Can you trust AHDI to represent the industry?

Can you trust AHDI to represent medical transcriptionists?I've been following reports from the meeting as reported by Kathy Nicholls at her MT Tools Online blog, as well as the ACE365 website at Ning and I find myself wondering if medical transcriptionists can afford to let this organization continue to represent to legislators and the health information management community that it is the voice of the industry.

Granted, AHDI is being technically accurate when it represents itself as the largest organization for medical transcriptionists. What does that make the thousands of MTs who aren't members? The largest disorganization for medical transcriptionists?

AHDI now counts among its membership over 10,000 members as a result of requiring KB users to be associate members of the organization.

Associate members are those individuals who have qualified for membership under a third-party vendor contract and have received this membership offering through the purchase of a contracted product or service, such as Benchmark KB. Only users/purchasers of those products and services qualify for this membership category.

Unfortunately, AHDI doesn't go into detail about what associate members get with their membership, but it's my understanding they cannot vote and they cannot hold office. In effect, therefore, there are only roughly 5,452 members in other categories. According to MT Tools Online, reportedly 30% of the total membership number is in the student category (also unable to vote or hold office), but that number is mixed with students who receive the KB as well. Subtract an unknown number of corporate, institutional and educational members and who knows how many that leaves in the individual professional category – those who can vote and hold office. Certainly, less than 5,000 and probably closer to 4,000. That's down significantly from the 7000 individual professional members reported several years ago; and it is certainly a smaller and smaller pool of people who are eligible to hold office, much less vote.

Wow.

Actions this week at ACE that make it look like AHDI leadership has been taking their cues straight out of the Tricky Dicky book of Dirty Tricks. The House of Delegates' (HOD) vote to retain the present members of the HOD for another year gives me flashbacks to an illegal secret Board meeting held in California years ago and reinforces the screw the membership mentality. If you don't think your delegate is adequately representing your region – too bad. Like it or not, members will not get to hold an election of new delegates for next year.

Regardless of the reasons for this action, it's illegal and a violation of AHDI's own By-Laws, and possibly California law, where AHDI is incorporated. Niggling little things like that never seemed to stop this sort of thing in the past, so I guess nobody should be surprised that the dirty tricks continue. It should be frightening to realize that this is the same group that gives leadership seminars.

Frankly, I found Miriam Wilmoth's comments on emergent resolutions before the HOD to be… well, enlightening.

… It is unfortunate, too, that any efforts to speak for members who are still confused, torn, or outright opposed to the way current issues before the House have been handled are met with accusations of dishonesty, that any dissenting opinion is met with an association-sponsored blitz of ad hominem attacks like none we have ever seen in this association – from the CEO, to selected (not all) board members, and even the Speaker of the House.

I'm having déja vú all over again.

I'm sure the response of the AHDI faithful will be – if you don't like it, join and change it. OK, first of all – with no new delegates being voted in for next year, how much change can there be? I rather suspect the real purpose behind that move is to make sure the only changes made are the ones Dirty Tricks club wants made. And my personal response to that would be – been there/done that, got the T-shirt and what I experienced was eerily similar to what's currently going on – burn the By-Laws, damn the torpedos and to hell with what the membership wants (what do they know, anyway?).

If we encourage our members to talk to us, to tell us what they think, to become engaged in the purposes of the association – yet when they open their mouths to speak effectively they find their integrity called into question – do we really think they will continue to speak?

And after reading this comment – again made by Miriam Wilmoth – is there any question that you would plop down your $135 annual membership fee only to be told screw you very much? Because that's what's already happened to current members.

I've already seen a slew of long-time members – members who were active in leadership positions – drop their membership and leave AHDI. And yet the insanity continues. Obviously, the number of core members – those in the individual membership category – has dropped drastically over the last couple of years. And instead of addressing the issues and concerns of members and former members and asking what they could possibly be doing wrong – many of those who remain at AHDI write off criticism as sour grapes or negativity and then drop their heads back into the sand. Because as long as you can write off the people who bring up the issues, you don't have to actually take responsibility and address the issues. And I'm not even going to get into how AHDI has ignored the fact that nonmembers could be potential members. (More on that in another post, where I'll talk about a publication by an AHDI staff member that makes it clear what the attitude is about us.)

In my opinion, this organization has been on a course that is detrimental to practitioner medical transcriptionists since they changed the name of the organization and got into bed with MTIA. They say they want to get online and into social networks. Great. I say the largest disorganization of medical transcriptionists in the world use the same social media to let the world know that this organization does NOT represent us.

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39 thoughts on “Can you trust AHDI to represent the industry?”

  1. I think what surprises me most is YOUR surprise 🙂 The organization has ALWAYS been about whatever core (good or bad) is currently holding all the cards. The members have never been a real priority, nor has the benefit of the membership. From the time I was made privvy to the back-alley deals being done by those in power at AAMT with offshore labor, conversations about how much better they could get at lowering MT costs (aka our wages), I’ve realized without question this is an organization only interested in serving those who hold the cards.

    Honestly has never seemed to be their strong suit, has it?

  2. Only having been in this industry for a short time, I have been struck by the animosity directed at a professional organization–lots of distrust, lots of anger instead of just apathy. If this is any indication of how things have been handled in the past, I am beginning to understand why a number of MTs have such vocal loathing for AHDI. I used to think it was an oddly personal level of anger, but again, I think I am beginning to understand. Thanks Julie for always being so informative!

  3. Bambi, I so agree. This is a surprise? It’s been decades since I realized they do nothing to help the individual transcriptionist and quite frankly have helped to hurt our professional (wages at least). They also “helped” our overseas “rivals” as it were and made testing, etc. far easier for them. To be quite honest their certification is “crap”. I have talked to people who see the CMT, etc. and run. Most of the employees or subs they have used that have been certified have been their worst employees. Certification from AAMT meant nothing and still does. They certify people with little or no experience and experience means far more than testing.

