Virtual Meetings: Plan for Success

Virtual Meetings: Plan for Success

 Haven’t tried virtual meetings yet? What are you waiting for? Follow the steps below to set up a virtual meeting for your next AAPC local chapter gathering. The new 2020 Local Chapter Handbook is another resource, refer to Chapter 7, section 7.4.2.1.

The Basics

Options for meetings:

  1. Traditional in-person chapter meeting. Attendees and speakers are physically in the same room. We won’t talk about this, you’ve got it covered!
  2. In-person meeting with a virtual speaker. Attendees gather in a central location and the speaker presents from a remote location.
  3. Virtual meeting with a virtual speaker. Attendees and presenter attend by computer or phone, from individual remote locations.

There are two types of virtual speakers:

  1. A local speaker is someone identified by and known to the local chapter, or perhaps a chapter member. In this case, the local chapter will work directly with the speaker to schedule the presentation.
  2. An individual from the AAPC Speakers Bureau. When utilizing the AAPC Speakers Bureau, the scheduling of the speaker is coordinated by a member of the Officer Resource Committee within the AAPC Chapter Association.

There are two options for a virtual platform.

By virtual platform, we mean the technology used to bridge the geographic divide between the attendees and the presenter. Common platforms include GoTo Meeting, GoTo Webinar, Zoom, Skype, etc.

Option 1. If you already use a virtual platform readily accessible to all chapter members, you can use this and schedule through the established steps.

Option 2. If you don’t have a virtual platform, you can schedule use of AAPC’s virtual platform (currently Zoom). This will be coordinated by an AAPC representative.

IMPORTANT! Virtual meetings may or may not require coordination by one or more AAPC representatives, as described below. Be aware that each AAPC representative is responsible for only his/her virtual component (speaker or platform).

No AAPC coordination needed

  • Traditional in-person meeting with presenter on site.
  • Virtual meeting with local virtual speaker, using established platform.

One AAPC Coordinator

  • Virtual meeting using AAPC virtual platform, with local virtual speaker. (Contact the AAPC virtual platform coordinator.)
  • Virtual meeting using established local virtual platform, with presenter from Speakers Bureau. (Contact the AAPC Speakers Bureau coordinator.)

Two AAPC Coordinators

  • Virtual meeting using AAPC virtual platform, with presenter from Speakers Bureau. This will require the AAPC Speakers Bureau coordinator and the AAPC platform coordinator (two individuals).

Why Two Coordinators?

The Speakers Bureau has been such a success, some of the speakers were being overwhelmed with speaking requests. To prevent any undue burden on these speakers going forward (who generously donate their time free of charge), the AAPC Chapter Association (AAPCCA) now coordinates chapter requests through their Officer Resource Committee. Chapters who want to use the Speakers Bureau must request the speaker through the AAPCCA representative, who will then act as the liaison between the speaker and the chapter. In this way, the speaker has just one person as their point of contact for all AAPC chapter engagements. The current contact for Speakers Bureau requests is Corrie Alvarez, CPC, CPMA, CEDC, CPC -I (corrie.alvarez@aapcca.org); be aware the contact will change as new elections occur. AAPCCA members are elected and volunteer their time in their role with AAPCCA. Try to be patient, as the AAPCCA role is secondary to their paid work. However, it is not unreasonable to follow up every week or so.

The AAPC virtual platform can be reserved by any chapter to hold a virtual meeting. As you may imagine with so many chapters, it can be a challenge to coordinate the many requests coming in for all different days, times, and time zones. To streamline this, AAPC has assigned a representative to manage these requests as they are received. The platform is available on a first-come, first-served basis. When you’re ready to schedule the platform, send an email to localchaptervirtualmeetings@aapc.com. This person is an AAPC staff member. Follow up every week or so until the date is confirmed.

