Leading the Business of Healthcare
RCM Advisor

Quarter 2 2023 - Volume 28, ISSUE 2

A Chronology of HBMA from the Voices of Past Presidents

Special HBMA 30th Anniversary Section

By HBMA Past Presidents

James Robertson

President / 1993 – 1995

I was the first president of the association and served in that capacity for four years. This was a time of getting a fledging association off the ground, and we successfully did that through the efforts of a lot of people. The organization was born in Chicago and was originally the brainchild of J. Dennis Mock, who still means a great deal to the organization. We organized the first meeting in Chicago, not knowing if anyone would show up, and ended up with over 100 people, as I recall, from all over the country. Out of this meeting, the association was born, its first board of directors was elected, and we were off and running. Those early years were not easy, but with so many people behind it, we were able to make it through the ups and downs. The rest is history.

I salute the association for what it has grown into and for all those who have contributed to its success.

Doug Jones

President / 1996 – 1997

I brought the idea of forming a billing association to John Johnson, Executive Director of the American Collectors Association, in the spring of 1991. On October 16, 1991, I attended the ACA’s Billing Services Committee in Minneapolis where, after much discussion, I made a motion, seconded by Bob Burleigh and unanimously passed, that “the Billing Services Committee recommends to ACA’s Executive Committee that ACA form a new association to be a wholly owned subsidiary of ACA.” The name suggested and approved was the International Billing Association (IBA). This name was changed to the Healthcare Billing and Management Association (HBMA) in September 1998. Early in 1992, I bought a mailing list from Centron Data Services of some 6,000 billing services. I subsequently trimmed this list down to medical billing services, then mailed out a questionnaire. In response, I received hundreds of phone calls. Later, I participated in the IBA organizational meeting at the Omni Hotel in Chicago, thinking that there may be 50 attendees – there were over 100. While trying to get the fledgling IBA a foothold in Washington, I negotiated the first contract with a lobbyist for our association and signed it without having the funds to pay for it. I went on to establish our fund raising auctions with the help of Steve Hixson, member and auctioneer, as well as the rest of the members, who all brought something to auction off. We raised over $30,000 from our first two auctions to pay for our public relations program. I established the J. Dennis Mock Award for outstanding service, HBMA's most prestigious honor. Dennis was the vice president of ACA and served as chairman of the ACA Billing Services Committee. Ultimately, Dennis’ support was invaluable in the formation of our association. He and the first president James Robertson were the fathers of HBMA.

Dave Jakielo

President / 1997-1998

I was the first HBMA president whose full term included addressing the new HIPAA regulations. We were faced with teaching our employees about the new security and privacy standards relating to patient health data.

Thankfully, HBMA was there with educational programs that made compliance with the new rules easier to swallow. The best part of HIPAA was the Administrative Simplification Provision. What happened to that provision? Things sure aren’t simpler.

Well, it has been an interesting journey and more challenges lie ahead for us. That is why medical billing companies need to become or remain members of HBMA: to ensure they remain viable and revelant.

Chuck Barker

President / 1998-1999

My presidency started at the 1998 Annual Meeting in New Orleans. It was a great meeting, but a hurricane forced many attendees to leave early. About 15 ended up not getting out and were stranded for about four days. Despite this, we had a great auction on the last night and the meeting overall was very successful.

One of the biggest HBMA accomplishments during my presidency was the development of our working relationships with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and CMS. Our Government Relations Committee spent many hours reviewing the draft of the "Compliance Program Guidance for Third-Party Billing Companies" document. Many suggestions were made and adopted by the OIG, leading to a close working relationship with OIG and CMS.

Our board of directors expanded to 13 members, and a number of our directors who started from 1997 to 1999 ended up becoming future presidents of HBMA. They still participate in significant leadership roles within the organization.

Jean Campbell

President / 1999 – 2000

A week following the installation of the 1999/2000 board of directors, I, as president, was informed of two issues that could have brought our young and growing association to an abrupt end. First, a notice of plagiarism committed by an independent contractor serving as our Washington lobbyist, and second, an empty bank account that just a week earlier was reported to contain in excess of $500,000. The situation required a plan of action, and the sooner, the better.

