Is It Worth Being A Member Of The American Academy Of Pediatrics?

I asked a newly graduated pediatrician if she was going to renew her membership with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Her response did not surprise me. She said, “…probably not. I see no point in being a member.”

As far as she was concerned, there wasn’t an upside ( or value ) to belong to the Academy. I knew what she meant because I share her feelings.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 10.48.49 AMRecently I came across an email that challenged my stance regarding the value the American Academy Of Pediatrics provides to pediatricians.

I wanted to share the email just as I read it. Below are the unedited comments from Dr. Suzanne Berman and Dr. Christoph Diasio regarding the meeting.

I had the privilege of attending the 3rd Immunization Congress in Washington DC with some of your favorite SOAPM types: Rich Lander, Geoff Simon, Christoph Diasio, Drew Hertz, Joel Bradley and uber-awesome AAP staffers Lou Terranova and Elizabeth Sobcyzk.

We had an opportunity to describe what works and doesn’t work with pediatric vaccinations, and lessons that can be applied in the adult world (where they do not vaccinate like we do).

Rich Lander spoke eloquently about the need for calling it PAYMENT not REIMBURSEMENT and people listened!

He presented the business case for vaccines. For the whole rest of the time, people would start to say “reimbursement” and then caught themselves and said: I should call it payment! I need to update my slides!

Geoff Simon and Drew Hertz spoke about some of the practical aspects of immunization delivery in large health systems and the implications of alternate payment models in vaccine delivery.

Geoff also talked about the challenges of providing vaccines across state lines (PA/DE).

Joel talked about the need for VFC to turn on 90461 and the need for local Medicaid and VFC programs not to do their little unsupervised strange things.

Suzanne Berman, MD

Dr. Diasio chimed in and added this:

There’s so much the AAP in general, and SOAPM, in particular, does quietly in the background- it is important to share this.

I am sure it will surprise none of you that I was continuing to beat the drum for removing the VFC flu vaccine delivery disparity.

Suzanne is humble- her talk on “the stupid things insurance companies/Medicaid agencies do re: vaccine payment” was terrific and included descriptions of dysfunction that I had never heard!

We touched on 2D barcoding uptake, but this was more related to trying to fix registries and increase communications.

We did discuss trying to create incentives/funding for EMR companies to support barcode readers

Christoph Diasio, MD

I have been particularly vocal about the Academy’s presumably disregard towards the numerous challenges pediatrician face in light of the AAP’s recommendations and children’s advocacy initiatives.

When I read this, the first thought that came to mind was, I think I am misinformed. Then I thought, so are numerous pediatricians, like the newly grad I mentioned.

I then thought to myself, the word needs to get out. Pediatricians need to know what the AAP and committees such as the Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) are doing on behalf of pediatricians, not just children.

Reached out

I immediately emailed Dr. Suzanne Berman and asked her permission to publish her email. I then spoke to Dr. Christoph Diasio – SOAPM Chairperson – and also asked him if I could add his commentary.

They responded with a resounding:


I am kidding, I am kidding. It was the opposite. They replied within minutes saying yes.

Times are indeed tough

I am preaching to the choir when I say that independent pediatricians are facing difficult challenges. However, it is reassuring to know that people are working behind the scenes advocating for children by advocating for those that provide for children.

It is my understanding that highly influential people attended the meeting. There were high ranking AAP representatives as well as influential people from the CDC.


So, not only did I want to inform those that are not fully aware of what type of initiatives their AAP membership dollars go to support, but also wanted to give a big thanks to all that attended the meeting and all those that worked behind the scenes.

Thanks for looking out for us. And keep up the good work.

For the rest of you, go and renew your AAP Membership.

Pediatric Practice Management Seminar You Don’t Want To Miss

The content in many practice management seminars or conferences are either too generic (the one size fits all medical specialty approach) or too specific (subspecialty focused) in my view. As a result, it makes it difficult sometimes to figure out how to apply the lessons from other medical specialties to pediatrics.

If only there was pediatric specific seminar, where everybody in attendance speaks yScreen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.10.07 AMour language (the language called Pediatrics), are aware of my specific challenges and when I receive advice, tips, suggestions or recommendations, it is provided with in the context of pediatrics. Wouldn’t that be great?

Well, our prayers have been answered.

My friends at the Pediatric Management Institute have put together an awesome line-up of speakers (Disclosure: I’m one of the speakers. But I’m not including myself among the awesome ones), presentations and case studies for a one day seminar in the San Francisco/Oakland area that you will not want to miss.

