It’s hard to believe it’s been a little more than two years since our House of Delegates (HoD) has gathered in person. We were thrilled at the opportunity to convene recently in Washington, D.C., for a special meeting focused on leadership development. Quite a few new faces have joined the HOD since the pandemic began, so it was very beneficial for these new leaders to connect with our longstanding delegates to get better acquainted and engage in productive discussions on important ACA initiatives. Following are a few highlights from our time together:
ACA Executive Vice President Karen Silberman provided a brief report at the start of the meeting on ACA operations. She shared that membership has increased in recent months and is trending up compared with the last fiscal year. She also said that ACA is reaching its operational goals, such as diversifying revenue to ensure stability, making progress with a new education subscriptions program and launching a new mentorship program for Next Gen members.
Diversity and Inclusion
Finding ways to promote and support diversity at ACA has been an ongoing discussion since the HoD ratified a statement on diversity in 2018 and later established a Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. At the HoD meeting, ACA welcomed communications expert Brandon Colbert to explore leadership through the lens of diversity and inclusivity. Colbert offered guidance on ways that delegates and members can be more aware of behaviors that impede inclusivity as opposed to others that can support it and lead to greater collaboration.
Colbert suggests embracing the discomfort we may feel at times with people who are different and being intentional in our behavior. Even small changes such as making eye contact, taking the time to learn and remember people’s names, and actively listening to and affirming people when they share ideas or suggestions can go a long way in promoting inclusivity.
As part of his legislative update, ACA’s senior lobbyist John Falardeau urged delegates and members to continue to work for additional co-sponsors for the Chiropractic Medicare Modernization Act, H.R. 2654. John explained that the recent introduction of a Senate companion bill, S. 4042, has raised the visibility and viability of the Medicare bill in Congress.
But the clock is ticking. The current congressional session ends at the end of December, which means that bills in the House and Senate will expire (along with their cosponsor count). Delegates were urged to immediately contact their senators and arrange meetings with them in their home state, in-person or virtually and urge them to cosponsor S. 4042.
And while we’re focusing on legislation, let’s not forget the ACA Political Action Committee (ACA-PAC), which supports the advancement of our bill. We’ve been “all in” on Medicare for a few years, but not everyone supports the ACA-PAC. Wouldn’t it be great if we had 100% participation among all ACA members this election year? Learn more and donate to the ACA-PAC here.
Building Trust with Payers
Turning to other matters, ACA Vice President Leo Bronston, DC, provided an update on ACA’s activities to improve relationships with payers. He shared that ACA has met twice now with major payer groups, in January and May, to discuss issues of mutual concern and to brainstorm possible solutions. These meetings will continue, most likely on a yearly basis, so that we can keep this important channel of communication open, working collaboratively with payers to solve problems on behalf of DCs and their patients. “This is a long-term effort to build trust and relationships,” Dr. Bronston said.
Leadership Mapping Project
In an interactive session, delegates were asked to help identify health policy and other key organizations where chiropractic participation could be of benefit. We’re going to work on putting doctors of chiropractic in positions of influence at organizations that influence policy across health care. As part of this process, we need to determine priority areas where there are pockets of work that need to be filled by DCs who have the right skills and experiences, and who can be competitive in getting in.
Delegates met in small groups to review organizations that currently have chiropractic representation as well as those that do not. They offered feedback on groups where chiropractors have yet to engage on an advisory or leadership level. The information gathered will be reviewed to identify qualifications required for specific positions and to potentially match those with current ACA members.
As always, thank you – our members – for your support of these and all ACA initiatives. We remain committed to empowering our members to elevate the health and wellness of their communities as we lead a modern movement of chiropractic care, based on higher standards and a focus on patient outcomes.
Dr. Maiers is president of the American Chiropractic Association.