  4. I was local chapter president for four years (or was it six?), California state president (a 3-year commitment including president-elect, president, and then immediate past president), state annual meeting coordinator twice. I gave a lot of my heart and soul to this organization. I was good friends with many of the people at the highest levels of the organization. When I dropped my membership (and subsequently my CMT) a number of years ago, I never got so much as a phone call from anyone asking me why I’d left, what my concerns were, what they could do to get me back. Nothing. Thus, it wasn’t easy for me to conclude that my decisions were the correct ones. Sad, sad. Oh, and Julie? That bending of the rules goes back even further than the California debacle you refer to: When Claudia Tessier left as AAMT’s CEO, the House of Delegates decided that Barbara Williams, the national president-elect, wasn’t the person they wanted to shepherd them through the transition, so they bypassed her in favor of whomever was the incumbent (I think it was Bonnie Bakal). Barbara, whom I really liked professionally, disappeared and wasn’t heard from again. Sad, sad. But not surprising — and you of all people should know better than to be surprised. (I know…you’re really not all that surprised.)

  5. Again, I never ceased to be amazed that those on the outside know more than those that were PRESENT at the meeting. The HOD will dissolve next year after bylaws are drafted to reorganize the governance and those bylaws will be written by members of the HOD itself. The BOD will be reduced to 7 members and 6 members will be elected from geographical regions. This idea has been under discussion for at least 3 years, if not 4. There were several scenarios being discussed over the past few months on how to better organize so that the volunteers had more time to devote to advocacy instead of meeting planning. Our priorities and energies need to be directed toward advocating for the value of MTs in an EHR, determining how “meaningful use” will affect our industry, retraining the workforce for emerging roles, and other issues far more important to our industry than “who’s bringing bagels” to the next meeting.

    My husband and I both make our living in MT. As this industry goes, so goes my livelihood and my family’s entire income. Someone please explain to me how I could be actively involved in the subterfuge of my OWN profession? Why would I be giving my support to an organization that was hell-bent on my demise, the purposeful lowering of my wages, and the demeaning of my profession?

    On the one hand, the association is blamed for everything from offshore, low wages, and the lack of recognition of credentials, making it sound like the association is all-powerful and infinitely influential. Yet when we talk about our efforts to advocate for the profession, talk to legislators about how we can facilitate the adoption of EHR, provide critical risk management roles and operational efficiencies, we are told we are ridiculous to think we can make a difference! Either we are a force to be reckoned with or we are not. You can’t have it both ways!

    Do you think that ANY organization, church, or political party made up of thousands of people are going to agree 100% of the time? Because you see members post their disagreements does not mean there is something inherently wrong with an association–it means it is made up of people with varying opinions–just like any other organization you could be a part of (church, PTA, school, fraternity, sorority, Dems or GOP). The association is made of people, and where there are people, there will be varying opinions.

    To Margie, I’m truly sorry that no attempt was made to contact you when you left the association. That shouldn’t have happened. I would add that the same thing happened to me when I changed churches. Do I believe that everyone at my former church has “sinister motives” because they chose to stay at a church that no longer met MY needs?

    I’m here to say that the association has been extremely important to me. I have had the opportunity to grow professionally and do things I never would have accomplished outside my volunteer work with AHDI. I have industry knowledge that I wouldn’t have gained any other way than by attending meetings organized by AHDI. I have heard speakers that have offered valuable industry information that I would not have had access to by any other means outside of AHDI. I have had the opportunity to serve on the Health Story Project for nearly 4 years and collaborate with many other stakeholders (HL7, EHR vendors, MTSOs, SRT vendors, AHIMA, VA, etc) that I never would have been able to connect with had I not been a member of AHDI. I PERSONALLY have had the opportunity to contribute to public comments on meaningful use and the value of the narrative in health information capture. I’ve gone to DC, I’ve spoken directly with congressmen in my area, I’ve written letters to my Senators–all in favor of retaining the narrative portion of the health record and the value the narrative and the MT brings to patient care. I spend many hours each week of my own time working on projects that I believe will preserve a place for me and my husband in the future of healthcare documentation. If my efforts (along with those of my colleagues in the association) pay off for my family, many thousands of other MTs will also benefit.

    So you may choose to criticize the association because we wrangle about how to run the association, but don’t overlook the tremendous work that is also going on with the Dewey Square Group in DC, the Health Story Project, the ACCP and the school approval program, the newly released ethical best practices documents (written by attorneys specializing in the health industry law), the new quality assurance best practices document, the updated dictation best practices toolkit, the speech recognition editing course, and many other projects.

    You are willing to give Miriam’s comments credence; will you do the same for me?

    Laura Bryan

  6. clarification:
    I should have said (above) that the 7 at-large BOD members plus 6 regional representatives (for a total of 13 people) will make up the governing board.

  7. Thank you for commenting, Laura.

    All the information obtained was from people who were at the meeting. Are you saying that Kathy and Miriam’s reporting of the meeting is inaccurate?

    None of your comments address the fact that the HOD passed a resolution that is in violation of CURRENT By-Laws, and possibly California laws. Whatever plans there may be for revising the By-Laws in the future doesn’t change that. If this has been in the planning stages for years, then why were members just introduced to it in February of this year? Why do members who attended the Town Hall meetings say there was an impression that it wasn’t a fully formed plan? Why weren’t the By-Laws changed prior to the meeting so that passage of the resolution wasn’t a violation?

    I don’t put the blame for all the ills of the industry on one organization. I agree with you – it’s not that powerful.