Putting It All Together

Presenter optionsVirtual Platform Options 
Presenter sourced from local chapter contact?Presenter sourced from Speakers Bureau?Using a local virtual platform?Using AAPC’s virtual platform?Is chapter required to contact AAPC for coordination or resource scheduling?
YESNONONONO. Traditional in-person meeting, schedule as usual
YESNOYESNONone needed, schedule as usual
YESNONOYESYES. Reserve time via AAPC’s Virtual Platform Coordinator. Additionally, schedule a practice date with the platform coordinator 7-10 days ahead of your meeting.
NOYESYESNOYES. Work through AAPC’s Speaker coordinator to find an available speaker and schedule your presentation. Arrange your virtual platform on your own.

Consider a Practice Run

A practice run 7-10 days in advance is strongly recommended, for whichever virtual platform you’ll be using. Only chapter officers and the presenter will attend the practice run; use this time to work out any technical glitches, practice sharing the screen, address any process questions, assign a moderator, and become comfortable navigating the interface.

Making a Request to the Speakers Bureau

If you’ve arranged your own speaker, you can skip this step.

60 days ahead (earlier is better)

Email: Corrie Alvarez, corrie.alvarez@aapcca.org, AAPCCA Officer Resource Committee

Include:

A Speaker Request Form is provided in the document listing the members of the Speakers Bureau. Please submit a separate form for each speaker/topic of interest.

When submitting without the form, your request must include:

  • The name of the chapter
  • The name, email and phone of the chapter contact person. Note: This is for the coordinator’s use and may be different than the public contact information for the general membership.
  • Up to three desired dates, in order of preference
  • Desired time of day for the presentation (include time zone)
  • Requested Topic. When requesting multiple topics, please submit a separate request for each topic.
  • Virtual Platform to be used. State “AAPC Platform” if you will be using AAPC’s platform, otherwise state the specific platform (e.g., GoTo Meeting, GoTo Webinar, Skype, etc.) that will be used.
  • Any additional pertinent information. For example, if you have a specific speaker in mind for your topic of choice, state that speaker preference in your initial request.

Requesting the AAPC Virtual Platform

If you have your own platform, you can skip this step.

30 days ahead (earlier is better)

Email: localchaptervirtualmeetings@aapc.com

Include:

  • The name of the chapter
  • The name, email and phone of the chapter contact person. Note: this is for the coordinator’s use and may be different than the public contact information for the general membership.
  • The date, time and length of the virtual meeting. Additionally, include the day and time of any practice run desired. Practice runs are generally no more than 30 minutes.
  • The name of the meeting or topic being presented
  • The name of the speaker

You’ve Put Your Requests in, Now What?

Follow up weekly until you have a confirmation on your speaker and/or platform.

  • Confirmation from the Speakers Bureau will include the speaker’s name and contact information. Check to be sure the date and time of the presentation are correct.
  • Confirmation of the AAPC platform will include the link to the meeting. You will need this link to submit the continuing education unit (CEU) request for the virtual meeting! If a practice date was requested, you will receive a link for this as well. You can request a courtesy RSVP but there is no pre-registration requirement for virtual meetings. Attendees simply click on the link to participate. Up to 150 members can participate in the meeting with the AAPC virtual platform, though your platform may vary. Courtesy RSVPs, if desired, are set up when you apply for the CEUs.
Coordinating multiple resources can be tricky. Be prepared for some back-and-forth communication between all parties, speakers included, while you find mutually agreeable dates and times.

Don’t Forget to Apply for CEUs

With speaker and platform confirmed, it’s time to apply for the CEUs. The process of requesting CEUs for virtual meetings and virtual speakers is very similar to requesting CEUs for regular in-person meetings and other chapter events. In short, you begin in the same manner, then indicate the virtual components in the appropriate fields and replace address information with the meeting link.

As usual, from the My Chapter area of the AAPC website, click the Schedule New Event box Then choose Meeting.

If you are having an in-person meeting with a virtual speaker:

In the topic line, enter “Virtual Speaker” before the meeting topic. For example, “Virtual Speaker- E/M Basics”

Then, enter the speaker information as usual.

