Congratulations! You’ve been elected as a local chapter officer … now what?
If you are a first-time local chapter officer, you may not know where to start to make your tenure the best it can be. Let’s shed some light on officer expectations and how to best connect with your local chapter’s educational needs.
Make It Official
The first step is to accept your new position; otherwise, it isn’t official. Once the acceptance has been processed through AAPC’s national office, your officer information will come up when you log into your AAPC member account.
The next step is to think about the purpose of local chapters and the role you now play in your chapter’s success. Local chapters are here to benefit the members they serve. They enable networking, provide access to inexpensive continuing education units (CEUs), and facilitate and proctor AAPC’s certification exams.
Meet Your Chapter’s Needs with a Survey
Before planning an event, ask chapter members what topics they want covered at local chapter meetings. Consider creating a questionnaire through Survey Monkey or Doodle. Both offer a free survey service that can be set up in minutes. Just remember that people are more likely to respond if its relatively short and easy to answer.
When the surveys come back, write a list of topics they are asking for. Use the list to:
- See if there are members willing to speak at a meeting about those topics. Many members will speak, but only when asked;
- Ask your officers if they have contacts who have expertise to present on those subjects; and
- Ask members if they know any local talent who are willing to speak.
When booking topics, be sure to secure a wide range of specialties, so everyone gets education they are seeking. Look at the needs of members with specialty credentials who may be hard-pressed to find inexpensive CEUs. Keep it exciting and fresh with new speakers and topics every year.
Tap into Last Year’s Successes
Take time to learn from the exiting chapter officers; a relaxing dinner meeting is a good way to do this. In any case, get to know one another, discuss duties with incoming officers, and hand off the previous year’s chapter records.
Talk to the exiting officers about ideas that were successful, as well as ideas that were not successful, as well. And get contact information for past speakers who received good reviews — this is invaluable information. For example: At the Toledo, Ohio, local chapter, January is always Medicare month. Our local Medicare representative always packs the house on the night he presents, and asked to put us down for next year. The education officer needs only to follow up with him as the meeting date draws near. Just like that, one meeting is booked!
Think Outside the Box when Finding Local Speakers
When looking for new speakers in your area, look to your physicians — ones that you work for, or even a personal doctor. Successful speakers for Toledo, Ohio, include:
- County Coroner
- Local coding companies
- A hiring manager
- A nurse auditor
- A chapter member into nutrition gave a talk about how the body reacts to a sedentary job. This was paired up with cardio drumming.
- FBI agent
- The Ohio Attorney General office talked about cybersecurity
- Remote coders discussed what it’s like to code remotely
- Compliant Coding Systems’ Doug Palmer, CPC, CRC
- Paul Chandler, BS-HRM, AA-C, CCMH, CCAPM, CCCAR, CCCHI, CCED, CCEM, CCGI, CCGS, CCHON, CCORT, CCOTO, CEMA, CPC, CPC-I, COC, CRC, CPC-P, CPMA, CPCO, CPPM, CPB, CDEO, CANPC, CASCC, CCC, CCVTC, CEDC, CEMC, CENTC, CFPC, CGSC, CGIC, CHONC, CIMC, COBGC, COSC, CPCD, CPEDC, CPRC, CRHC, CSFAC, CUC, leads an amazing Certified Professional Coder (CPC®) review class
In the future, a president of a local college will discuss leadership. The more unique your speakers are, the more variety of education you can provide your chapter members.
Look to AAPC for Traveling Speakers
Another option is to ask officers from other local chapter officers for leads. AAPC representatives will speak at meetings, as well. AAPC CEO Jason Vandenakker graciously presented at one of our Toledo, Ohio meetings. AAPC’s Alex McKinley (AAPC Alex) makes the rounds, too. The national office will supply your chapter with a speaker every three years. Look into it. Booking well-known speakers may take a while to come to fruition, but they’re worth the wait.
The AAPC Chapter Association (AAPCCA) and National Advisory Board members are another great resource for topics and speakers. Every chapter has a board member assigned to them. You can find your board member listed on www.aapc.com when you bring up information about your local chapter. Reach out to them and get to know your representative.
Be Sure You Are Trained by the Best
Officers are required to attend a yearly officer training. Make the live, local meetings, if possible. There is information not only given from the AAPCCA rep, but other officers, as well. It’s a great opportunity to swap success stories and to learn the proper way to run a chapter. Remember: We are all in this together and you are never alone at AAPC.
Always Plan Ahead
What makes a chapter stand out as one of the “great ones?” They plan ahead.
Ideally, you should have the whole year planned by March. This includes meetings, exam dates, and locations. Although you may not have totally secured seminars or review classes, you should have at least talked about them by then.
Consistency also is important. Keep meetings scheduled for the same date and location every month. The Toledo, Ohio, local chapter has held meetings on the second Wednesday of every month at 5:30 pm for many years. Members plan on it.
Robin Moore, CPC, CCMA, is Davis College director of medical coding/medical assisting program and a remote coder for himagine solutions inc. She has served as president, as well as other officer positions, for the Toledo, Ohio, local chapter. This article was also published in the AAPC Healthcare Business Monthly, November 2017 issue.