By Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA
August 2013—The Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN has come and gone and, unfortunately, for the first time since 2002 I missed it. This is my opportunity to reflect upon the Annual Meeting and what missing it really means. When my family and I decided to take our vacation at this time, we knew that it meant missing the meeting. It just was not possible to justify taking the time off from work for an 18 day vacation and then immediately attend a 4 day meeting. While I know that my department will run just fine without me, I am also afraid that it would run just fine without me.
The Annual Meeting means a lot to me. Over the 12 years that I have been a member of AHRA, I have attended 11 meetings. During this time, I have made many good friends who have been great mentors. The people I have met and the meetings I have attended have helped me to develop my leadership style; both by listening to positive experiences, and by hearing horror stories of installs gone bad. No matter what, there is always someone sharing the same thoughts and feelings.
My first thought when we realized our vacation would interfere with the meeting was, “How will I get my CEUs?” I need to have 36 for my CRA renewal in 2014. My second thought was, “Will I be missed?” My third thought was, “Thank God I’m not missing Vegas.” It took a good two weeks of reflection before we decided that, yes, it would be okay to miss this one meeting. I can get my CEU’s through Radiology Management, and I realized that I already have enough points to renew next year.
This year I missed some great CRA events at the meeting. Kimlyn Queen and AHRA’s Marketing Director Mike Suddendorf gave a presentation, “Make Your CRA Work For You! Tips to Maximize and Leverage Your CRA Credential” that was received very positively and gave current CRAs new tools to walk away from the meeting with. Future CRAs attended the CRA Exam Workshop. Good luck to all of you planning to take the exam this fall! Finally, the CRA reception was held on the Monday night of the meeting, and a large group of CRAs gathered for networking and the annual group photo.
Besides the CRA events, I think what I missed most about going to our Annual Meeting was the camaraderie. I missed the networking, the food and drink, and the great company. I especially missed seeing all my friends who I only see once a year. Even though I can always reach out and call my fellow AHRA members if I need someone to run an idea by, get some advice from, or just vent to. That is one of the great things about AHRA. I may see some of these folks only once a year, but we can always start up right where we left off as if that last time we saw each other was just yesterday.
Ron J. Barak, BS, CRA, FAHRA, MBA is the senior director of imaging services at Mercy Hospital in Miami, FL. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.