Membership Is a Mission for Society Leader
Rajeev Kumar, MD, FACP, CMD, the Society’s secretary and chair of the Membership Committee, never tires of talking about the organization to his colleagues. “I usually get two reactions. There are people who are unaware of the organization and its member benefits but are excited to hear about them. Then there are our members, especially those who have attended an annual conference, who are converts for life,” he says. Either way, Society membership “feels like coming home to a big family.”
He often asks potential members, “What would make your work easier? What is causing you frustration? What would you like to do better?” In many cases, he says, people will talk about billing and coding, understanding and staying up-to-date on regulatory issues, reducing readmissions, and other issues. They may say that they are under stress because they don’t know how to cope with bundles or they are frustrated by MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System). Whatever their issues or concerns, he says, the Society has tools, resources, publications, and programs that can help.
“The scope, breadth, and width of what we stand for has literally exploded in the last few years. As a result, the Society is attracting practitioners from across the entire continuum,” says Dr. Kumar. He notes that a wider variety of professionals—from nurse practitioners and physician assistants to directors of nursing, pharmacists, hospitalists, and others—are finding a professional home in the Society.
“The landscape is changing—all clinicians are involved throughout the spectrum of long-term care,” he says. “Members really like the family atmosphere in the Society. You get to know subject matter experts, and if you have a question you can reach out to them at any time.” He adds that he has often contacted various Society leaders and “no one has ever turned me down on a request or ‘ask.’ It is a beautiful thing.”
In addition to the annual conference, which is considered the premier source of post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) medicine education and information, practitioners are attracted by member benefits such as the Practice Group Network; the real-time, interactive Society Forum, insightful and cutting-edge webinars that are free for members, and the ability to pursue education and certification programming online.
Promoting Society membership is more than just a volunteer mission for Dr. Kumar; it is a personal pleasure. “The Society is my second family. I’ve made so many friends and connections here. It has helped me to live my professional life to the fullest and provided me with the information to be a good clinician and medical director. The Society has removed a lot of hurdles to fair, adequate reimbursement and made my work financially more rewarding as well.”
When he’s not volunteering for the Society, teaching, writing, or practicing medicine, Dr. Kumar writes poetry “for fun.” He says that not many people know about his hobby, adding that his poems don’t have a particular theme. “I seize random thoughts that come to mind and let my poetic spirit loose. It’s relaxing—kind of like meditation,” he explains. He has published some of his work in local community magazines in the Chicago area as well as in other publications.