By Bruce Hammond, CRA, CFAAMA, CNMT
September 2013—If you were not at the 2013 AHRA Annual Meeting you missed, without a doubt, one of the best annual meetings in a very long time. Now, considering that all of the AHRA Annual Meetings are very good, this one had to be exceptional to top the previous ones.
There were several new presentation choices this year including additional vendor symposia and a new one day Physician Leadership Track. With the collaborative efforts of Regents Health Resources, CSI Coding, and AHRA, the Physician Track was fantastic. As I wrote in Convention Daily, this track should continue and is a format to consider for other tracks. The balance of the meeting was just as good. The Design Team, under the leadership of Bill Johnson, selected speakers whose topics had relevance to attendees, and many were of a broad enough nature that they were beneficial even to those outside of radiology administration.
As Radiology Administrator Certification Commission (RACC) members, four other commissioners and I had a unique perspective at this meeting. The RACC Commissioners attend the annual meeting not only as attendees but also as exhibitors. The time requirements are more than just a little different for us. We arrived early to have a meeting on Saturday evening, and then make sure the booth and booth materials were set up, and that we had everything we needed. Truthfully, it is not much of a worry because at the AHRA office we have the best association staff anywhere, and the RACC has a secret weapon in CRA Coordinator Kathryn Keeler! The early arrival gave us an opportunity to install the booth, and then attend Sunday’s activities, including a presentation on Sunday afternoon with AHRA’s Marketing Director, Mike Suddendorf and RACC Chair, Kimlyn Queen on how to leverage the value of your CRA.
Being an Annual Meeting vendor means we have booth duty for the three hours every day the exhibit hall is open. This year we had certificates for discounts on the CRA exam cost. The number of people requesting them was encouraging. We also had plenty of literature, study materials, and some swag, so there were many reasons to stop by and visit with the RACC.
In addition to the Sunday session on the CRA credential, your RACC Commissioners were very active at the meeting. Both Kimlyn Queen and I are on the Radiology Management Editorial Review Board and were present for a meeting of that group. Kimlyn presented on Sunday; I was on a panel presentation on Monday and presented a 90 minute session on finance Tuesday afternoon; and Mark Steffen also presented at the meeting this year, speaking in two sessions on budgeting. The commissioners hosted the CRA reception on Monday evening where Mark Steffen arranged for a game of Bingo with prizes awarded, and Kimlyn recognized the newest CRAs. Following the reception, the annual CRA photo was taken These have been taken every year for as long as I can remember. If you weren’t there to be a part of it, make sure you are in next year’s.
It seems that the Annual Meeting is the time for fellowship and Fellow status. Over the past several years at least one RACC Commissioner has earned Fellow status at each annual meeting. This year Jacqui Rose received it. Jacqui joins Kimlyn, Rick Perez, Ron Barak, and Mark as AHRA Fellows, which just leaves me to get the work done and reported. I have assured the others that I will have my application in on time for 2014.
The one thing that is as good as the sessions and the exhibits is the real fellowship and networking that occurs. Old friendships are renewed, new friendships are made, and the exchange of information in the hallways, break areas, stairways, and coffee bars is less formal but no less informative.
The Minneapolis meeting is one I will remember for a long time, and I have already been using some of the takeaways I learned there Kudos to Bill Johnson and the design team; they raised the bar very high. When your administration asks for justification for your attendance at this meeting you should be able to explain the value just by showing them the schedule of sessions. At this point there are two things I am grateful for: one, that I could attend this meeting; and two, that I am not on the design team for 2014 because they have their work cut out for them. Good thing they have 11 more months.
Make your plans now, save your PTO, education time, and cash; let’s meet up in Washington DC at the 2014 AHRA Annual Meeting at the Gaylord National.
Bruce Hammond, CRA, CFAAMA, CNMT is the President and CEO of Diagnostic Health Services in Addison, TX. He can be reached at email@example.com.