President's Perspective November 2012

Michelle ButterworthMoving Forward: An ACFAS Perspective
By Michelle L. Butterworth, DPM, FACFAS, President

When we conducted this past summer’s member and practice surveys, there were a few open-ended questions, including one which allowed members to suggest any activities we currently are not pursuing. Of the hundreds of responses, many asked about ACFAS’ relationship with APMA since the College’s 2008 decision to allow its members the freedom to choose their own professional affiliations (namely, no longer requiring APMA membership as a condition of continued ACFAS membership after admission into the College).
 
I thought I’d take this opportunity to respond and thank those who asked this question. I am happy to see that our members want the two organizations working together. I am also pleased to report that while we haven’t publicized our activities in recent years, we have been working to collaborate with APMA and other organizations to move our profession forward.
 
Our bylaws and policies are the same as they were in 2008 -- we require APMA membership for admission into the College, but our members thereafter can voluntarily decide to continue either or both membership(s). We also still have an official policy that encourages College members to maintain their APMA memberships throughout their careers. I am happy to report that since 2008 both organizations have prospered. In fact, ACFAS membership is today at an all-time high with over 6,800 members.
 
That said, there are many projects that could benefit our profession which require the sharing of significant resources (manpower and financial) of both ACFAS and APMA. Examples include scope of practice and professional parity advocacy, multi-center research studies, reimbursement equality and resident education, just to name a few. Unfortunately, these types of partnerships cannot move forward because APMA’s bylaws only allow them to work with affiliated organizations. We would suggest that the APMA bylaw provision is antiquated and should be reconsidered in the best interest of the profession. If the AMA can work with its many independent medical organizations, there’s no reason podiatry can’t do so as well.
 
In the meantime, we are actively working with other organizations and focusing on our mission and members’ needs. We have donated to and are represented on the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine’s Residency Balance Committee. ACFAS was the first organization to help fund the California Podiatric Medicine Association’s venture with that state’s medical and osteopathic associations to create a joint license enabling their graduates to become licensed physicians and surgeons just as the MDs and DOs. We continue to work with state associations on credentialing, privileging and scope of practice battles. We have also renewed our participation via a liaison position in the Council of Teaching Hospitals. Our executive director meets annually with the American Society of Podiatric Executives and ACFAS exhibits each year at APMA’s annual meeting under the direction and presence of the Board of Directors. I have also personally served on the APMA Vision 2015 Committee, including a student recruitment task force, during President Michael King’s administration.
 
So, as you can see, we have been busy and we will continue working with any and all organizations to advance our profession and, ultimately, the care of our patients. In my opinion, the ideal relationship between ACFAS and APMA is an alliance where the two organizations work together side by side, each organization focusing on their areas of specialty. Such an alliance would align our forces, eliminate duplication of efforts, and combine resources for the betterment of our entire profession. It’s no secret that alliances and coalitions are how other medical associations get things done collaboratively, especially in the legislative and regulatory arenas. Podiatry should do so as well.
 
Questions for Dr. Butterworth? Write her at president@acfas.org.

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