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  • Academy / College / Local Society Dues

    I've been a little disillusioned of late with my specialty's academy as well as my subspecialty's college

    As I progress in my career, I'm at the point where I've built a fairly substantial patient base via referrals. It is rare that someone looks me up online via a website and just strolls into my office.

    Is there any reason to continue paying the exorbitant dues annually? (These dues are all reimbursed by my hospital so it isn't a money issue but rather just an issue of necessity. If these groups aren't working towards something that I believe is beneficial to me, why bother continuing to contribute to them? Just for an additional 4 letters after my title that 99% of my patients don't understand?)

    I don't have any beef with my local medical society but the same question arises now that they've come asking for the annual dues. I'm almost certain no one goes to the local medical society website to look me up and book an appointment.

    Has anyone felt similarly and how did you handle it?

  • #2
    I have to choose among D.O./general, local/state/national, and among IM, pulm, crit care, and pulm/crit combined colleges/societies. I have no interest in the advocacy groups or in any D.O. group. I don't mind ATS and SCCM, and their publications are strong, but I don't want to spread too thin, so I generally stick to ACP and ACCP. Being in my last year of fellowship I still try to present at conferences.

    I definitely get what you're saying. I want to become a fellow of both colleges since I still have a lot to do in my career and still don't know every direction I want to take, and it's a good networking and CV bullet. But I definitely think "what do you do for me?" when I get the envelopes in the mail.

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    • #3
      Arguably no one has every come to you in a financially meaningful way because of that. Patients dont know about, care about, or let alone understand these things. They will be most impressed if they recognize your medical school as being associated with a prominent undergrad. After that its you selling them you, thats it.

      Boards and the colleges, etc...thats for other doctors only. Then again if almost everyone does it whats the big differentiation anyway? I hate these things and the power they wield over our lives when they have literally just pushed their way into the process, for only their own benefit.

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      • #4
        .
        Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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        • #5
          I completely see where you're coming from.  Associations/societies are poor at describing why they are important.  Journals on esoteric research?  Junk mail for life insurance?  Reduced fees for unnecessary, overpriced CME?  I'll pass on all of that.

          However, there is something to be said for advocacy and representation.  As they say, if you're not at the table, you're on the menu.  I have been involved with advocacy for over a decade.  When I am visiting legislators, I want as many docs on my roster as possible, because I point out to the legislator that I'm going to get his/her message back to the X number of docs that I'm representing--there is definitely power in numbers.  As a member, having doctors at the table has helped immensely with issues of clinical practice for me and my patients (you wouldn't believe some of the things that legislators want to do) and has likely saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars over my career (fair payment/balance billing issues, liability insurance premiums, improved flow/patient throughput); this isn't even counting all the SGR patches that we had (which likely would have occurred anyway) prior to the fix.  It seems that every year there is more bureaucratic BS that we need to deal with--but it would be much worse if doctors weren't at the table.  (One quick example to highlight, in my state it would have been a felony to not run a PMP before prescribing a narcotic (never mind that pharmacy or our computers seem to go down with every full moon); yeah, I could sell the drugs on a street corner and commit a lesser offense.)

          Now, all of that said, while I'm a member of the county and state affiliates, I have refused to join the national AMA.  I will spare you the reasoning, but acknowledge it is a double standard.  I'll let my specialty society represent me on the national level.

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          • #6




            I completely see where you’re coming from.  Associations/societies are poor at describing why they are important.  Journals on esoteric research?  Junk mail for life insurance?  Reduced fees for unnecessary, overpriced CME?  I’ll pass on all of that.

            However, there is something to be said for advocacy and representation.  As they say, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.  I have been involved with advocacy for over a decade.  When I am visiting legislators, I want as many docs on my roster as possible, because I point out to the legislator that I’m going to get his/her message back to the X number of docs that I’m representing–there is definitely power in numbers.  As a member, having doctors at the table has helped immensely with issues of clinical practice for me and my patients (you wouldn’t believe some of the things that legislators want to do) and has likely saved me hundreds of thousands of dollars over my career (fair payment/balance billing issues, liability insurance premiums, improved flow/patient throughput); this isn’t even counting all the SGR patches that we had (which likely would have occurred anyway) prior to the fix.  It seems that every year there is more bureaucratic BS that we need to deal with–but it would be much worse if doctors weren’t at the table.  (One quick example to highlight, in my state it would have been a felony to not run a PMP before prescribing a narcotic (never mind that pharmacy or our computers seem to go down with every full moon); yeah, I could sell the drugs on a street corner and commit a lesser offense.)

            Now, all of that said, while I’m a member of the county and state affiliates, I have refused to join the national AMA.  I will spare you the reasoning, but acknowledge it is a double standard.  I’ll let me specialty society represent me on the national level.
            Click to expand...


            The problems with this are as you state, many of the big groups dont actually advocate for us, that would be nice. AMA only cares about CPT/ICDs since thats where they draw their money from primarily.

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            • #7
              I think everyone should question what benefit they get from joining these organizations.  I am not in the AMA.  I recently joined my states medical society in order to buy health insurance.  The insurance is crappy so I will resign and but a small business BCBS next year.  I still belong to my speciality society (ACOG) but I question it more and more.

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              • #8




                I recently joined my states medical society in order to buy health insurance.  The insurance is crappy so I will resign and but a small business BCBS next year.
                Click to expand...


                Given that we are in about the same age, would you mind sharing what individual coverage costs you? I have an HSA and pay $860/mo, up almost 100% from 5 or 6 years ago. Kentucky was the test state for Hillary care and we often point to that, but I wonder if other females who have to purchase individual coverage in other states have similar rates.
                Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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                • #9







                  I recently joined my states medical society in order to buy health insurance.  The insurance is crappy so I will resign and but a small business BCBS next year.
                  Click to expand…


                  Given that we are in about the same age, would you mind sharing what individual coverage costs you? I have an HSA and pay $860/mo, up almost 100% from 5 or 6 years ago. Kentucky was the test state for Hillary care and we often point to that, but I wonder if other females who have to purchase individual coverage in other states have similar rates.
                  Click to expand...


                  Mine is not strictly individual coverage because i also cover some employees.  My premium is 559/mo.  I expect it to jump again.  I also had to join the state ama.  I think this is about $3-400/year (I could not pull up the exact figure).  By crappy insurance I mean the copays and percentages that you pay if you need anything done.  This policy was cheaper last year than a small business BCBS but I did not factor in all the co-insurance (cost sharing).  Figuring out a straight up premium and deductible is straight forward.  The surprises are what is crappy. I do not have a HSA because my office manager flipped out with the higher deductible.

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                  • #10
                    I see, didn't realize you had group coverage. Yes, that makes a difference. Our practice is so small that we just pay a stipend to employees for medical expenses. Nobody really needed coverage because everyone seems to have good spousal coverage. Plus, the next youngest employee is 15 years below me and I w/h skewed the premium cost to the high end.
                    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087

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