    Unfortunately, I think your post is just typical of why AHDI stays the way it is, with dropping individual membership. “It works for me.” I heard that in California. I heard it at meetings. As long as it works for the few people who belong, then by golly – to hell with everyone else, right?

    Margie – I remember that meeting and I was disgusted. I also spoke my mind from the gallery in support of Barbara. And in a truly ironic fashion – Bonnie Bakal resigned before the end of her second term. So Barbara went down in flames and the purported reason for lighting the match turned out in the end to be worse than if they’d just done what was right in the first place.

  8. Laura wrote, “You are willing to give Miriam’s comments credence; will you do the same for me?”

    Of course! Your comments are at a higher level than Miriam’s. You’re looking at the organization from the top down, and seeing what it’s trying to do for the industry. Miriam and others are looking at it from the bottom up, on a more personal level. Both views are valid.

    Here are my questions. How can you have a successful membership organization when you consistently and routinely burn your own members? How can AHDI ask for help and opinions then belittle those who answer the call?

    Maybe this is AHDI’s way of saying they don’t need individual members. They think they know what’s best. They think they know how to get there. They don’t need any input from anyone. Maybe they’re getting enough money from their product sales and enough imaginary associate members from the KB that they can appear like a successful organization that represents MTs. They might be able to make a difference with that.

    Without real member and real MT support at the individual level, maybe all they’ve built is a house of cards. Are they going to drive the card house into the windstorm of politics and big business?

  9. oh dear … now all I can think of is “the answer my friend, is blowing in the wind …”

    But if we were playing with cards with numbers in little squares printed on them and were double-armed with two stampers each, you would the one yelling BINGO! right now Mike 🙂

    Nae

  10. Just for the record, Miriam was not in attendance at ACE. Kathy Nicholls was in attendance. If state law was broken by extending the HOD members’ terms (for the sake of continuity), then someone needs to bring that to the attention of the speaker of the house and cite the law that was broken. I will be the first to admit that I am not a “policy wonk” in the sense that I have the bylaws memorized. I recognize that governance is necessary, but it’s not my forte. The rationale for extending the HOD members’ terms was that this HOD had already explored the changes proposed and had been discussing these sweeping changes for the past 6 months. Since this would be the last sitting HOD, these members were best suited to continue the work they had already begun. It would extend their term by 8 months at the most (for some but not all since delegates have 2 year terms and terms expire December 31). The resolution that was approved (before extending the terms) stated that a steering committee comprised of HOD members would be formed to draft the changes. It would be extremely difficult to complete this work if the committee members’ HOD terms expired before the work was completed and approved.

    I’m always curious when people say “the association isn’t interested in its members.” The association IS the members! The leadership changes from year to year and there is no “internal culture” (that I am aware of) that teaches or promotes member disdain. I’ve been on the BOD, sat in on numerous HOD meetings, been on staff, and a volunteer for the past 6 years. The people in leadership are just normal, everyday people in the sense that they are MTs, teachers, managers, and small business owners. I don’t see any great chasm in the profile of the people in leadership, the members I meet at component meetings, and MTs in general. I know these people–I eat dinner with them, I drink coffee with them, I exchange pictures with them on Facebook. I highly respect many of them, I like some of them, I tolerate some of them, and I don’t particularly care for some of them…just like everywhere else I go in life (church, PTA, family, etc). Get to know them…you’ll see what I mean.

    There is no bylaw that says, “ignore the members, abuse the members, discount the members’ opinions.” No matter what initiative, position, or change is made, there will be members that agree and members that do not agree. There’s no way to construct any resolution that 100% of the membership agrees with. There will always be those who do not feel that they were heard because their opinions were not adopted. There is a difference between being heard and agreeing with what is said. The fact is, the HOD DID listen to the membership. The resolutions that were to go before the house, drafted by the BGG workgroup, did NOT go before the house for a vote. There was not enough support for all the changes that were proposed by the BGG. What WAS adopted (34 yea, 1 nay, 1 abstention) was the resolution to go forward with constructing a new governing board consisting of regional representatives and a BOD elected at large. The bylaws will be drafted by a subgroup of HOD members (selected and approved by the HOD) and presented to the entire HOD for approval. The HOD was intentional in saying that they wanted the process to be open and transparent. The plan is to have standing meetings with a gallery open to anyone with agendas and minutes posted to a public wiki or similar open forum (as opposed to a listserv).

    Because one member says “they didn’t listen to me” doesn’t mean that the association is not interested in members’ opinions. Maybe their opinion was not tenable. Maybe their proposed solution was not workable. Maybe their proposed solution was not within the scope of a professional association. Maybe there was not enough support throughout the membership for their idea. What is usually not said (and DO NOT extrapolate this to Miriam or any other individual specifically) is that often members and nonmembers are quite rude and disrespectful with their comments and opinions. Email messages to the leadership are often unprofessional, hateful, and sometimes even slanderous. They complain but do not offer solutions. You only hear one side of the story when a member says, “they didn’t listen to me.” Maybe what they are not telling you is what exactly they said and how they said it! I’ve been on the receiving end of those missives, and they do not promote congeniality, compromise, or reconciliation!