I contacted James Wieland, Esq., the HBMA attorney, and shared with him what I knew. We decided to immediately convene the board of directors at his law office in Baltimore, MD to disclose these issues.

The meeting grew somber as the details of both issues were fully disclosed. By the time the meeting was adjourned that afternoon, the board had been organized as the executive committee of the organization and all the administrative and managerial duties of HBMA were assigned to individual members. We were on our way to forge the future. Let’s talk team work!

Each task assumed was a Priority One, and working in parallel, an enormous amount of investigation, discovery, and recruiting was accomplished in the subsequent six weeks. The next board meeting was held in December 1999 in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. The agenda was robust and it included a decision to contract with Capitol Associates (Bill Finerfrock, Director), as our lobbyist and HBMA’s representative in Washington, DC. We also interviewed three corporate candidates to replace our management company. These decisions were not easy, as the risk involved was great. The financial outlook of the association was still uncertain.

By the end of the year, we chose Capitol Associates as our lobbyist and Adler-Droz as our management company. Both of these choices proved to be good ones.

The president’s address I delivered at the 2000 Spring Conference in Orlando, Florida was carefully reviewed by Mr. Wieland, but I was able to express the true emotion of the situation and praise the board’s high level of involvement with the successful resolution of the crisis. I welcomed the close of the conference because I was comfortable that, during the remaining six months of my presidency, I would be privileged to implement the many additional changes that were required to safeguard HBMA against any reoccurrence of similar problems.

The fantastic board of directors:

  • Vic Glorioso, Vice President
  • Tim Maher, Treasurer
  • Brian Effron
  • David Purvis
  • Jackie Davis-Willet
  • Madelon Berger
  • Rick Conklin
  • Charles Barker
  • Robert Burleigh (consultant)

Vic Glorioso

President / 2000 – 2002

HBMA was struggling through a difficult period when I took office. During this time, we filed criminal charges against our management firm and were sued for damages caused by our public relations and lobbying firm. In January 2001, we had accounts payable of $135,000 with a potential income of only $87,500, leaving us $50,000 in debt. At our board of directors meeting in the spring of 2001 in Aspen, we were so poor that each member covered his or her own lunch tab. Finally, HBMA fired another management company – our fifth in ten years! – and began a new agreement with Brad Lund and his company, ISAM, that continues to this day.

Our 2001 fall annual meeting was postponed until December, 2001 due to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The American flag that has been present at our meetings ever since is the gift of Bob Burleigh, given to commemorate this turbulent period in our country’s existence, coincident with HBMA’s survival.

For some perspective, during this time, HBMA had fewer than 125 members attending conferences, under 100 certified members, under 200 members attending our compliance course, and only 113 members making assessment donations. Treasurer Tim Maher’s tireless efforts convinced our members to double their dues and pointed us toward solid financial footing. Coupled with vendor generosity and affinity, position papers, an email listserv and electronic information exchange, and a membership of 500, we dared to compare our impact to organizations such as AMA, MGMA, and HFMA, whose members number in the thousands. Over the years HBMA has survived and delivered.

Dave Purvis

President / 2002 - 2003

As I came into office as president of HBMA, the association was in the process of recovering from some difficult financial issues. As a result, we did a lot of soul searching about our core competencies and the directions that we needed to take to keep us on a path toward a solid future for both our finances and leadership.

What we determined was that our government relations and compliance activities were the most relevant and compelling reasons for our members to belong to HBMA. They were the activities that would solidify our future in the healthcare industry. We had been providing education to our members, but we needed to make a larger scale education program to get us on a solid financial footing. So, we expanded our educational offerings with webcasts and regional educational conferences on top of our annual conferences, with a focus on compliance and regulatory hurdles. At the same time, we worked to align our leadership, expand the board, and focus on recruiting the future leaders of HBMA. We must have been successful, because look at how far we have come. Thank you to all the past and current leaders.

We should all be proud of what we have built together!

Bob Burleigh

President / 2003 – 2004

In September 2003, I had the honor and privilege of succeeding Dave Purvis to become HBMA’s eighth president in our ten-year history. Our 2003 Annual Fall Meeting was held in Philadelphia – my hometown – and, in addition to a solid program, attendees were treated to a visit from Ben Franklin and to close access to many of America’s most historic sites. During our board meeting in Philadelphia, I established the first regularly scheduled monthly board meetings and redistributed committee leadership and oversight duties amongst the board.

