By Michael Tetreault, Editor, The Direct Primary Care Journal (DPC Journal)
SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 – In a recent interview between The Direct Primary Care Journal (DPC Journal) and The American Academy of Private Physicians (AAPP), President, Dr. Matthew Priddy stated that the industry’s association is focusing on five key areas. Those include: legal compliance for doctors, innovative learning tracks at national meetings, physician networking, legislative and lobbying initiatives and staying up to date on new and emerging technologies.
“Within the last year, the AAPP has pivoted its focus in an effort to provide value to all physicians who have a direct financial relationship with their patients,” said Priddy. “We’re working hard to create an environment that fosters networking opportunities for our members. We want all conference [October 10-11, 2014 in Miami, FL] participants to walk away from this two-day event with hard answers to the big questions in DPC and Private Medicine.”
MIAMI, Oct. 2014: “AAPP will endorse standards of care and compliance credentialing …”
The American Academy of Private Physicians (or AAPP), announced in late August its very own medical practice certification for the private medical industry to be available and launched at its Fall Summit in Miami, Florida on October 10-11, 2014.
The AAPP also has a new Executive Director at the helm, providing additional direction and engagement with association members.
Michael Chesser, AAPP’s new Executive Director of the AAPP tells DPC Journal, “I feel it is very important to continue to develop new and innovative ways to help maintain AAPP’s position as the national non-profit organization founded to represent and support physicians and patients as we explore solutions to our changing health care system. I have worked with professional trade associations and societies and I have been fortunate to guide board of directors, lead multiple types of committee structures through the development of creative and balanced strategic work plans. Each work plan specifically identifying long range and short-term strategies designed to protect, promote and grow the organizations, as well as their affiliated industry.”
Throughout a career, physicians are continually faced with recurring questions related to medical associations: Which associations should I join, and which should I retain membership in? And how do you decide which associations to pass on altogether? Simply type in the words ‘medical association’ and 150,000,000 plus results are found on Google alone.
Most doctors join medical societies and associations for what they can get, not for what they can contribute. Often the decision is influenced by a medical association’s position on hot-button political issues, such as healthcare reform. Many medical associations’ benefits are similar: access to discounts on medical devices; discounts on malpractice insurance; CME credit courses and webinars; hands-on help in choosing an EMR/EHR; participation at national or regional events and conferences; and advocacy for issues affecting members. It’s the last benefit where the differences in associations can reveal themselves.
“I am excited to be collaboratively working with this tremendous group of volunteers to create new membership value in AAPP,” adds Chesser. “I believe that we are already on our way, creating and identifying areas for positive change with new value for our membership. With impending announcement like AAPP’s endorsing standards of care and compliance credentialing for physicians and/or practices; the development of a new educational agenda and program tracks for the AAPP’s conferences; new web design roll out; member forums; organic blog posts and new member benefits programs designed to help cut practice costs on products and services. These are all important actions that are taking place that physicians will see yet this year that will show an increased value in membership, positive brand awareness and AAPP’s overall growth.”
“The most palpable change in the AAPP for me,” says Dr. Pamila Brar, AAPP Board Member, “has been the shift from a group with multiple loud voices (often with personal agendas) to a more compliance-minded, content guided organization. Of all of the professional organizations that I belong to, the AAPP has always provided me the most practical benefit. Now the value proposition has expanded from one that was primarily network-building to now offering education about compliance [HIPAA, business],marketing and more. Great efforts have been made to improve transparency in our practices and strengthen our institutional foundation.”
“There are five main focuses of our organization now,” adds Priddy. “There are certainly many other small things that we’re trying to change, but this gives you a pretty good idea of where we’re trying to go.”
- Compliance: We acknowledge that regardless of the model, there are a myriad of legal compliance issues that Private Medicine and DPC docs face. Keeping up to date on changes in both state and federal laws is extremely important, but can be expensive and difficult. There is a lack of knowledge among most law firms when it comes to this area of health practice. The AAPP wants to serve as a clearing house for knowledge about legal compliance. Our conferences are designed to allow our members to finish the weekend with a checklist of items that need to be accomplished in order to become or remain compliant. The need cuts across practice models from Direct Primary care to Concierge practices. (LEARN MORE ABOUT AAPP in MIAMI, Oct 10-11, 2014)
- Legislative and Lobbying Updates: We are committed to keeping our members updated on what is going on in Washington with respect to Private medicine. Our longer term focus is to coordinate various smaller group’s messages so that all of private medicine is speaking with one voice to our Nation’s lawmakers.
- Emerging Technology: This is another area that is crucial to our members regardless of their chosen practice model. Exposing our members to the newest mobile medical apps, the newest medical hardware for primary care, and the most cost effective and user-friendly EMR’s is one of our major focuses moving forward. This is increasingly important for our members as technology innovation occurs so rapidly. Highlighting these new innovators and their innovations at our conferences and on our website is a major focus for the AAPP now.
- Different Learning Tracks at National Meetings: This is a big issue. In the past, the AAPP was mainly focused on helping doctors convert over to the Private medicine model. This remains one of the things that we do, but we have added specific tracks at our conferences for Direct Primary Care as well as Private Medicine Physicians who have been in practice for several years. We realize that the concerns of a physician who is trying to grow and manage his established practice are very different than someone who is just contemplating the move or has just started. We have brought in speakers and focused agendas on the concerns of these specific groups to drive more value for their membership and conference attendance.
- Networking: This is the last major focus change that we have instituted. We are committed to making sure that our physicians have the opportunity to interact, network, and learn from each other at our meetings. Time is set aside specifically to facilitate this interaction and to allow docs to adopt best business practices from physicians all over the country.
“The AAPP has become more inclusive of the range of business models, including DPC,” adds Brar.
“There is no better time than a major issue campaign to increase the number of people in an association or professional society,” says Catherine Sykes, Managing Director of The DPC Journal and Publisher of DPC Journal. “If properly managed, associations will use a new issue campaign as an opportunity to expand their sources of information and the number of people involved in that aspect of the work. Most organizations focus on building a membership network and often underestimate the need to build the value of their own organizations while struggling to win on public issues. As in the case of the corn farmer from Iowa, ‘if you build it, they will come.’”
“At the upcoming AAPP conference,” says James J. Eischen, Jr., attorney and Partner at Higgs Fletcher & Mack in San Diego, CA. “We will hand out a legal compliance toolkit for AAPP conference attendees to provide a comprehensive outline of private medicine compliance issues. Finally, we are facilitating and encouraging more direct interaction between various private medicine constituents. Rather than filling each conference day with talk after talk, we want physicians to confer with their colleagues regarding the day-to-day challenges of practice growth, amenities, financial planning, and running a small business (or a larger business). And we want physicians to be able to speak directly with healthcare tech vendors to engage in useful discussions on the software or device products physicians need, and what is available. Our conference technology forum is designed with that in mind. So we’re excited to roll out the new AAPP conference model.”
“This is just the beginning and there are a number of tremendous opportunities ahead for AAPP and our membership,” said Chesser.