Members flock to AAH

Saturday, January 31, 2004

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - The American Association for Homecare picked up 40% more new members in 2003 than 2002, the greatest surge of growth in more than a decade, said director of membership sales, Matt Korzan.

While AAHomecare gained about 90 new members for the 2002 membership year, the group netted about 140 new members last year. At the same time, the four-year-old trade group retained 85% of its 2003 membership.

The median retention rate for 903 trade associations surveyed by the American Society of Association Executives is 91%.

AAHomecare counts 1,000 different companies and 3,000 member locations on its roster. About 70% of the companies are involved in home medical equipment, as suppliers or vendors. The majority of the balance are home nursing companies.

Korzan credits outreach by members and staff as the principle growth driver for 2004.

“If there was a focal point to our communication, it would be that no company in any industry can hope to achieve its goals while acting alone,” he said. “AAHomecare is the national association that represents DME. As in any industry, we are only as strong as the membership ranks.”

Another catalyst for growth has been the Medicare Prescription Drug Act, and its new reimbursement pressures for the DME industry. In December, after the Drug Act passed, AAHomecare saw its membership spike. For 2004, the growth rate for new members is tracking at 20-25% over 2003’s levels.

“We need to be prepared for competitive bidding,” said Steve Serra, vice president of Healthcore, the DME division of the Henry Ford Health System. “We have to get back in the loop and stay abreast of all the intricacies of what’s going on.”

For Serra, the battle to stave off competitive bidding is over. He believes it’s coming, and that membership in AAHomecare will provide access to information that his company will need to position itself for the bidding.

In Alabama, another new member, Alfred Seawright also credits AAHomecare’s informational resources as one reason for joining. He also believes that membership in AAHomecare will distinguish his company from the riff raff.

“The people who have committed all the fraud, they aren’t members,” said Seawright, president of Medical Place in Montgomery.