In 2003 – 2004, HBMA still operated regional chapters and I personally attended all but one meeting. The 2004 Spring Conference was held in San Francisco and was enjoyed by a growing number of HBMA members and exhibitors.

Our finances were still recovering from the theft of HBMA funds by our former management company a few years earlier. Unfortunately in early 2004, despite much more rigorous controls and the use of an outside CPA firm to handle our bookkeeping and payables, we were once again victims of a dishonest employee, this time of the accounting firm. Fortunately, our prior precautions served us well, as did the special Audit Committee I appointed to conduct an independent review of these events. In the end, HBMA was “whole;” our treasurer was able to reestablish financial controls, and our newly selected CPA firm has served us well ever since.

The 2004 Annual Fall Meeting brought many logistical challenges. Our choice of a South Florida venue during hurricane season was ill-considered, despite over a decade of storm-free autumns. 2004 brought a series of back-to-back September hurricanes. HBMA had to “thread the needle” between these storms in order to hold our conference in Boca Raton. Before, during, and after our meeting, the local area, as well as many other parts of Florida, were without power, water, and passable roads. In the weeks following our conference, these storms caused many of our Florida member companies to shut down for three to ten days.

As with many, if not all HBMA presidents, what was accomplished during my year as president was the result of a team effort, notably by my fellow board members. Without their dedicated, steadfast work and commitment to the industry and our association, we would not have been able to move HBMA forward and position it for further growth and the additional improvements that came in the decade that followed. At the end of my term, I passed the president’s gavel to Tim Maher, a charter member and good friend.

Tim Maher

President / 2004 - 2005 (may he rest in peace)
By Bing Herald    

Tim Maher's HBMA presidency from 2004 to 2005 was marked by both adventure and success. During this time, the association saw changes to its regional roadshows, which went nationwide. In response to the increasing need for a focus on government relations, HBMA‘s communication channels with CMS were significantly improved and a deeper relationship was formed with them. Additionally, the HBMA.org website was greatly improved through sweeping modernization. In all, the association's focus on information sharing and communication developed substantially throughout Tim's presidency.

However, during this time, HBMA also had two rocky conferences. The attendance at the spring conference in Boca Raton, Florida exceeded 150 people, despite running almost without electricity, suffering a stifling 11 PM curfew, and offering a host of travel challenges for all involved. Not to be outdone, the fall conference had to be relocated from New Orleans to Dallas due to Hurricane Katrina. The Owners and Managers meeting (O&M) was held in Maui for the first time, and had the distinction of Bob Burleigh and Dave Jakielo doing the hula in grass skirts! The weather was perfect for that meeting and its memorable entertainment.

Throughout all this, Tim's presidency saw HBMA's annual revenue reach the $1 million mark for the first time with a record margin, securing the start of the nest egg that has given HBMA financial security.

Tim Maher was a dedicated family man, successful billing company owner, respected leader, and great friend to not only HBMA, but to all folks who knew him. In his quiet way, he served HBMA loyally for over 15 years until his untimely passing. We will never forget him.

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Bing Herald

Past President / 2005 - 2006

After serving on the HBMA board of directors for two years (2002-2004), I set my sights on a loftier goal within our association: becoming one of its past presidents. What I had learned through my time among our leadership was that once a person has given all they can to an organization, it is time to hand over the baton and step out of the way. With that goal in mind, I set out to accomplish just a few things to leave as my legacy for those to come after me.

  • Lead the organization through a strategic planning process, identifying where it wanted to take itself
  • Align the committee chairs, associated work plans, and measurement tools to the Strategic Plan
  • Activate the volunteers to serve on the committees to carry out their tasks
  • Identify the future leadership for at least four years to come

I am proud to say that with the help of Tim Maher, Sherri Dumford, Randy Roat, Ken Goodin, and the ISAM team, I believe we accomplished most of the above.

