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:

NO WAY. NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.

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.

Thanks

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.

What Does A Convenient Store And A Medical Practice Have In Common? 

The answer is, Cost Accounting.

Cost accounting is one of those topics that you either find fascinating (this makes you an accountant) or find it as boring as watching reruns on C-Span.

If you belong to the latter group, don’t worry. I got you covered.

Using a convenient store as the backdrop for the narrative, my friend Paul shares in the video below, the fundamental business principle of cost accounting and how independent pediatric practices can apply these principles.

The video is only 5-minutes long. But the lesson will stay with you for a lifetime.

Enjoy!

 

 


 

About the presenter:

Paul Vanchiere is the co-founder of the Pediatric Practice Management Institute. PMI is a consulting group that specializes in helping pediatric practices in a variety of ways. To check out the variety of services Paul and his team offers, click on the link below.  

Pediatric Practice Management Institute

 

Sharing the Practice Management Love Part 2: Cost

Looking for ways to reduce cost seems like a no brainer. But as practice managers we often get comfortable or maybe even distracted by day to day things. My point is, don’t get comfortable and don’t get distracted. There is always an opportunity to find ways to reduce cost.

Yesterday, I kicked off a series that gives readers a peak at some of the things our practice has been doing in order to stay strong as a practice and more important, as a business.

cutdollarbill1The posts are motivated by seeing a lot of experts online recommending how to do things better, yet never really providing  practical examples of their recommendations. I’m not suggesting medical consultants and experts don’t have good ideas.  I just like to hear practical examples to help me put into perspective how I may implement a suggestion or recommendation in a busy medical practice.

A little disclaimer, I’m not suggesting with this post that I’m an expert either. Just a practice manager trying to run my business a little better.

But I do have practical examples. So here goes my second post in the series, sharing the practice management love.

Looking for ways to Reduce Cost

Lately, it seems I’ve been looking at how much things cost a little more than before. Managing cost is a business principle, but in times like this, cost is even more essential. Consequently, I’ve been more proactive in bringing in vendors and discussing pricing. I’m usually very open about showing how much I pay for supplies, vaccines and things like that. The purpose is to try to get competing vendors to match or beat prices.

Vaccines

One area I spend time on is vaccine cost. Strictly from a business perspective, vaccines are a thorn on my side. If you manage a pediatric practice, you know what I’m talking about. But we have to have vaccines, thus learn how to manage them.

About a year ago, I created a vaccine analysis in Excel that helped me determine how we are doing with our vaccines.  I’ve read before that many pediatric offices lose money on vaccines and others profit from them and for the longest time, I admit I didn’t know which side of the argument I was on.  So I created a vaccine analysis to help me scrutinize cost, reimbursement, profitability and many other things. Furthermore, if there are changes, like price increases, all I have to do is update the file and the sheet will tell me how the adjustments will affect our bottom line.

(I’d be happy to share with you my vaccine analysis if you post a comment on my blog. I have a template in Excel that I modified from another template my friends at http://www.pedsource.com/ posted on their site courtesy of Jerry Freed, D.O., South Tulsa Pediatrics, PLLC. By the way, Pedsource is free to join. I encourage you to go right now and sign up.)

What do I do with the data I generate from the vaccine cost analysis Excel sheet?

I’ve sat down numerous times with GSK, Merck and Sanofi/Pasteur representatives and discussed at length pricing, cost, reimbursement, inventory management and vaccine cost reduction programs (group purchasing, Vaxmax, prompt payment discounts, etc.) available to us.

The vaccine cost analysis helps me know I’m managing our vaccine usage well, but also helps me know I’m getting the lowest possible cost on those expensive vaccines.

Group Purchasing Organizations

In addition to analyzing cost, joining group-purchasing organization is a great way to decrease expenditures. Our practice works with CCPA and Amerinet but there are many out there. GPO’s are a great way to reduce your cost. If you are not part of one, find one. Here are three to get you started:

National Discount Vaccine Alliance
785-273-2044
www.nationalvaccinealliance.com

Atlantic Health Partners
800-741-2044
www.atlantichealthpartners.com

Physician’s Alliance
770-446-9789
www.physall.com

Comfortable & Distracted

Looking for ways to reduce cost seems like a no brainer. But as practice managers we often get comfortable or maybe even distracted by day to day things. My point is, don’t get comfortable and don’t get distracted. There is always an opportunity to find ways to reduce cost.

Of course, these are just a few examples of ways to reduce expenses.  If you have a few moments, share your ideas on how your practice saves money.

Next Post

For my next post, I’m going to be talking about reporting, data analysis and finding ways to  look at our business differently by running reports.