AAHomecare tries to 'bridge gap' with providers

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ARLINGTON, Va. - The next knock on your door may be from an AAHomecare official.

The association announced in January that it plans to hire a director of membership sales and marketing who will hit the road to visit with existing and prospective members.

"We're often up to our ears dealing with Congress, CMS and the media, but we know it's also important to get out there and talk to folks about what their concerns are," said Michael Reinemer, AAHomecare's vice president of communications and policy. "This is a way to bridge that gap."

The position is the first of its kind at AAHomecare. The association's existing 14 employees focus on administrative or government affairs work and spend most of their time in Washington, D.C.

Part of the director's conversations with existing and prospective members will be about how AAHomecare is helping or can help address their concerns, says Joel Marx, the association's incoming chairman and president of Medical Service Co. in Cleveland.

"The association is making progress on certain fronts, but you don't always hear about it," he said. "This person will be our cheerleader."

Ultimately, AAHomecare hopes these conversations will lead to increased membership, especially among smaller providers, which, in turn, will lead to a stronger and more representative association.

"Membership has been pretty stable at 500 and we want to grow," Reinemer said. "We need to make sure providers feel appreciated and part of the association, and we need to make sure they understand our value."

The position is an "investment" that will pay off, Marx says.

"I use the word investment because I personally believe that this position will bring back many fold the cost of the salary," he said. "I'm excited. It's one of those things where you hit your head against the wall and say, 'Why haven't we done this before?'"