If you are having a virtual meeting with virtual speaker:

In the topic line, enter “Virtual Chapter Meeting” before the meeting topic. For example,

“Virtual Chapter Meeting- E/M Basics”

Then enter “Virtual Speaker” before the speaker information.

Continue filling in the usual event information. When you get to meeting location, you’ll add the meeting link and a few other minor adjustments to the usual information.

For Location name enter “Virtual Chapter Meeting” For Address enter “See link below

For Directions enter “Click here to join this virtual chapter meeting: (add link here)” This is where you add the link received from AAPC, or the link from your own platform. This link will appear online, and members can click there to join the meeting.

Remember to queue the alerts to go out so all members assigned to the chapter will receive notifications of the meeting.

SPEAKER CONFIRMED. PLATFORM CONFIRMED. CEUs APPROVED … ALMOST THERE!

For the first few virtual meetings, you may want to send out your own notice to chapter members reminding them where to find the link to join the meeting (the location field).

Be sure to ask them to sign in with their full name so the CEUs can be added to their tracker, and advise them of any other virtual meeting protocols established by your chapter.

Meeting Day

Virtual meetings should follow the usual flow and cover the same chapter business as a regular in- person meeting. We want the members to have a similar experience to attending an in-person meeting, rather than just another remote webinar. There is new language in the 2020 Local Chapter Handbook (7.4.2.1, step 3) with more information on this.

  • Be sure each officer knows their responsibility for the meeting, such as who will track attendance and who will moderate, and how questions will be passed to the speaker during the presentation. These duties should, ideally, be worked out and practiced during the practice session.
  • Officers should have their cameras on so they can be seen by the members when speaking. This will help make the meeting feel friendly; it also helps the members get to know their chapter officers.
  • Opening remarks and officer introductions should help establish a business focus to the meeting. For example, you can announce newly credentialed members or promote upcoming educational events.

After the Meeting

After the meeting, remember to log the attendance online so the member trackers will populate with the CEUs.

YOU DID IT!

Virtual meetings are a great way to expand your outreach to chapter members, however, it should augment rather than displace in-person meetings. Remember that you must continue to hold at least four in-person chapter meetings, with CEUs, every year. The additional two educational events required can be in the form of seminars and/or virtual meetings. Also, there’s nothing to stop you from holding more than the minimum annual requirements — your members will thank you for the effort and your chapter will remain strong.

HELP! My Planning is Stalled!

We hope this will never happen, but if you find yourself stalled in the planning process, these are the folks you can turn to for help getting things started again. These individuals are all found in the Directory option, within the My Chapter area of the AAPC website.

My Local Chapter / Directory

(AAPC Staff Tab)

  • The AAPCCA representative(s) for your region (the AAPCCA tab)
  • The NAB representative(s) for your region (the NAB tab)

You can also call the toll-free number for AAPC and ask to speak with the local chapter support staff.

Remember: Both the AAPCCA and National Advisory Board (NAB) representatives are elected positions and volunteer roles. These are members, like you, are trying to juggle their paid work with the volunteer duties of the positions within these organizations.

OTHER RESOURCES

If you’re still having trouble (that would never happen, right?), try other representatives outside your region, to see if they can help directly or get you back on track with your own representative.

Access the full list of AAPCCA and NAB representatives from the Networking tab at the top of the initial screen after logging in (3 tabs to the left of My AAPC).

Under Networking, choose the far left column, LOCAL CHAPTERS

Under LOCAL CHAPTERS, choose CHAPTER ASSOCIATION (these are the AAPCCA reps)

From the CHAPTER ASSOCIATION page, on the left you’ll find a link for the National Advisory Board (NAB reps).


About the author:

Monique Hayden, CPC, currently works as a radiology coder. She has been credentialed since 2017. Prior to that she spent 15 years working in many capacities in the non-clinical side of the industry, including billing, transcription, and radiology scheduling.

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