Message from the AAPCCA Chair
As I sit here at my laptop, I think back at this past year as chair and remember the years on the Board of Directors and my involvement with the AAPC and the Chapter Association – and feel like a tomato plant. Many of you have heard me say, as I have heard many of you say, that I would not have enjoyed the professional and personal successes I have, without the AAPC and AAPCCA.
At first, I wasn’t strong but the benefits I’ve enjoyed since my first year of membership in 1998 far outweigh any costs associated with it. Back in the day, as we like to say, business medical professionals were a vital presence, as they are today, but unlike those today, there was no recognition of the role and expertise we brought to our employers. How many of you remember being referred to as “Dr. Smith’s office girl”?
I’m sure many of you shared in the amazement and joy I first felt when I discovered there was an organization just for us! There were meetings we could attend where we could learn and network with others that shared this space. I remember being so excited to learn there were mentors out there that could answer my questions and guide my way. It was more of a learning by doing then, and our only resources were the CPT and ICD-9 manuals. I’m sure many of you remember typing claim forms on the old IBM Selectric typewriter, with carbon paper! But now – we are credentialed, recognized professionals! And so, we grew.
Membership in AAPC gave me instant access to communities, like their online forums, and information I couldn’t get anywhere else. As the organization grew, so did the offerings. Conferences, seminars, webinars—oh my! As I began to go to meetings, I learned even more every month! I made friends and began to build a network with the other members of my chapter (Columbia, MO) in those early days. Many of those friends are still there today, ready with an answer, a source citation, a joke, or even a tissue, if needed. I firmly believe that building my network is the greatest benefit my membership brings to me – and to you! Becoming more involved in the local chapter meant learning more about the AAPC and the AAPCCA and meeting the wonderful folks that are there. When asked to be a chapter officer, I agreed – it just made sense to me to give back and be that leader that I had needed in those early years. Little did I know where that would take me – and the benefits it could and would confer. As a chapter officer, conferences (national or regional) attended in the following year became more affordable because past officers are eligible for a whopping discount! And as the program grew, more and more benefits became available, things like insurance, distance learning, and discount programs for purchases, from rental cars to pizza!
But as I take my leave of you from the Board of Directors, I have to tell you the memory that stands out most in my mind are those of you all – the chapter officers and members I’ve met at conference or seminars, when visiting your chapters or doing officer training, my fellow board members who don’t hesitate to drive six hours to be at a loved one’s funeral, or meet up for a “retreat” which is filled with hilarity and shopping! And not the least, the wonderful staff at the Local Chapter Department and all of the staff at the AAPC national office have been there to answer questions, lend a helping hand and become far more than friends.
Like a tomato plant, sometimes I began as a bit limp and wobbly, but with the care and feeding of my fellow members and friends and near family I received from you (whether you knew it or not) I grew and thrived and more importantly, bore “fruit” for others. Yes, sometimes the responsibilities we take on can bring us to the brink, but never could I have dreamed of benefits it also brought to me. Thank you all for all this, the only word that sums up what I feel is “blessed.”
Linda Martien, PCP, COC, CPMA, AAPC Fellow
Chair, AAPC Chapter Association Board of Directors 2017-2018