Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Intangible Benefits of Membership: The most important benefits we may take for granted

Anthony S. Diecidue, O.D., M.S.
POA Past President

Of course, it’s the intangibles that made membership in the POA and AOA a must for me. My time on the POA Board of Directors and as President of the POA afforded me insight into our profession; insight that revealed a whole other side to our chosen profession, a side that is vulnerable to attacks from ophthalmology, opticianry and third-party payers.

Once I understood what it means to be a legislated profession – i.e., a profession that can be changed by the passing of a bill by people who know little about what we do and who can be influenced by others – I really saw the need for organizations like the POA and AOA. Without them advocating for us, we would likely have a profession that bears little resemblance to our current one, or worse, no profession at all. Our professional associations come to our defense every day, supporting our initiatives and our ability to practice in a way that best serves the public.

In addition to that, our POA provides us with many tangible things like group discounts, services and help when we need it. Many of the programs offered to POA members not only drive patients into our offices, but also educate the public about who we are and what we do. They open doors that would normally be closed to us as a profession.

The POA and AOA both provide world-class educational opportunities for us at discounted fees. They both negotiate with third-party payers to ensure we are not left out or paid any less than any other providers. In a nutshell, they fight for us at every level, enabling us to practice at our highest educational level. Without them, we would be relegated to simple refrationists with no hope of ever expanding our ability to serve the public.

All of this and much more is why I have been a member for over 25 years.