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03/02/2018    Stephen C. Schmid, DPM

PM's Future Stars

I first want to congratulate Dr. Scholnick on
being named a “Future Star” by Podiatry
Management magazine. That’s quite an
accomplishment! Reading his commentary, I agree
with him. When it comes to our professional
organizations, transparency and accountability
are important attributes. I am writing this
response, however, to express some concerns that
I have with the comments made regarding APMA. I
feel that Dr. Scholnick has either been
uninformed or misinformed.

I would like to address a few of the specific
comments that were made: “There are many
conflicts of interest with the APMA… .” If he was
referring to potential conflicts of interest for
individual members of the Board of Trustees, you
can view a clearly stated list of professional
relationships for each on the APMA.org website.
If the conflicts were concerning the Annual
Scientific Meeting (The National), I can tell you
that all potential conflicts of interest by
speakers are required to be disclosed; APMA has a
compliance officer at every continuing education
session at the meeting; and any corporate grants
are unrestricted educational grants, meaning that
the corporation has no say about how that money
is designated or who the speaker for that segment
would be. APMA actually goes above and beyond
CPME recommendations regarding this.

“…and it is debatable at best about where one’s
annual dues go.” This statement, I can tell you,
is simply false. I don’t know how much more
transparent APMA could be concerning financials.
In fact, there is an APMA Finance Committee, the
annual budget (in detail) is sent out to all
members of the APMA House of Delegates (elected
members from all recognized components within
APMA) well ahead of time to review and comment
during the Finance Committee meeting during the
HOD. APMA’s funding goes to a number of important
programs for members, some of which include
federal and state advocacy, practice management
and coding, JAPMA and the APMA Registry, among
many others. At the most recent Board of Trustees
meeting, the board spent several hours reviewing
the budget, as they always do during their
February meeting. Finally, an external audit is
done yearly to verify that APMA has operated with
fiscal responsibility.

“The APMA, just like every physician, needs not
be complacent.” APMA, it seems, has an unfair
reputation for not being progressive. In fact,
APMA is often at the forefront of national
advocacy efforts against discrimination from
insurance companies. Here’s a recent example:
Anthem BCBS wanted to pay 50 percent of the fee
schedule for the -59 modifier. APMA fought this
change, succeeding in first lowering the
reduction to a 25% cut, then in persuading Anthem
to eliminate the reduction altogether. That piece
of advocacy alone saved members well over $100
million a year. Again, APMA has created a
registry that will provide much-needed data on
podiatric care that will be used on behalf of its
members to prove the value of podiatry and
strengthen negotiating power with insurance
companies.

As an organization, APMA recently underwent a
comprehensive review by a well-respected, outside
consulting firm that gave recommendations on how
to restructure APMA, the Board of Trustees, and
the House of Delegates to make APMA a stronger
organization. Many of those recommendations have
been seriously considered, and there are a number
of proposed bylaws changes being discussed at the
upcoming HOD to implement the suggestions. Some
of those bylaw changes are meant to enfranchise
Young Physician members such as Dr. Scholnick and
myself. Those changes include term limits for
delegates as well as a Young Physician vote on
the Board of Trustees.

In addition, APMA has placed a tremendous focus
on young physicians and the future of podiatry. I
personally chair the Young Physicians Leadership
Panel, which has worked closely with staff in
developing educational and other resources for
young physicians. APMA has an Educational Needs
Task Force specifically examining the needs of
residents and practicing young physicians to help
ensure it is relevant to the next generation of
physicians.

I hope this information addresses some of those
comments made about APMA, but I think seeing is
believing. The APMA House of Delegates meeting
takes place in Washington, DC, March 16–19. The
House of Delegates is open to all members, except
when in executive session. Stop on by!

Stephen C. Schmid, DPM, Young Physician Liaison
to the APMA Board of Trustees

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