This one day seminar packs a lot of information. Here’s a glimpse of the topics that will be discussed:

  • Coding, The Basics and Beyond
  • Set Your Practice Prices Fairly and Easily
  • Brave New World: Future Pediatric Models
  • Key Performance Indicators for Pediatric Practices
  • Easy Methods to Collect Patient Balances
  • The 5 Legal Issues To Watch Out For In a Pediatric Practice
  • Top 10 Coding Lost Opportunities
  • Five Concepts to Maximize Your Marketing
  • When to Add Another Provider to Your Practice
  • ICD-10, Ready or Not!
  • Patient Recalls
  • Budgeting for a Pediatric Practice

Whether you are an expert in practice management, employed by a large health organization or just starting to learn about how to properly manage a medical office, this seminar offers a valuable learning opportunity.

But wait… there is more!

The PMI team is holding the seminar at the Holiday Inn & Suites Oakland Hotel Airport , which as the name implies, is right next to the Oakland airport. No need to rent a car or arrange for additional transportation. You’ll be right there. Fly in. Attend the seminar. Fly out.

For a PDF on the topics, speakers, location and date (Saturday January 24, 2015)  click on the link: Pediatric Management Institute Seminar

Psst…. one more thing.

If you use the code “PediatricInc” when you register, you will receive $75 off your registration. How cool is that? This offer is exclusive to PediatricInc readers. Now you can bring someone along and save $150.00. If you bring one more person, you’ll save $225.00… it’s like the gift that keeps on giving. 🙂



Thoughts On The AAP NCE 2013 – Orlando

photoIf you follow me on social media, you probably know I was in Orlando at the AAP NCE this past week.

Every year right before the date of the convention, I start to dread going. Leaving town is always hard when you have a million things to do. And since we still have little ones, and I don’t travel often for business, I feel a hint of guilt leaving my wife behind fending for herself.

But once I arrive, the anticipation, excitement, and nervousness starts to settle in. I like the feeling.

The Disney Institute

The highlight of my trip was attending a class lead by the Disney Institute. That class was probably one of the most fascinating classes I have attended this year (I say this year because I go to the Global Leadership Summit and those sessions are hard to beat).

The Disney’s Institute class gives you a behind the scene sneak peak at Disney’s stellar approach to customer service. Part of the class was in the classroom, while the other half was at the Magic Kingdom where we toured parts of the park, including going “back-stage” to see first hand how they manage the operations.

Meaningful & Fulfilling Dialogue

The best part of NCE is the people you meet and see. This year, I met up and chatted with more people than ever before.

Many were old friends, others were strangers that came up to me after my talks, while others became new acquaintances. I even got to meet a couple of long time online-virtual friends IRL, which is always fun.

Topics & Trends

You know that observation that many of us make when we buy a car or a phone and right after, we start to notice all the people around us that also have the same car or phone? Well, I don’t know if that applies to the trends I observed during the conferences, but what I heard over and over were two things:

Patient Engagement & Data

PE is always been an important topic, but this time, it seems there was more emphasis on finding different ways to involve the parents/patients into one’s practice.

Speakers emphasized that PE will not only be important to remain relevant in a tectonic-shifting, healthcare landscape kind of scene, but parents are/will demand it.

And the data discussions had to do with implementing systematic studies that will help physicians/managers establish facts and reach new conclusions on how to work in a pediatric practice more effectively and efficiently.

However, the narrative went beyond the clinical and addressed data analysis in the practice management side of things too in an effort to understand the needs of our parents, thus provide meaningful “engagement.”

Thus, the data, the research and the analysis is fundamentally going to help us with the PE portion of this more prominent trend.

I came away with lots of ideas.

Going to something like the NCE  is expensive, consuming and tiring. But just like vacations or time off is needed to replenish one’s soul, reduce stress, and recover emotional balance, attending AAP’s NCE is a needed activity to replenish our minds and share experiences with other like-minded-people.

Look forward to see you in San Diego next year.

You Can Take Away Our Lives, But You Will Never Take Away Our Freedom

Braveheart_1My co-host on the Pediatric Practice Management AwesomeCast, is working a project that I think many that read this blog will find interesting.  I’ll let you read it directly from Chip’s original post:

Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working with some friends on a concept publication entitled “Independent Pediatrics.” The idea is to share the myriad stories of what it’s like to practice pediatrics independently – the challenges, the success stories, the future.

This will be as commercially agnostic/invisible an endeavor as possible and I’m going to be looking for people and practices with great stories. Kinda’ like “The Moth” or “This American Life” for pediatrics, but printed and WWW-based for this round 🙂

The premise, as far as I’m concerned, is that independent pediatricians are _not_ dead or dying. In fact, if you check in with the consultants, we appear to be in the midst of a renaissance.