    I mentioned above my experience at my church, but I didn’t tell you anything about what occurred. One could come away from my comments thinking, “Her church didn’t care. That’s a bad church. They don’t care about their members.” Or one could (more rightly so) come away thinking, “Hmmm, not enough details, can’t comment on what happened,” or “That’s only one person’s experience, the other 800 members of the church are still satisfied.” What often happens out here in cyberspace is a disgruntled member posts their opinions and that experience is extrapolated to a large swath of the membership. It is further concluded that those who remain an active member must surely be brainwashed, deluded, or “on the inside” or “inside some large company’s pocket”, therefore discounting any rebuttals that are in favor of the association. My experience with everyone in the association has not been perfect. I’ve had my feelings hurt. I’ve felt overlooked at times. But the problems we face as an industry are much bigger than me, and I think it is more important to work it out with that individual and push on. There is no institutionalized agenda to discount me or anyone else in the association. Misunderstandings happen. That’s life. Honestly, my own family has done the same thing and elicited the same feelings at one point or another–we all experience conflict with people in every aspect of our lives (work, children, spouse, parents, best friends). I prefer not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Mike, I agree, if there was an official agenda to burn the members, there would be no way to sustain a member organization. But I don’t know how to identify that “institutionalized attitude” that the members don’t count. Members have different ideas about what an association should be and what an association should look like, and that accounts for a lot of the strife both within and outside of the organization. There is a lot of confusion in the MT industry about what a professional association is all about. Some see it has a union for negotiating wages (it is not); some see it as a social club (which it is also not). Professional associations have a specific purpose of advancing the PROFESSION and promoting public safety. They are granted nonprofit status by the IRS because their purpose serves the public at large (that in itself mandates that we promote patient safety, and we do that in the form of promoting quality education, providing continuing education, and advocating credentialing–the premise being that a properly trained MT will more likely create an accurate medical record that is used for medical decision making). The IRS is certainly not going to grant nonprofit status to an organization because they provide opportunities for people to gather, network, and grouse. The last few years, the association has been much more focused on collaborating with MTIA and informating our stakeholders of our value in the documentation process, and this outward focus has been interpreted by many as a neglect of the individual MT. I don’t see it that way. Efforts directed at preserving a place for the the MTs skill set and the MTs body of knowledge IS in favor of the working MT. Setting standards and best practices that promote ethical work environments, lobbying for a role in the future of the EHR, setting guidelines for educational programs that actually prepare the MT (and not just take their money), promoting credentialing to protect the industry from “would-be MTs”, creating barriers to entry into the field so that not just anyone has access to personal health information or the right to screw up a medical record, and creating barriers for companies that DO abuse MTs (and there are far too many of them)…these are the kinds of things that professional associations are tasked with doing, and all these activities trickle down to the individual MT. As for compensation and falling wages, I wish the association could address that head on. That is a function of unions, and legally associations cannot engage in negotiations for wages or benefits. By FEDERAL law, we have to approach those issues indirectly, and it is extremely difficult to do. No other professional association that I am aware of has been able to protect their members’ wages from the affects of offshore labor. Please inform me if someone knows of an association that has done that and how they accomplished it.
    Everything I do personally and within my business is directed toward helping the individual MT and the small business owner. Considering my personal commitment to the individual MT, I could not devote so much of my own time and energy toward AHDI’s initiatives if I truly believed that they were detrimental to the MT. I’m not so altruistic…I’m committed to the work because I truly believe that I’m creating a future for myself.

    As to the town hall meetings, I don’t know why members felt they were being “talked at”. I was aware of the meetings (they were posted every week in Vitals that publishes every Wednesday) but I personally did not attend. Are you extrapolating one or two people’s opinions of being “talked at” to everyone that attended the meetings? A person’s perception is their reality, but not necessarily everyone’s reality. I could have very easily come away from those meetings with a very different perspective. But I wasn’t there, so I can’t comment. During my week at ACE, I didn’t hear anyone make that statement to me. I don’t know how widespread that sentiment is.

    Sorry for such a long missive and thanks for reading to the end!
    Laura

  11. Well this is lively exchange. Since some of it is coming from my blog, I felt compelled to leave a short response.

    Changing terms of any position does require a bylaws change, which can be done one of two ways: The BOD can pass it and ask the HOD to ratify it or the HOD can pass it. Either way, the step for HOD passage requires publication 45 days before a vote. This was pointed out several times during the discussion and is the reason one delegate abstained, because, in her words to a group after, she felt it wasn’t legal and didn’t want to give credence to it. This is in place simply because changes to the organization that involve roles the members elect require time for discussion and member input. I did point this out both in comment in the HOD and after to the speaker and the Texas delegate. They both indicated they were not concerned about it and could explain the rationale. As I said then, I really don’t think it’s a bad plan, just wish they had done it according to the bylaws, which are the governing documents of the association. Perhaps the reference to the legality comes from the California Corporations Code requiring that bylaws be followed, that’s some of what I heard from a few delegates after the fact. I’m certainly not an expert in that law, but this isn’t the first time things like this have happened where the question has been asked about the legality of a decision done that doesn’t follow bylaws.

    I did attend the webinars. I thought the first one was quite informative. By the second one, it became clear that there were too many unanswered questions, which led to me signing the resolution asking for a delay in the vote until there was a firm plan.

    I agree with Laura that there generally won’t be something everyone agrees on. I DO think discussion is important and should not be stifled and wish we could one day figure out how to agree to disagree without making it personal. The discussions on my blog have unfortunately been described as “just to stir things up.” Still I stand by my decision to inform those readers as I did while at the meeting as well as to not moderate comments because I want that open exchange of ideas.

    Last, as for association membership and participation, I don’t think it’s for everyone, as much as some may wish it was. I think each person makes a decision about what the ROI is for them. I respect anyone’s right to make that decision as what we all look for may be different. I hate to see member numbers dropping, but still, it’s a personal choice.

    That’s it for me. Frankly the past week wore me out with emotion and it’s time to take some deep breaths. 🙂

  12. Let me see if I understand, Laura…

    The point of this post was to point out that the AHDI HOD passed a resolution that was in violation of AHDI’s own by-laws. You’ve now posted two long missives full of rationale and justifications – but you admit you aren’t terribly familiar with the by-laws. Boiled down to the essentials, you don’t really know whether or not the resolution was a violation of the by-laws.

    You have a lot to say for someone who doesn’t really know whether or not the essential point is accurate.

