MGMA conference founded upon member input; awards FACMPE success

It takes years of planning — pinpointing the perfect location; reserving the lavish comforts of area exhibit halls and decorated hotels; scanning a vast pool of expertise for speakers who elicit ripples in industry ideologies, who move their colleagues into smoother seas where progress meets practice foremost, like a figurehead on the bow of a ship.

[See also: MGMA research identifies hallmarks of ‘better-performing’ practices]

All this and more melds together to create another annual MGMA-ACMPE association conference, an event that brings practice managers from far and wide to discuss and troubleshoot current healthcare issues with their supervisory peers.  

Ann Vaughn, MSW, chief strategy officer for the MGMA-ACMPE, told PhysBizTech, that this year’s conference — to be held in San Antonio, Texas, from Oct. 21-24 — has required it’s fair share of diligence and even more time.

“There’s a lot of background work; planning for a conference like this takes years," Vaughn said.

[See also: MGMA survey finds smaller practices ahead in administrator compensation rates]

When orchestrating an occasion of such magnitude, the approach must be divvied up into several layers — four, in the case for the 2012 MGMA conference. Firstly, a location must be confirmed and facilities comparable in girth to the event must be booked well in advance. The second step, Vaughn noted, can be the most rewarding and dually trying phase in the whole process: screening and securing commentators via “identifying those topics that are going to resonate with our members and the challenges that they’re facing in the industry.”

“We really listen to our members, what their needs are, what they want,” Vaughn said. “We certainly look into the industry, do a lot of market research, track the trends, and combine all of this together. We have what we call councils, where our members serve as the subject-matter experts and we partner with them to help identify which sessions as well as which speakers are really going to be able to provide the most meaningful information.”

“For those concurrent sessions, the breakout sessions, we have a very robust process by which we ask individuals from the industry to submit abstracts. So our members can submit their abstracts along with other folks. We’re both proactive in asking people to submit and reactive as far as soliciting basically for a call for speakers. And then we have a whole evaluation process by which we evaluate those abstracts based on a framework of content, again that we have partnered with our members or a group of members, to create. There’s a whole vetting process by which those abstracts are evaluated against specific criteria to create the selection process. Then we look at it from a pretty broad perspective — we look at the whole puzzle, if you will, to make sure we’ve covered all of the content.”

The third and fourth components to MGMA-ACMPE event establishment focus specifically on membership/industry community and conversation.

“Working with our vendor partners is big because we want to make sure that our members have access to those individuals who provide products and services in the field. And they have an ability to speak with them — to learn about that technology, to learn how it can help them support their efforts,” Vaughn remarked.

But as important as it is for members to be up-to-date on the latest gadgets and industry trends, it’s equally imperative they be well-informed with each other as well, Vaughn said. To this aim, numerous social and networking opportunities are spliced throughout conferences like the one hosted by MGMA-ACMPE.

“I’ve always found it fascinating that many of our members who work in small to mid-sized practices, 6 to ten physicians, are usually the only one at that administrative level and their partner is a physician. So their also looking for others like them to share information, and this provides that opportunity.”

Tuesday, Oct. 23, marks another complimentary facet to the festivities near and dear to Vaughn’s heart — the ACMPE Day Celebration, where new Fellows of the American College of Medical Practice Executives will be sworn in, and some returning Fellows will be recognized for further accomplishments.

“This day is to celebrate the new Fellows class — we have 58 of them [this year],” she said. “To accomplish Fellowship, you not only have to become a CMPE [Certified Medical Practice Executive]., but you have to write a paper or three case studies and in that vein, you actually make a contribution to the profession. It creates a distinction for you, the highest distinction in the profession, by making that contribution and going through a peer review process.”

“In addition [to awards ceremonies], we have several sessions on ACMPE Day that really celebrate not only certification and how you achieve certification in the industry but it also address what we call our body of knowledge. Our body of knowledge for medical practice management is critical to us at the association and creates a framework for our certification program,” Vaughn concluded.  

Find more information about the 2012 MGMA-ACMPE conference and ACMPE Day Celebration here. [See also: MGMA urges HHS to take immediate action on 5010-related payment delays]

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