The most challenging job for the National Organization of Rheumatology Managers’ (NORM) Membership Committee is making the first contact with a practice. Once that contact has been made, and the committee member has the opportunity to explain all of the benefits of membership, the rest is easy.
A NORM membership is about giving value back to our practices while striving to educate and support our members. The bang for your buck is huge—membership to NORM is only $150 per calendar year. I could write a book and still not fully explain all of the benefits available to your rheumatology practice. I will mention a few of these benefits so you can understand what you get for such a nominal fee.
- Countless opportunities to network with experienced rheumatology managers across the United States through our Community Forum and Annual Conference
- Education, mentoring, and support for success through our webinars, website, and Members’ Only Educational Portal, with educational training tools on practice workflow and rheumatic diseases, as well as a library of forms
- An automatic NORM Ventures’ Cornerstone GPO membership through Metro Medical/Cardinal Health, which offers access to discounts on many products and services that can help to lower operating costs (go to www.cornerstonepartnersgpo.com/gpo-value-services/ for more information)
- The opportunity for your coders to receive their Certified in Rheumatology Coder (CRHC) credential. This test is offered to the first 25 coders who sign up each year and it is certified through the AACP, formerly called the American Academy of Professional Coders. The cost of the test, study guide, online practice test, coding books (ie, Current Procedural Terminology; International Statistical Classification of Diseases, Tenth Edition; and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System), 7 hours of webinar training, up to 2 nights in a hotel, and the in-person half-day review session on examination day is all paid for by NORM. The estimated cost of this benefit is $2500 per applicant
- In 2018, for the first time, we are offering an all-day bootcamp for up to 25 managers who have <3 years of experience in rheumatology (view here). This bootcamp will provide attendees with the knowledge needed to manage a rheumatology practice and infusion suite. It will be offered free of charge on the day before our annual conference
- Each year, we host an amazing conference where we offer up-to-date information that managers can use to benefit their practices. Attendees of the conference also enjoy numerous opportunities to network with their colleagues. The fee to attend ranges between $75 and $150, depending on the date of registration; this fee also covers meals during the conference
- The NORM Membership Committee holds a reception for new members and first-time attendees at the beginning of the Annual Conference to welcome them and offer guidance on navigating the conference so they can take advantage of all we have to offer.
The NORM Membership Committee works very hard to search out new members. Our goal will not be reached until every rheumatology practice across the United States has heard of NORM. We have used the American College of Rheumatology’s directory, and enlisted our pharma representatives, as well as our current members. We have also made contacts through state rheumatology societies and speaker programs.
Our greatest challenge has been in the smaller states where there are very few rheumatologists in private practice. Most rheumatology practices in these states are within large hospital settings, and we feel that NORM could benefit their managers if we had access to them. We are still trying to determine the best way to reach them.
The NORM Membership Committee members are Teresa Curry, Office Manager, Rheumatology Associates of North Jersey, Teaneck; Messina Gurrola, Practice Administrator, Albuquerque Center for Rheumatology, NM; Savonna Stanton, Practice Administrator, Carolinas Specialty Care, and Owner, Sa’Vonna Staton & Associates, Charlotte, NC; Michelle Owen, Daily Operations Manager, Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, FL, and Co-Chair, NORM Membership Committee; Judy Stovall, Practice Administrator, North East Medical Group, Arthritis and Rheumatism, Trumball, CT; Shari Wilson, Office Manager, Columbus Arthritis Center, OH; Mary Jo Wideman, Past Practice Manager, Albuquerque Center for Rheumatology, NM; Kaylha Mcgee, Office Manager, Arthritis Center, Bridgeton, MO; Ethel Owen, Practice Administrator, Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of Palm Beach, FL, and Immediate Past President, NORM; and myself, Donnie Craig, CMOM, NORM Treasurer, and Chair, NORM Membership Committee.
We are dedicated in our quest to connect with our counterparts across the United States. Members of our committee have spent countless hours on the phone and the Internet and their hard work has paid off—NORM membership is now >450 members in 42 states!
If you are reading this article and have not yet joined NORM, please visit our website at www.normgroup.org and click on the “Contact” button to request more information.