Tuesday, November 3, 2009

AAHPM October Board Meeting Review

A few weeks have passed since I went to the Fall board meeting for the AAHPM and I wanted to report back to everyone.  I don't think this has ever been done from an insiders perspective and when I thought of running to be on the board, frankly I wasn't quite sure what actually being on the board entailed.  So this is my attempt to pull the curtain back and invite Pallimed readers in on the process.  For the official report on board actions you can check out your AAHPM e-news from November 1 in your email inbox.

First off, thank you very much to the few people who emailed me with comments and questions to bring up during the board meeting.  Most of the questions given to me before the meeting were about a getting feedback on salary/workload issues for physicians in palliative care, hospice or a hybrid position.  I will say the board approved part of the budget to support to get a professionally administered survey done and published before the end of 2010, so this information should be coming very soon.  BUT ONLY IF YOU FILL OUT THE SURVEY!

Interestingly, 'palliative medicine salary' or some similar phrasing is often in the top 10 searches that land on Pallimed, even though we do not have a ton of information here about it.  Many will recall a recent attempt (2007?/2008?) to get salary information via standardized MGMA survey, but so few were turned in that the information was not credible.  One big factor was the complexity of filling out a non-customized survey that did not accurately reflect variations in palliative care/hospice job responsibilities.  The only other publicly available salary report I am aware of is from Tim Cousounis from DAI Palliative Care Group was offering several months ago.

The meeting was a lot of business mixed in with a little bit of creativity and some thought provoking discussions.  Instead of meeting in a traditional location, the Board held it's Thursday evening session at a Cooking School.   The first part of the evening was focused on looking at emerging trends for our field and society.  This 'generative' session provided a good foundation for interesting discussions about social media, trust in media, government and organizations/medical societies.  For me it was especially fun since I was able to present on social media to the group.  I have posted my presentation to Slideshare if you are interested in my thoughts on this digital revolution.  (I plan on posting more here about themes from that presentation in the next few weeks here.)

While the Viking Cooking School was not your typical place for a board meeting I do think the presentations followed by a team building exercise and enough time for informal discussion led to a more productive next day which was much more focused on the important strategic business decisions for the Academy.  Overall I thought it was a good environment for the members of the board and executive committee get to know each other outside of 'motions to approve' and 'I second' types of conversation.  It was a real treat to talk to many smart and accomplished leaders in our field and I had some very interesting discussions about the past and future of our field and some of the political issues in health care today.

The next day the Board Members met at the AAHPM offices and the large focus was discussing budgetary issues.  I have to say I am very impressed with the financial foundation the AAHPM has at this time.  Sound investment strategies and strong growth in membership has allowed the Academy to maintain a good balance when other medical associations are having difficulties.  The reserves have grown steadily and should provide a solid cushion for many years to come regardless of the environment of the financial markets.

The funniest part of the trip was when my 3.5 year old son ate a dog treat at Steve Smith's house (AAHPM CEO).  He lives less than a mile from where my Aunt lives and where we were staying during the trip.  Small world.

Overall my first 6 months on the board have taught me the many responsibilities of the AAHPM staff and board of directors.  There are so many activities the Academy participates in through a wonderful group of member volunteers.  It has really been revealing to see all the successful programs and see the board is really there for oversight and not to control the outcomes.  The Academy President, Gail Cooney, would always remind us what was board level oversight and what could be sent back to the various task forces and committees for further refinement.  The board really responded well to this which allowed us not to get lost in details best left to those working on the projects. 

If you have more questions about what the board does or issues that you think should be raised I would be happy to chat with you. (ctsinclair@gmail.com)  If you are not already involved with a task force, SIG or a committee I would love to point you to one that suits your interests.

I am really looking forward to the next 2.5 years of service and hoping that someday some Pallimed readers will join me on the board.  Maybe we should nominate Drew next year?  Or Lyle?

Also congratulations to the new board members:
John Manfredonia, DO FACOFP FAAHPM
Christine Ritchie, MD MSPH FACP

and our new executives:
President-Elect: Ron Crossno, MD CMD FAAFP FAAHPM
Treasurer: Tim Quill, MD FAAHPM
Secretary: Kate Faulkner, MD FAAHPM

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