AANA members gathered to conduct the business of the Association on the first day of the Annual Meeting, Saturday, Aug. 4, at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco. After hearing reports from the AANA President, Treasurer, and Executive Director/CEO, members voted on six proposed amendments to the AANA Bylaws and Standing Rules.
After welcoming remarks from AANA President Debra Malina, CRNA, DNSc, MBA, AANA Past President Brian Thorson, CRNA, MA, lighted the candle of remembrance as the names of the 157 AANA members who have passed away in the last year appeared onscreen.
Report of President Debra Malina, CRNA, DNSc, MBA
In her report to the Business Meeting audience, President Malina provided highlights of the challenges and accomplishments of her sometimes tumultuous year as president. “ In my speech at the Banquet in Boston last year, I talked about 'permanent whitewater,' and organizations encountering novel surprises on a regular basis,” she said. “Little did I realize how prophetic those words would be.”
Meeting these challenges successfully, and implementing changes in management philosophy and execution, have resulted in a stronger, more efficient organization, according to Malina. “Long-standing silos within the AANA, relics of times past, have been broken down. Our various divisions, staff and committees are communicating and working—together—to efficiently achieve AANA’s strategic goals and objectives with more energy and synergy than could be gotten individually,” she said. “Resources are being allocated more strategically, with processes in place to assure activity alignment with the mission, vision, and objectives of the organization: such as membership services, educational opportunities, state association support, building strategic alliances, communication, leadership development, improved nondues revenue, and practice protection.”
Protecting CRNA Rights Nationwide and State by State
To answer the question of “what the AANA has done for you lately,” Malina provided an overview of the AANA’s important role in protecting the practice and reimbursement rights of CRNAs across the nation. This includes working with state and federal government agencies, as well as through the Association’s new 50-state service strategy
Over the year, the AANA worked extensively with the Federal Trade Commission to “review the strategies of professional organizations, individuals and legislation that seek to limit and oppose CRNA practice (most notably Missouri, Tennessee, and Alabama).” The AANA Washington, D.C. staff devoted many hours to working with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to avoid cuts in Medicare reimbursement, restore Medicare rural hospital CRNA “on call” services reimbursement, ensure that qualified health plan networks adhere to state and federal provider nondiscrimination provisions, and finally, restore Medicare direct reimbursement of CRNA pain management services.
Malina reported on the success of the Association’s 50-state service strategy: “Through the 50-state service strategy we are strengthening state associations with infrastructure and strategy development in the form of education, organizational assistance, assessment, strategic planning, leadership and governance guidance, and toolkits to deal with issues like anesthesiologist assistants, opt-outs and pain management. “
She congratulated the Kentucky Association of Nurse Anesthetists and the AANA State Government Affairs Division on Kentucky’s opt-out of the Federal Physician Supervision Requirement for CRNAs in April. Anesthesiologist assistants remain a cause of concern, and the AANA has dedicated staff monitoring the situation, said Malina. She noted that 1,800 AAs practice in 17 states and in D.C. “And if you don’t see your state there, hold on" she said, referring to a map projected on screen, "They are planning on coming to yours or one near you soon."
New Services/Organizational Changes Add Value for Members
In response to member feedback, a variety of new services have been implemented for members, and others will be available shortly. In the works are plans for shorter, more focused meetings, more hands-on workshops, and regional continuing education programs. On the technology and communication fronts, Malina touted the new and improved features of the AANA website, and announced that the AANA Journal is now available as a mobile application from Google, Amazon, and Apple. Malina also noted that AANA Insurance Services is working on offering a malpractice insurance policy specifically for employed CRNAs.
Reflecting the fact that the AANA is “now a $30 million a year business” and that its organizational structure will be updated in the future, Malina announced that the Board has changed the title of Executive Director Wanda Wilson, CRNA, PhD, to Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer to more accurately reflect her responsibilities and position.
Finance Committee/Division Achievements
Malina commended the work of the AANA Finance Committee, chaired by Kate Kinslow, CRNA, EdD, and the AANA Finance Division staff, headed by Ken Hoffman, MAS, CPAC, CMAP, senior director of Finance, for meeting the challenges of the year, including software changes, data migration, and pressing issues left over from prior years. "While not in any way easy, the Finance Committee, staff and Board rose to the occasion and did what had to be done in order to guarantee the mission of the AANA, protect the investment of our members, and function in a proactive manner to ensure the stability and future of the organization. I simply cannot thank all of you involved enough for going above and beyond.”
Malina reported on the strategic relationships between the AANA and its organizational affiliates, the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA), and the AANA Foundation. She told the audience that the AANA is working to ensure continued formal communication with the NBCRNA. ”While there are numerous instances in which the interests of our associations overlap, we believe it is important to have a reliable means of communication for circumstances where the interests may be divergent or additional inter-organizational communication is warranted," she said.
Malina stated that the AANA Board has asked the COA "to become visionaries: to partner with us, clinical CRNAs, educators, and our educating institutions to benchmark and streamline their processes, provide dynamic direction, reasonable guidelines, and contemporary standards that will support excellence in our programs, and allowing no opportunity, or excuses, for the existence of gaps in our educational rigor. We wholeheartedly believe the COA will meet our expectations and those of our members and their communities of interest."
Commending the AANA Foundation for its conscientious work this year and willingness to partner with the AANA in needed research and education, Malina reported that communication between the Foundation and Association has been enhanced, and their "partnership has been enhanced as never before." She then turned the microphone over to Foundation Board of Trustees Chair Bette Wildgust, CRNA, MS, MSN, who provided a status update on activities undertaken by the Foundation over the past year designed to improve efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Malina ended her report by thanking the members present and assuring them that, "Even though the year has not always been easy, and the road ahead will not be smooth, I am comfortable, and confident that we are in a better place now as an association than we were last year at this time. It is through the dedication, perseverance, and selflessness of your leaders that we are where we are. So thank you team, and thank you members for all you do for the profession and the Association."
Voting Results: Proposed Amendments to the Bylaws and Standing Rules
AANA members present voted on six proposed amendments to the AANA Bylaws and Standing Rules. The full text of the proposed amendments can be found in the July 2012 issue of the AANA NewsBulletin, or here on the AANA website. No resolutions were received at the AANA Executive Office by the May 7, 2012 deadline, and no emergency resolutions were received at the Bylaws and Resolutions Hearing on Friday, Aug. 3.
- Proposed Amendment to Article IV: Associate Membership: Passed
- Proposed Amendment to Article VIII: Associate Student Dues: Passed
- Proposed Amendment to Article XII: Elections - Official Ballot: Passed
- Proposed Amendment to Article XIII: Committees – Duties and Composition. Voting for this proposed amendment was divided into three sections.
- Proposed Amendment to Standing Rule 5, Section 1. Nomination Procedures. Voting on this proposed amendment was divided into two sections.
- Paragraph One--Qualifications as presented: Passed
- Paragraphs Two and Three: Self Nomination and Single Nomination: Passed
- Proposed Amendment to Standing Rule 5, Section 3. Ballot: Passed