Sherri Dumford

President / 2006 – 2007

During my presidency, I undertook a number of significant and long-standing changes to the HBMA committees. I created a technology taskforce that led to our current Technology Committee. I also re-engineered HBMA's messaging and branding through a revitalization of the Public Relations Committee and assigned Andy Kokosa to lead that charge. Responding to the increasing desire for online training in the industry, I expanded the online education efforts that began when I chaired the Education Committee.

Another significant and longstanding change was to establish the first HBMA Annual Report, a vital source of organizational transparency that has been published every year since.

In 2006 and 2007, HBMA began expanding a number of our relationships with related associations, including AMA, RBMA, HASC, MGMA, and CMS. During that time, it was especially important for HBMA to build industry awareness of itself as a credible, authoritative source for information and resources related to medical billing.

Although HBMA was fiscally sound, one of my goals that we achieved was to develop policies and procedures, and checks and balances that would ensure financial viability for the organization’s long-term future. This could not have been accomplished without the work of the board and other volunteers.

Ken Goodin

President / 2008

Upon reflection, it is impossible to condense everything that our wonderful board and committees accomplished during 2008 into a brief paragraph, but there are a few highlights that I recall with a sense of pride. We raised the bar on openness and transparency at the board level by conducting our first ever “open” board meeting, in which all members were invited to attend. We had our first “Town Hall Meeting” via teleconference. In an effort to become more inclusive, we created a new category of membership called the "First Party Biller Affiliate." We significantly increased our working relationships with CMS officials, and of course, who could forget the celebration of our 15 year anniversary!

Randy Roat

President / 2009

It was my honor to follow in the footsteps of a great president, Ken Goodin, and to serve with another great leader, Scott Everson, as my vice president. The goals of our team were to improve governance through greater transparency and increased communication and to position HBMA as a credible voice to industry and government; this was my passion. It is difficult to fully communicate the activities of a vibrant organization acted upon by volunteers with limited availability. To that end, we incorporated the use of written reporting, published committee goals with monthly progress dashboards, and committee spotlights into our board meetings – all of which greatly increased board member reading requirements!

Bill Finerfrock and Barry Reiter led the effort to expand HBMA's relationship with CMS, while Andy Kokosa and his team incubated a public relations platform. Both of those initiatives enjoyed immediate successes and have evolved into the fabric of HBMA.

Scott Everson

President / 2010

2010 was a dynamic and rewarding time to be at HBMA’s helm. Building on the solid foundation left by President Roat and having a long line of wonderful predecessors, I felt my job was to “stay the course” while preparing the association for some of the most sweeping changes the healthcare industry would see in decades. With the passage of the ARRA and HITECH Acts in 2009, and with 5010 and ICD-10 looming on the horizon, HBMA and our member companies were facing tremendous new challenges and opportunities. By implementing new tools and programs to improve workflow and communication between our volunteers and staff, and by focusing more resources on the increasing role that technology would play in our industry, I hope I was able to leave the association in good hands for those who would follow. I truly enjoyed my time as president and it was a wonderful honor and privilege to work with so many great people!

Jackie Willett    

President / 2011    

As I concluded my year of having the honor of serving as HBMA’s president, I remained amazed at the level of commitment from so many HBMA members. With the expertise of the many who served on 15 committees, HBMA was able to submit comments or impact on the following:

  • RAC audits
  • 5010 transaction set transition and readiness
  •  ICD-10 transition and readiness
  • MAC issues and new transitions
  • EHR and Meaningful Use
  • Operating rules for the 835, 837, etc.
  • PECOS provider enrollment
  • Fraud and Abuse
  • Reimbursement issues and the development of commercial relationships
  • Technology advances
  • SGR
  • Accountable Care Organizations

In addition to addressing these issues, as an organization we continued to focus on providing membership value through the proactive efforts and work products of all of our committees.

Don Rodden

President / 2012

2012 was a pivotal year for HBMA. Due to the tremendous forces impacting our industry, decisions needed to be made with increasing thoughtfulness, more rapidity, and increasingly less available volunteer time.

To accomplish this, three initiatives emerged to address these imperatives:

  • Create more effective communication models
  • Empower decision making to those best qualified to execute strategies
  • Align our vision to anticipate and meet the needs of future HBMA members

I hope that history reveals the value in investing in communication, empowerment, and a renewed entrepreneurial spirit for defining, embracing, and executing HBMA’s vision and strategies.

