Are You Active in Your Professional Organization?
It's 2015 and do you know where your professional membership status is?
This year it will be more important than ever to get involved with your local and national organizations. This past year marked the beginning of healthcare reform in the USA. Love it or hate the Affordable Care became law. As you may have noticed, the focus was almost entirely on enrollment numbers. Getting people signed up dominated the news. Getting people covered was the narrative for 2014.
In 2015 I predict that emerging story lines will be divided between two issues: access and cost. As Americans are quickly finding out, coverage does not equal care. It's great that more people are insured but who is going to see them? And if the newly insured are fortunate enough to find a primary provider there is still the problem of cost. At this point the ACA didn't address the out of control healthcare costs. Early reports indicate that healthcare spending is down as whole but if you look further into the data it appears that the savings may be due to high deductibles and copays. In other words, we aren't sure yet if Americans are spending their healthcare dollars wiser or simply foregoing care in order to save money.
As NPs and PAs we understand that we have a large role to play in saving patients money. We also know our patients well and have great ideas for ways to improve healthcare delivery while maintaining quality. Many of us are pioneers in developing innovative care delivery systems.
Which brings me back to why you need to get involved. We need to be part of these discussions on both a local and national level. Venting in an online forum or social media site may feel good but to have a real impact on how care is delivered - and by whom - requires an organization. So unless you want physicians and politicians having all the say in how you do your job you it's critical that you start joining your professional organizations. Change and reform requires influence on a large scale. And unfortunately it all takes money. Money for lobbyists, money for public relations and money for educational campaigns. That money comes from your dues.