    The rationale for doing this is very clear and also clearly you have bought that rationale. I don’t care WHY it was done – and it really doesn’t matter. My original post is still accurate. A resolution was put before the HOD that, if passed (as it was), was a violation of the association’s own By-Laws.

    Considering that the Speaker of the House is an ex officio member of the By-Laws committee, I would hope it wouldn’t take a member of the gallery or HOD to point out that a resolution conflicts with the by-laws.

    If you aren’t aware of any internal culture, then you can assume your participation is in alignment with the internal culture. I and many others certainly have experienced it. Just try being outspoken about something that is NOT in synch with the internal culture – and you’ll find out about that internal culture pretty quick.

    Certainly, as you say, there are disagreements within any organization. As you can see by Miriam’s comments, people stop speaking up when they constantly get shut down for a difference of opinion – or they just decide it’s not worth it and they leave. That’s also part of the internal culture. No member speaking in disagreement should be shunned by leadership or AHDI staff. I don’t see a respect for disagreement – I see it labeled (as Kathy says) as stirring up trouble, or negativity, or coming from members who “just don’t understand” what the organization is trying to do.

  13. “You’ve now posted two long missives full of rationale and justifications – but you admit you aren’t terribly familiar with the by-laws. Boiled down to the essentials, you don’t really know whether or not the resolution was a violation of the by-laws.”

    The point of my post was to report what I saw when I was in attendance. You are right, I don’t know if there was a violation, and I admitted that freely.

    The remainder of my post was in response to comments posted about communication issues.

    “If you aren’t aware of any internal culture, then you can assume your participation is in alignment with the internal culture.”

    Do you mean I can’t see the forest for the trees? Do you mean that only those on the outside are capable of seeing what occurs on the inside?

    I did not state that communication problems are not occuring. I simply said that there is no internal directive that I am aware of that instructs leadership to disregard the membership. I certainly do not recall attending any meetings where the leadership was indoctrinated with methods for shutting down members’ opinions.

    “Just try being outspoken about something that is NOT in synch with the internal culture – and you’ll find out about that internal culture pretty quick.”

    You are assuming that I have never disagreed with the direction of the association and that my opinions have never been disregarded. That’s not for you to say.

  14. And one last comment that I failed to add above: I have been treated far worse on the MT forums than I have ever been treated by anyone within AHDI. I find it curious that many of the people who participate in public forums and comment on the communication problems within AHDI (criticizing how they shut out comments, disregard member comments and opinions) are the very same people that have treated me and other advocates of AHDI in the very way that they find unacceptable. I don’t see AHDI’s critics setting an example that could be followed for improving the dialog. Do you really want to talk about shutting people out of the dialog? Just try posting in favor of AHDI over at MTChat!

  15. Okay, for some reason this is not posting at the AHDI forum, perhaps I did not do it properly, or perhaps it has not cleared the moderating process, maybe Jay took a break from moderating for a while, who knows … but, in any event, I did try to post it to the AHDI forum first quite a while ago now 🙂

    (Bear in mind this is paraphrasing in case it does eventually get posted … it probably was much more PC in the other version cause I know it has to go past a censor 🙂

    “I can certainly applaud your stamina in crafting that long post, after all, I am known to be a bit long-winded, but I don’t think even I would have attempted that one. 🙂

    I don’t think anyone is quibbling with you about the fact that, yet again, the organization is stuck in the middle of a mess of its own making. Once again we are going to have to do the tippy-toe balancing act, around, below, above, the by-laws to somehow undo the mess we did do because we “weren’t thinking” and then spend a lot of unnecessary time and effort to, again, redo it all over. Time and expense that could be better spent on other things if I was asked. I don’t know about where other people work, but where I work, that “I wasn’t thinking” excuse works, once, maybe twice, but by the third time … well, you get the idea.

    Someone asked did we think this was of malicious intent? No. I don’t think folks were thinking far enough ahead for it to be. I think if we had simply let the process work the way it was supposed to, left those propositions in the order they were submitted in to be discussed and voted on in order, instead of allowing the egos to take over; letting the “who can p… farthest” atmosphere to develop; if those who said they were prepared really had been, then we would not be stuck with this mess now.

    I can sure tell you that, for me at least, it is most certainly casting a very unflattering light on the abilities of those who keep telling the membership … “trust us, we know what we are doing.”

    And that is pretty much what I put in the AHDI forum if and when it accepts it 🙂

    Nae

  16. “Do you mean I can’t see the forest for the trees? Do you mean that only those on the outside are capable of seeing what occurs on the inside?”

    Not at all – I think there are plenty of people on the inside that know what’s going on. Some of them don’t have a problem with it or are active participants. Others, for whatever reason, don’t speak out against it. And the rest are completely clueless about it because they’ve never personally encountered it and discount the experiences of those who have.

    “I did not state that communication problems are not occuring. I simply said that there is no internal directive that I am aware of that instructs leadership to disregard the membership. I certainly do not recall attending any meetings where the leadership was indoctrinated with methods for shutting down members’ opinions.”

    It doesn’t take any kind of instruction – all it takes is a few people with an agenda and for everyone else to remain silent. Hmmm… it seems to me there’s some historical reference to that sort of thing.

    As far as your comments about MT Chat – I intend to address that in another blog post.

  17. No worries sugar 🙂 But I am sure not gonna redo it. What I said in it is essentially what is here, and I know Julie won’t mind if you want to just put a note and link to it in the thread on your blog 🙂

    Nae

  18. Just a couple comments, and I know I have mentioned these to Kathy or had email exchange with Kathy about these, but I thought I’d mention them here.

    First off, I think that there is A VERY LARGE POPULATION OF PEOPLE IN THIS INDUSTRY (I.E., MT) who have no voice, even though any type of decisions made/votes taken will directly affect them (and this includes me, as my membership is one of the Associate Memberships through Benchmark KB).

