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The American Society of Anesthesiologists is an educational, research and scientific association of physicians organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology and improve the care of the patient.


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March 1, 2013 Volume 77, Number 3
Best Practices for ASA State Component Societies ASA Is So Much More Than a Place for Members – We Help Component Societies, Too… Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. ASA President-Elect

Jason Hansen, M.S., J.D.

As President-Elect of ASA, I work daily with ASA team members at both the Park Ridge, Illinois and Washington, D.C. offices. The individuals I interact with in those offices serve as a resource for me on a wide variety of matters, ranging from governance issues to association budgetary matters to upcoming society meetings to requests for clinical research. Overall, the ASA staff collectively helps me to maintain consistent, effective communications with a huge array of entities and individuals. I could not cast such a wide net by myself. As with most anesthesiologists, my needs of the ASA team vary with my roles. I am an elected officer, but I am also a practicing anesthesiologist, professor, and advocate at both the national and state levels.

My roles have changed over the years but a constant with each is the need to keep different audiences up to date on news and issues of critical importance. Sometimes the audience is the ASA Executive Committee, sometimes it is my residents, every day it is my patients. To keep these different and very often competing audiences informed, I utilize the resources available to me through ASA. In speaking with the executive director of my state component society about ASA services, it occurred to us that my varying roles and related needs for each are similar to the ever-changing needs of the ASA state component societies. As such, I would like to review how ASA state component societies can keep their members current on news and issues by using the services available through ASA.

Technology has changed the way everyone works. In the area of advocacy, we have for the first time close to real-time information coming in from local, state and national levels on policy, legislation and regulation. ASA’s Office of Governmental and Legal Affairs serves not only as the organization’s advocacy arm but also as an information and communications clearing house. With almost each day, our advocacy and communications professionals review and report on the latest advocacy matters of importance to the members and the profession.

As a matter of practice, state component societies seeking to keep their members informed are encouraged to frequently check the ASA® NEWS & ALERTS, Advocacy Resources, and Grassroots Network sections of the ASA website. News & Alerts provides the latest news in anesthesiology and advocacy. Advocacy Resources provides the latest on the ever-changing legislative and regulatory issues. The ASA Grassroots Network provides members with legislative and regulatory information and an opportunity to get involved in the specialty’s advocacy efforts. Members are encouraged to use the services available on the Grassroots Website to watch for what is happening in Congress and to contact lawmakers about current issues. A final practice tip for component societies seeking to keep their members up to date on advocacy related matters – contact the ASA’s Washington office! Let them know the issues important to your members, and they will forward you developments as they become available.

Education and Events
Like any profession, medicine is constantly changing and this is especially true with anesthesiology. To keep members prepared for the clinical needs of tomorrow, ASA provides a number of online and in-person educational offerings. Information on ASA’s annual meeting, courses, workshops, and other events such as the ASA Legislative Conference are all available on the Education and Events section of the ASA website. Educational opportunities are continually updated, so component societies are strongly encouraged to visit this section of the website often.

Practice Management
Effective and efficient management of one’s practice is a critical component of anesthesiology. The coding and billing environment, however, is continually changing and members rely on their component societies to help them stay informed on these matters. Practice management is complex, and ASA strives to help both members and component societies stay on top of news and issues of critical importance. The Practice Management section of the ASA website is available to component societies and members alike. Component societies are strongly encouraged to share the resources and developments posted on the Practice Management page of the website with their members.

Publications and Research
The Publications and Research section is a must-visit area of the site. The material is updated frequently and provides readers with access to the latest ASA periodicals, research and other publications. There, component societies will also learn about new products such as the 2013 Coding Combo Package, the 2013 Relative Value Guide® and CROSSWALK®, practice parameters, and the Anesthesiology Continuing Education Program. Communicating with component society members begins with knowing what the members want. Alerting them to new resources through the Publications and Research section of the ASA website is a service most will certainly appreciate.

Standards, Guidelines and Statements
ASA Standards, Guidelines and Statements provide guidance to improve decision-making and promote beneficial outcomes for the practice of anesthesiology and our patients. Component society members focused on advocacy, research or practice recommendations will all find useful information on the Standards, Guidelines and Statements section. The materials on this section of the site are updated frequently, and component society members will appreciate being made aware of modifications to the standards, guidelines and statements they rely on.

Technology has and continues to improve opportunities to communicate and to foster efficiency and productivity in the work place. Whether one’s workplace is an operating room or a board room, every professional can attest to the difference in how we perform our work today versus just 10 years ago. Beyond improved efficiency, improvements with technology have also afforded component societies the opportunity to update their members faster than ever before on news and issues of critical importance. Everyone runs the risk of information overload. Using the information and resources provided through the ASA website, however, will help component societies greatly in providing their members with updates that are on point, current and useful. To keep members current, as a matter of practice, component societies are strongly encouraged to visit the ASA website sections detailed above. All are continually updated, and these resources are invaluable communications tools for keeping your members informed and providing them with the membership value they demand.

Jane C.K. Fitch, M.D. is John L. Plewes Professor and Chair with Tenure, Department of Anesthesiology, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City.

Jason Hansen, M.S., J.D. is ASA’s Director of State Affairs.

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