By Robert Nebel
Glenna Masters, president of the Atlanta Medical Group Management Association and a healthcare professional for over 20 years, recently spoke with M.D. News-Metro Atlanta Edition about the organization’s mission and status in the medical community.
M.D. News: How long have you been President of AMGMA?
Glenna Masters: I have been serving since January 1st. It is a one-year term. The President progresses through the board. They start out on the committee, then hold an office and then are president. I joined Atlanta AMGMA five years ago.
MDN: Who is involved in AMGMA?
GM: It’s mostly practice managers, practice administrators. Depending on the subject manager, they have some of the billing staff come along.
MDN: What do meetings cover?
GM: We speak about legislative, personnel and billing issues. We talk about everything related to the medical practice.
Lately we have been discussing the changes with Medicare and Medicaid and how they pertain to all of our specialties.
MDN: Any specific changes?
GM: The only thing that has been changing is a new program where the doctors are reimbursed miniscule amounts for doing a lot of paperwork.
MDN: How does your organization keep abreast of changes?
GM: We have a program committee and a board that keeps everyone aware of these changes.
MDN: What billing issues do you discuss at your meetings?
GM: We have someone come occasionally and show us the proper way to code procedures and diagnoses and things like that. Sometimes we have the payers like Medicare, Medicaid, United Health Care and Aetna demonstrate they way they operate and make attendees aware of their changes.
MDN: How has Atlanta AMGMA addressed the transition from paper to electronic billing?
GM: One of our programs was on electronic medical records. Several vendors came to display their products.
MDN: What challenges do you face as President?
GM: The biggest challenge is finding programs that are of interest to managers so that they will attend. It’s difficult because you hear the same things over and over. I try to get differing viewpoints.
Sometimes just the title of the program pulls the managers in-most of the time if it has something to do with the financial end of the practice or a personnel issue. Those are big draws.
MDN: With so many differing opinions in the medical field, are there meetings where there are a lot of sparks flying?
GM: Sometimes there is a little controversy, but nothing major has happened. We have at least one program that has a roundtable discussion with administrators and managers who bring up one topic to discuss. It works really well. We had a big crowd this year.
MDN: What are the benefits of being the group?
GM: It is the knowledge that you pick up and the networking. Whatever specialty you are in, there is always someone who is in it. It is great because you can always compare notes.
MDN: Where are the educational seminars held?
GM: Ours are at the Ashford Club at the Glenridge Connector. With Georgia 400, 285 and 85 nearby, it is accessible for many of our members.
MDN: How long have you been a practice administrator?
GM: For over 20 years. Before that I worked part-time in a medical office doing transcription and posting charges. I also stayed at home with the kids.
The AMGMA works to foster and increase knowledge of and proficiency in medical practice administration. Member benefits include educational sessions and networking meetings, access to supporting member companies, continuing education credits and discounts. Educational seminars cover a range of topics. As an example, one recent meeting titled Ways to Reduce Costs in Medical Practices featured tips and anecdotes from on how to reduce annual spending.