    Second, in reading information on Kathy’s blog regarding the votes taken at the big hoo-haw in Texas, it strikes me that the people in charge of the voting obviously don’t feel it is necessary to follow protocol, Robert’s Rules of Order, or whatever you want to call it. They felt they could circumvent any discussion of tabling #3 by totally hopping, skipping, and jumping over resolution #2 at their own whim, NOT CARING AT ALL WHAT ANYONE ELSE THOUGHT AND NOT GIVING THE SLIGHTEST POSSIBILITY TO RESOLUTION #2 PASSING, THEREFORE MAKING RESOLUTION #3 A MOOT POINT! Instead, THEY decided to bypass resolution #2, take the vote on resolution #3 and, with its passage, make resolution #2 a moot point! (Can anybody COUNT? It’s 1, then 2, and THEN 3!)

    Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I believe that things are put in a numbered order for a good reason. There SHOULD have been a discussion and vote on resolution #2 BEFORE resolution #3 was voted upon. However, these people who were in charge made the decision for everyone else…and I call that theft, robbery, or whatever else you want to call it. THEY STOLE YOUR VOICE! For anyone attending who could have voted and would have voted to table resolution #3, THEY STOLE YOUR VOICE AND YOU SHOULD BE OUTRAGED! This COUNTRY was founded upon, among other things, freedom of expression….THOSE PEOPLE TOOK THAT FROM YOU! They are TYRANTS and should not be believed…not ONE word from their mouths should be believed. They rebuff any questions with canned responses and even go so far as to snub members who ask them, even when they have clearly had relatively close relationships in the past. We are talking BIG MONEY here AND BIG POWER. You know what they say about power, don’t you? Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    If there are many THOUSANDS of MTs (and MT students) in the United States and Canada but the paid membership of this organization is possibly only 1/3 to 1/2 of them, then do WE (the unrecognized and pretty much trampled on) who make up the members who cannot vote, hold office, etc. AGREE to let people like these who don’t even LISTEN to the paying/voting members and who STEAL THEIR VOICE think that they represent US? I think it is horribly wrong and these people should be called on their actions, legal action taken if appropriate, and they should be forced from these positions of power. I don’t care how much experience they have–they have obviously lost SOMETHING along the way. I’d be willing to bet that they probably became involved in leadership roles with the right motivation (way back when) but somewhere along the line they became tyrants, dictators, and thieves….

    SAD isn’t even an extreme enough word to describe this situation….but I am VERY upset and sad about this whole mess! As far as becoming a paying/voting member after my Associate Membership lapses (or even if I renew my Benchmark KUB after this year–and I probably will), IT WON’T HAPPEN UNTIL WE HAVE LEADERSHIP THAT I HAVE TRUST IN! It is going to take a lot of hard work on the part of leaders who replace the current leadership to regain the trust that has been lost, and to regain the RESPECT that I know has been lost. Until that happens, they can do all the recruiting they want to, but I doubt that they will have much in the way of positive results. At least with the current leadership, they aren’t going to see any membership dues coming from me!

    Note that I began working as an MT approximately 30 or so years ago in a mental health facility and then was away until just 6 years ago. Due to the policies of the “nationals,” I had to take a course to even be considered for testing at any reputable company, and I am studying for CMT at present, although I’m not sure I’ll be ready to take it the exam before the end of the year with many things going on in my life at this point. After what I’ve read online about the changes in certification, I may end up taking the other exam first due to changes in policies. The whole thing is just upsetting, and I believe a lot of very real concerns to those of us “in the line of fire” are truly NOT being represented by what is going on and what has happened in Texas.

    Again, with the current leadership…I doubt they could do a single thing to regain my faith and trust. Until the leadership consists of leaders I CAN have faith and trust in, this is one “Associate Member” who will not convert membership to a dues paying/voting status. WHAT WOULD MY VOTE MATTER ANYWAY?

  19. Sorry…looks like my post was removed. I won’t repeat it. Perhaps there were some able to read it before it was removed.

  20. The order of the resolutions was changed because the maker of the resolution was sick and not in attendance at the time the agenda was set and could not speak to the resolution. Had it gone in order, (and given the fact that it was approved with a huge margin) it makes more sense to believe that #2 would have failed and we would have moved on to #3. The delegates had all the resolutions in front of them. To say they would have voted in favor of #2 had they been given the chance to vote makes no sense in light of the overwhelming approval of #3. Resolution #3 passed with 34 yay, 1 nay and 1 abstention. If delegates were in favor of #2, they could have simply voted down #3 and then #2 would have been a moot point. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see how the order of the resolutions should have mattered. A vote in favor of one was automatically a vote against the other. Somebody tell me where my logic is flawed.

  21. There is quite some discussion (bordering on argument?) here. I had posted my viewpoint, but I guess it was too inflammatory (?) and has been removed. I will not post again, but suffice to say that I feel quite the same as Kathy, Julie and Nae; maybe the problem is that I am less “politically correct.” I am disappointed that what I had to say was removed and not given the same consideration as other peoples’ posts, with the understanding by everyone that the feelings I expressed are just exactly that…MY feelings. Not necessarily right, not necessarily wrong. I feel that my post should have the same right as anyone else’s to be placed here.

  22. Okay, I do not get this. My posts appear one second, disappear the next. I apologize for #24 as I see that my post was not removed.

