In November, the Board of Directors approved a $100 dues increase that will be voted upon by Academy members this spring in conjunction with the AAD election for Academy officers and directors. In this Member to Member roundtable discussion, AAD/A President Dirk Elston, MD; President-Elect Brett Coldiron, MD; and Vice President Lisa Garner, MD; weigh in on the Academy’s proposed dues increase.
M to M: Why is the Academy raising dues now?
Dr. Elston: It has been 10 years since the last dues increase. Dermatology has never faced so many challenges, and the cost of providing support to meet the challenges our specialty faces has gone up. Our margin has become pretty narrow.
Dr. Coldiron: As you’ve no doubt been reading, our specialty is under attack. We need the increase in dues for expanded public relations efforts to strengthen understanding of our profession with patients, the public, and policymakers in light of increasing scrutiny of our specialty. Our budget has almost no room for unexpected expenses. As Dr. Elston said, we haven't raised dues in 10 years, and inflation marches on.
Dr. Garner: The AAD/A is moving forward in making improvements to our continuing medical education (CME), learning management system (LMS) software, and expanding courses to satisfy requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and Maintenance of Licensure (MOL).
In addition, we need to be diligent on behalf of dermatologists at the state and federal levels because legislative and regulatory challenges continue to mount. As Dr. Coldiron said, good public relations are not only important when it comes to our patients, but with other physicians in the house of medicine who are the key to our well being in the future.
We are all going to need shelter under the umbrella of the AAD/A. This money patches a few holes in the umbrella.
M to M: How will the Academy use the additional revenue?
Dr. Coldiron: The funds will support public relations, software upgrades, and general expenses that include promoting a positive perception of dermatologists among referring physicians and the public; continuing education; advocacy; practice management; development of guidelines; timely publications; and enhanced online resources. We also need to start development of data registries to prove our value and effectiveness to the health care community.
Dr. Elston: Dermatologists face increasing challenges to reimbursement, payment reform incentives, and limited provider networks that exclude dermatologists, and an increasing regulatory burden. We need to be present and engaged in the discussions on Capitol Hill that determine our future. We need to provide education and tools to help our members address each challenge, and we need to partner with our state societies to fight bad legislation and payer policy that will affect our members and their patients. As I mentioned earlier, it has been 10 years since the last dues increase. We need it.
Dr. Garner: Our CME is geared toward improving skills and helping us to be better dermatologists and to satisfy board certification and state licensure requirements. It’s absolutely necessary that the Academy stay at the forefront of adapting our programming to meet these changing requirements. CME has changed dramatically in the last five years and will continue to evolve. A lot of work and documentation has to be done to fulfill these specific requirements. The additional funds will help the Academy reach its goals in this area.
The AAD/A Board of Directors believes the proposed dues increase is necessary to help fund the rising costs associated with:
- Rapidly changing technology for data collection, enhanced member access to CME, and webinars.
- Outcomes measurements that will assist dermatologists in demonstrating their value and improve quality of care.
- Providing AAD/A members with effective advocacy, programs, and services required to stay on top of the rapidly changing health care and practice environments facing members today.
M to M: How will this proposed dues increase benefit AAD/A members and their practices?
Dr. Garner: As Dr. Elston mentioned, one of the really important things the AAD/A is working on is to devote more funds and energy to getting a better handle on regulations at the federal and state levels that affect the way we practice and who can practice medicine. We are constantly dealing with proposed changes to regulations that have the potential to interfere with the way we practice dermatology. We will continue to work on these issues that improve our patients’ well being.
Dermatologists are the front line for taking care of the skin, hair, and nails when it comes to preventing and treating disease. We have not been forced into practice situations — by and large — that we don’t want to be in, and that is a result of our efforts on behalf of the specialty.
Dr. Coldiron: We must continue to explain to the public, government, and the media that dermatology is part of the solution to the health care crisis our country faces, not the problem. We are all going to need shelter under the umbrella of the AAD/A. This money patches a few holes in the umbrella.
Please submit any questions regarding the proposed membership dues increase to firstname.lastname@example.org and visit this page to see the answers. The AAD/A is accepting statements on the proposed dues increase until Feb. 28. The proposed dues increase will be presented to the membership for a vote on the spring 2014 election ballot.
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