I don’t have all the details yet, but we are in a rush to produce something in time for the NCE (what are we thinking?). I’m looking for some particular content and I’m being told that I can’t simply make up quotes, sigh. So, I’ve whipped up a 4? 5? question survey for independent pediatricians and their employees to prime the pump of our material.

If you have 5 minutes, or less, I’d be grateful if you could give me something good to chew on:

Thanks for your consideration and when there is something to see, I’ll share it here.

This is a topic that I’m very interested in, considering that the practice I work for, is in fact, an independent practice. Not only that, we want to remain independent. So I’m encouraged that Chip and his friends are taking on this endeavor.

By the way, in an upcoming episode of the AwesomeCast, Chip and I spend about 55 minutes discussing this issue. I think you are going to find it very interesting and valuable. So stay tuned.

#10 Pediatric Compensation Models [Practice Management VideoCast]

In an amazing feat of timely discussion, Chip cover the topic of compensation models in pediatric practices.

It’s not just about the pay, it’s about the management duties, performance measures, and dissatisfaction that many practices feel with their present methods of paying themselves.

We reference many real-life examples and data from a survey of 100s of pediatricians.

Chip will be covering this topic at the PCC 2013 UC and it has been submitted as a topic for presentation at the 2014 NCE with co-host Susanne Madden of The Verden Group.

During the discussion, I references a book entitled, “Physician Compensation Plans” published by the MGMA that you may want to look into if you are looking for ideas or examples of how practices compensate physicians.

As always, you can find our discussions in many ways:

1. Google+ Community

2. Pediatric Practice Management Mediacast PodCast

3. iTunes

AAP NCE: Top Secrets from a Pediatric Practice Manager

There is no doubt that our medical practices are getting more complex. In addition to managing patients, insurance, billing, collections, EMRs, EOBs, and statements, just to name a few, we also have to ensure we remain profitable.

So how does one stay on top of all these things without losing sight of our objectives? How do we continue to manage our day-to-day tasks while implementing ICD-10? How do we ensure that our of patients are immunized while going from paper charts to electronic charts?

Next week, at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention and Exhibition held in New Orleans, I will be presenting on a few concepts that will help us, as leaders of our practice, manage complex transitions, like ICD-10 or EMRs implementations, while still ensuring our practices are managed efficiently, effectively and profitably.

I’ll be talking about how we sometimes put too much emphasis on the urgent, the easily measurable,  and the immediate as opposed to the more important things like, for example, building cohesive teams.

I’ll give you this little teaser…

Think about Fortune 500 companies. These organizations have the best MBAs money can buy. These companies are staffed with Ivy League trained employees. Yet many of them fail terribly  at managing transitions. Is it because they are dumb? Is it because they don’t know how to follow a GANTT chart?

Come by my presentation and I’ll tell you why most companies, including medical practices, fail miserably at managing transitions.

The title of the presentation is Top Secrets from a Pediatrics Practice Manager – Managing Transitions While Maintaining and Efficient Practice.

I’ve requested for the doors to be bolted down considering this is Top Secret material. So you will not want to be late if you are planning on attending.

Just kidding of course, but I would appreciate it very much of you would consider attending the sessions. My top secret session will be held on Friday Oct 19th at 10:00 am.

Below is the 2012 Practice Management NCE flyer developed to highlight SOAPM & PPMA sessions (SOAPM and PPMA is code for cool, innovative and progressive practice management stuff) and to serve as a sample itinerary for members interested in attending practice management related programs.

Click on the link to download the flyer.

If you are a faithful reader of this blog, please stop me and say hi. I’d love to meet you.

Why You Will Not Want To Miss the AAP’s NCE This Year

As many of you know, The American Academy of Pediatrics National Convention and Exhibition will be held in New Orleans this year.

This year, I have the honor of presenting. I’ll be speaking at the Pediatric Practice Managers Alliance Program scheduled on Friday October 19th as well as at the Joint Program: Section on Administration & Practice Management (H1020) and Section of Young Physicians on Saturday October 20th.

For the PPMA session, I’m going to be focusing on how to manage transitions while maintaining an efficient practice. I’ll be talking about how to create cohesive teams, sharing project management tools as well as a few other surprises.

For the joint program, I’ll be speaking along side Dr. John Moore. We will be talking about social media which will be super interesting. I don’t think you will want to miss it.

Below is the 2012 Practice Management NCE flyer developed to highlight SOAPM & PPMA sessions (SOAPM and PPMA is code for cool, innovative and progressive practice management stuff) and to serve as a sample itinerary for members interested in attending practice management related programs.

Click on the link to download the flyer.

Hope to see you all there.