  23. While the matter of the resolution #2’s author not being present when it was time for it to be presented and voted upon is, I’m sure, a fact and matter of public record, is it not possible for there to be discussion without the author being present? I didn’t in fact say that resolution #2 would have been approved, thereby negating a vote on #3 but, in my opinion, discussion by the voting members would at least have been the correct thing to do anyway. There had been so much talk about how some members were feeling left out, uninformed, and rushed…and if nothing else, it could have helped to clear the air and helped with people understanding IF and WHY resolution #3 was so very important that it could not wait to be voted on at some future date when the voting members DID feel more comfortable about this process. If, after the fact, people are STILL uncomfortable about it, then what has been accomplished other than the leadership got the result they wanted but at the expense of a lot of members who still feel left out, uninformed, and rushed. While I cannot begin to know what is in everyone else’s hearts, I do feel that there should have been discussion to allow the members their chance at asking questions, giving their opinions and concerns, and getting a “true” response rather than blowing it off just becuase the author wasn’t present. We’re not talking about court here where if you don’t show up you just lose. Approval of EITHER of these resolutions can and will affect a lot of people. In the end, it’s hard to talk about “what-ifs.”

  24. Just a quick comment, and then I’m going back on my vacation. You can all continue to discuss amongst yourselves. I actually appreciate the participation, so I don’t feel like I’m yammering. 🙂

    Sherry: Posts here are not moderated or edited. The software will hold them if they’re identified as spam for some reason, but if I check and see it’s “real,” then it’s approved and published. If you don’t see a post, try refreshing your browser (F5).

    Jay: Should I assume my post at the AHDI Lounge was also lost? Since you came here and posted a link to your discussion, I think it’s only common netiquette that you allow a link to this conversation.

  25. Thanks, Julie. Kathy had also suggested that, and it was exactly what the problem was.

    You know, for what it’s worth. We can all be angry or feel left out or whatever our feelings may be. Feelings are not right or wrong, they just ARE. For the time being and looking ahead into the future, negative feelings don’t get anywhere and don’t truly get anything done. Everybody just needs to just harness their passion to help now in doing daily what needs to be done in their lives and careers and also, if they have the time, interest and ability, to GET more involved in the association at whatever level they can. Things may not always happen in the amount of time we want, and WHAT we want may not be what we get, but life’s like that. If we could see what others sometimes refer to as “the big picture,” and I’m not just talking about the change in the MT profession but everywhere, it might just be that radical changes are happening in every profession….and change (at least initially) is a bitter pill to swallow for most people. Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, what has happened and is happening might not be disastrous, perhaps someone has a better vision of the future than I do, and just like people who don’t vote in a presidential election they/we are going to have to have a little bit of trust in the rest of those voters that the decisions that they make ARE going to affect THEM as much as they do the rest of us. I don’t really want to bring religion into this, but to me it gives new meaning to the phrase, “…let’s pray for the wisdom of our leaders.”

  26. There is no bylaw that says, “ignore the members, abuse the members, discount the members’ opinions.”

    As an “outsider” the above statement then leads me to believe it’s the people then, right? Because it seems the MTs best interests really are NOT considered and from what I’ve read members are ignored, abused, and opinions discounted. Maybe if AHDI is redoing their by-laws/governance, rules or whatever, they could go ahead and silently pass the one quoted – at least then members would be informed ahead of time.

  27. Yes, Bambi, you are right. It IS the people. AHDI is made up of the same people you find at church, at school, at work, in your PTA group…where ever you go, there are people. Some are kind, thoughtful, worthy of respect. Some are less than kind. Can AHDI monitor every word uttered by everyone who pays dues? No. Does the association talk about professionalism and communication? Yes! Have there been leadership meetings focusing on conflict resolution and communication? Yes! Are people passionate about their beliefs and opinions? YES! Does that lead them to say or do things that may be inappropriate? Yes. Have bad things happened to good people? Yes. Is that the mission and the purpose of the association? NO. Quite frankly, all of these things could be said about church, your place of employment, your synagogue. Should we disband all organizations and all the good that can come from them because organizations are made of people that make mistakes?

    The point I want people to hear is this: AHDI is made up of people just like every other organization you may be involved with, just like your family and your extended family. Some good, some not so good. To expect every member and every leader to never make a mistake is simply impossible and represents a level of expectation that is absolutely unattainable.

    I’m not making excuses or saying that we should live under grace that gives us carte blanche. We should all be accountable for our actions and apologize when we cross the line. We should all treat each other with respect regardless of the communication venue (FTF, online). But let’s get real. We live in the real world with real people that have real hurts. The “association” (?paid staff or volunteer leadership) does not have the authority to censure every member, monitor all emails, listen in on every board meeting (seriously, would you want that?). Neither does it have the resources to referee a bunch of quibbling adults. Most of the issues that occur (that are attributed to “the association”) are interactions between a few individuals, and while “the association” does not condone “unprofessional behavior” , it is not in the position to serve as counselor, mediator, or minister. Sometimes people have to put on their big girl panties and work out issues with the person they are disagreeing with.

    Bambi, have you had any personal experiences with leadership within AHDI that has been disrespectful? Or, are your opinions based on those expressed by others in cyberspace?

  28. Yes, I’ve had my own personal experiences with the organization, which is why I hung my “gung ho” banner up a long time ago.

    I belong to many professional organizations. I’m a mental health therapist as well as an MT. And I can tell you that I’m active in organizations related to therapy and while there may be good and “bad” people (I do not believe people are inherently bad), I have never seen the organization has a whole come off as unprofessional as the one representing MTs. EVER.

    I’ve also been involved in meetings over the years through various other positions, where I’ve come across those involved in the upper echelons of AAMT and witnessed first hand the intent to undercut the American MT. IMO, that’s what our “professional” organization has succeeded best at, regressing our profession, certainly not progressing it.

    Thankfully, I’ve worn many hats in the MT community and in health information and the view I see is not at all a pleasant one. There’s a line in a song that reminds me of ADHI…. “I took her 10 steps up the platform, tied a knot in the blindfold and told her to take 20 steps in one direction” Lead us, blindfold us, and then send us over the edge. Just seems fitting to me.

