marked by a commitment to public service. From 2002 to 2010 he was one of five elected Commissioners for Queen Anne’s County Maryland which is located approximately 10 miles from Annapolis, the state capital, and is bordered by Maryland’s iconic Chesapeake Bay. As a Commissioner, he was instrumental in securing passage of controversial growth management and environmental protection laws which were opposed by developers but critical in protecting the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

His commitment to public and community service is long-standing and currently includes being a board member of the Center for Healthy Maryland and being a director for the Medical Mutual Liability insurance Company of Maryland which was the first professional liability insurer owned by physicians in the United States. Med Mutual was created in the 1970s when malpractice insurers were declining to underwrite physician practices.
Since 2013 he has served in various advisory roles to Maryland’s Health Service Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). The HSCRC sets hospital rates in Maryland which are honored by Medicare, Medicaid and all insurers. Maryland is the only state to have such a system.

He also serves as a member of the Maryland General Assembly Compensation Commission, and was on the Board of the Boy Scouts of America, Baltimore Area Council.

Gene and his wife Nicole live with their two children in Queenstown, Maryland on Maryland’s historic Eastern Shore.

Donald J. Palmisano, Jr.

Donald J. Palmisano, Jr., J.D., CAE is the chief executive officer for the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy representing 15,000 gastroenterologists. Mr. Palmisano previously served as the Executive Director of the Medical Association of Georgia (MAG), after serving as general counsel and leading the organization’s advocacy efforts. From 1999-2005, Mr. Palmisano was a private practice attorney representing physicians, hospitals and nursing homes in litigation., He is the current chair of the ASAE Business Solutions, Inc. and past president of the American Association of Medical Society Executives (AAMSE). He holds a law degree from Loyola University in New Orleans, LA and is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Louisiana State Bar Association.

Richele Taylor

Richele Taylor is the CEO and Chief Legal Officer of the South Carolina Medical Association and Fulcrum Risk Solutions, two organizations committed to representing and supporting the voice of physicians. She also serves as legal counsel for the Members’ Insurance Trust (MIT), a health care MEWA sponsored by the SCMA to provide health insurance for physician practices. Previously she served as the SCMA’s General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Communication. Richele has a background in legislative policy. She served as Chief Legal Counsel to Governors Henry McMaster and Nikki Haley after serving as the Director of the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) under Governor Nikki Haley. Before working in the policy arena, Richele spent most of her legal career at the national employment law firm of Fisher & Phillips LLP where she provided employers day-today advice and litigation support concerning a variety of employment issues.

Richele serves on the Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) Board, the South Carolina Access for Justice Commission and Executive Board, and the State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee. Richele graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law where she was a Dean’s List recipient and editor on The South Carolina Law Review.

Sheila Bush

Sheila Bush has been a member of the Wyoming Medical Society staff for more than 17 years, 13 of which she has served in the capacity of executive director. In addition to her responsibilities in management, education and advocacy for the state medical society, Bush serves as administrator and advocate for a multitude of physician specialty organizations including the Wyoming Chapters of the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Psychiatric Association, America Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Prior to joining the WMS team, Sheila completed her post-secondary education at the University of Wyoming where she earned degrees in classical piano performance, English, philosophy and criminal justice. Her broad background in the liberal and performing arts pulls her to dedicate much of her free time to community organizations benefiting the cultural and performing arts.

One of the volunteer service areas of which Sheila is most proud is her more than decade long service to the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra where she will complete her term as Board President in 2021. Sheila’s other volunteer service includes the Wyoming Health Resources Network, Wyoming Society of Association Executives past board chairman, the Wyoming Health Information Exchange (WYFI) Executive Committee, and the University of Wyoming ~ WWAMI Advisory Council.

Sheila and her husband, David, live in Cheyenne where they enjoy downhill skiing, camping, hiking, traveling together and raising their two young sons, Benjamin and Ryan.

Joseph (Jay) A. Schwartz, III

President of PRI

Jay was the founding partner of Schwartz, Metz, Wise & Kauffman, P.A. and served as MedChi’s principal lobbyist from 1993 until his retirement from the Firm in 2015. Jay remains Of Counsel to the firm.

Jay is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he earned both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. He received a law degree from the University of Virginia and has practiced law in Maryland since 1973.

Jay has been consistently recognized in the Maryland legal community. He has been selected by his peers for recognition as one of the Best Lawyers in America®; the publication Corporate Counsel listed him as one of America’s top lawyers; and he was recently recognized as a Top Rated Lawyer in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal.

Jay and his wife, Laura, believe in the transformative power of education and have endowed scholarships at the collegiate and secondary school level. Their most recent endowment was to Mother Seton Academy, a tuition free middle school in Baltimore where all students come from economically challenged families (www.mothersetonacademy.org).

Jay and Laura live in Towson, Maryland.

Become a member.

See how medical professionals and societies can join the conversation.