  29. I have had my disagreements with AHDI but is there another association or organization that is doing anything for the MT profession? Or is everyone saying we would be better off without an association?

  30. Bambi, I’m truly sorry for your bad experiences. If I had had repeatedly bad encounters, I would probably feel the same way.

    I hope I don’t sound argumentative, but can you help me connect the dots? Can you articulate exactly how you feel the organization has intentionally undercut the American MT? I really appreciate the dialog.

  31. I think Lisa asks an interesting question: Would we be better off without an association?

    Would we necessarily be any worse off without one?

    When one looks at the potential number of members worldwide versus the number of members, and particularly the number of members who actually open their own wallets and pay to belong, the answer would seem to indicate that the association has nothing to offer that these people find valuable enough to purchase with a membership. Now, you can say that they are simply unaware of the opportunity, but doesn’t that indicate an inability by the association to get the word out and make the sale?

    When one looks at the number of formerly paying members, some active and some not so much, who have drifted away, then the answer would seem to be that the association lost whatever value it had for them. I think what is troubling is that the association seems to have no clue – or even a desire to get a clue – about why this happens. Are these former members dead? Retired? Went into another line of work? Still in transcription but tired of the association’s shenanigans like this one? Would re-up in a New York minute if the association pursued other goals? Without some kind of loss prevention mechanism in place, the association cannot know whether it is a fixable problem or not; they can only, perhaps conveniently, assume that it isn’t.

    Perhaps the association’s accomplishments such as ethical best practices and dictation best practices don’t resonant because, while they sound nice, they’ve had no effect on the work life of the line MT. With spreech rec pay cuts and overseas outsourcing, is it a wonder that the line MT is worried about financial concerns? If the association can’t address these, any maybe it can’t, then is it a wonder that the line MTs don’t flock to the standard?

    I think the association once did a great deal to alert the publishing community to the MTs’ need for resources. I think the association once offered a wonderful venue for MTs to network and be educated through the local chapter system. The promise of advancing the profession, though, is another story. It’s like being a Cubs fan – there’s always next year. I still remember the AAMT president at the time telling me it was up to the CMTs themselves. Perhaps, but if that were the case, please tell me again why we need an association.

    By the way, it doesn’t take belonging to AHDI to write to your senators and representative. It doesn’t take belonging to AHDI to meet them either, although contributing to their campaigns probably helps. I live in Illinois, though, so it may be different elsewhere. It doesn’t take belonging to AHDI to respond to the government’s call for pubic comments on proposed legislation (that’s why they’re called public comments). You can do all this for free if you’re so inclined.

    And just so you know where I’m coming from, I was a 20-year CMT and a member for 22-23 years before I’d had enough. I was active in my chapters, including president and on the board. And like Margie, no one in Modesto noticed when I disappeared or when some of the long-time members I served with disappeared. But, hey, everyone is expendable, and so is the association to which we once belonged.

  32. Karen,

    What you wrote summed up exactly the choice many long-time members find themselves faced with right now. It is a well-thought out post and I am glad you wrote it 🙂

    Nae

  33. Thank you, Nae, but I have to tell you straight up that I wish I didn’t feel that way. When I joined AAMT almost 30 years ago, I met a lot of talented, interesting and generous people, some of which are now AHDI-F. I was a newbie, and I learned a lot from excellent Journal articles and local, state and national meetings. With the national meetings, I even got to see a good bit of the country over the years.

    I don’t regret doing it, but somewhere along the line the Journal seemed to deteriorate to a lot of “rah-rah” articles about AAMT, the CMT and how important MT was. The medical articles seemed more and more geared to newbies (not that they didn’t deserve articles – they were paying good money just like I was) with little of interest for a more advanced MT. At the same time, the chapter system seemed to start falling apart. As the hospitals outsourced work and the small local services were bought up or closed, the people who knew what local doctors were doing new and interesting things, would be good speakers and actually had access to them disappeared as did the free use of meeting rooms at the hospitals. As wages stagnated and even started to fall and as vacation time and sick time got lumped together and less was being awarded, it became too expensive to go to the annual meeting or, particularly in a large state, even the state meeting. Just as MT was becoming a more isolated job, face-to-face networking opportunities declined.

    I guess what finally did it for me was that I got tired of 20+ years of platitudes about how important MT was and how continuing education and a credential would make things better when things just kept getting worse. What I’m hearing now about some brave new MT world where MTs will be important because they will “validate” the record, but only if they have new skills, new training and a CMT is like deja-vu all over again. What I’m not seeing is a sample ad or job description for this great new MT job that actually lists what those new skill requirements are or what the job will actually entail. I’m not seeing sample policies and procedures that indicate how this great new job will be done. Would I see concrete information like that if I re-upped in AHDI? Why don’t I see MTSOs advertising for this kind of job – or are they and I just don’t know what they’re calling it? If I had kept up my CMT, would I be qualified for this great new job now if, indeed, it exists? What lectures would I have attended to make it so? I’ve had enough pie-in-the sky, where’s the beef?

  34. Well, I certainly can’t disagree with anything you wrote in this one either. I don’t think you or I are the only long-time members who are having these same questions .

    Nae

  35. AAMT was never about MTs, it was about management, and ADHI is even more so. I figured that out when I first started in the business in 1995 and the woman I had worked for at a hospital had never transcribed a line in her life, and she was president of the state AAMT. The whole certification process is a racket, as was their assurance that once standards were provided professional status would be given and wages would rise accordingly. We all know how that worked out, didn’t we? So here I am, 55 years old, skurrying like a gerbil on a treadmill to scratch out enough lines at 4 cents each to pay the bills and hoping I don’t get sick. I’d have to go to work at WalMart to gain any respect as an employee.

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