Jud Neal

President / 2013

Exactly 10 years ago, we were celebrating 20 years as an association. During that time, much was happening in the medical industry. HBMA and the entire healthcare sector were involved in three major challenges. First, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was in full swing. Second, the medical community was moving from ICD-9 to ICD-10, and HBMA was spending considerable time preparing our members and clients to implement this major transition. Lastly, EMR/EHR and Meaningful Use was on everyone’s mind and struggling with its interpretation. On the Hill we were working with the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) and how our clients faced another threat of large cuts in reimbursement.

As president, I wanted to improve our educational offerings and elevate the brand of HBMA with our clients, government, and payor stakeholders. To that end, we were able to completely revamp the CHBME program, and added ”teeth” to it by enhancing the prerequisites and requiring that members pass a test. For these improvements, I am most proud.

Finally, during my term as president, the board tackled a major change in direction with our management company. We took a hard look at ISAM, the management company that had been handling our administrative responsibilities for years, and decided to send out an RFP to ISAM, Smith Bucklin, and other association management companies. After much work, debate, and analysis, the board passed a resolution to make a major change and hire Smith Bucklin. For the final months of 2013, our board spent much of our time transitioning to Smith Bucklin with a start date effective January 2014.

One final thought. I am very proud that your board was able to continue raising the professionalism of the organization and we have been so recognized by the government, payors, and clients.

Thanks to all the presidents who preceded me.­

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Jeanne Gilreath

President / 2014

2014 was a transformational year for HBMA. The 2013 board of directors hired a new management company to begin in 2014, along with a new executive director. Rapid changes in the RCM space required different approaches and methods to redefine HBMA’s value proposition. Membership was trending in the wrong direction for several years prior to 2014. Reduced income and uncertain attendance numbers at conferences and educational programs were additional warning signs that HBMA needed change. Not small changes or corrections; it needed to be significant, which required transformations that challenged our basic thinking.

The work to make these dramatic changes began in 2013 with the Business Strategy Task Force which I chaired in conjunction with a strategic consultant, to develop a roadmap for 2014 and three years beyond. The committee spent over 20 weeks conducting a structured in-depth examination of HBMA’s strategy, services, membership types, and how best to service member needs. The board approved the plan in July 2014 to move forward on seven strategic imperatives.

  1. Create a new vision that communicates a broader charter and clearer member benefits.
  2. Create a marketing plan for new member recruitment that increases RCM company membership and attracts new members from individuals performing business management services with healthcare providers.
  3. Offer a new membership category for individual members, broadening our capacity to grow membership and expand our industry footprint.
  4. Offer educational programs that ensure relevance and maximum value-add to the membership.
  5. Optimize our advocacy program by realigning Government Relations and Commercial Payor Relations structures to engage in additional areas and improve member communications on advocacy work products and progress.
  6. Develop new service offerings that enhance membership value.
  7. Create an association culture that supports implementation of new strategic plans and establishes processes for accountability and dynamic business strategy implementations.

As a result of these imperatives, HBMA had a restyled logo and a name change from Healthcare Billing and Management Association to Healthcare Business Management Association. HBMA’s mission, vision, and strategy were also updated to better position HBMA for the future among other strategic changes.

At that time Falcon Capital Partners, well known to HBMA, reported, “The emergence of new payment and business models, rapid adoption of EHR, and a host of other trends are forcing RCM services and technology companies to redefine their value propositions.”

I am proud to have led HBMA during this challenging year, and to this day appreciate the members of the Business Strategy Task Force and those members of the 2014 board who supported the important work that we accomplished in 2014. Happy 30th Anniversary to HBMA!

Curt Cvikota

President / 2015    

As I reminisce about my term as HBMA president back in 2015, I am struck by what has changed since then, but also by what hasn’t changed. Looking back at past emails, I see the support that members of the board and the executive team offered each other. It was a dynamic time in HBMA’s history, and we leaned on each other as we sought to do HBMA’s business and serve our membership.

While I had never actively sought to become president, I was honored and humbled by the trust and responsibility that was entrusted to me.

During my tenure, we restructured our by-laws, worked to strengthen our educational offerings, and made some strategic decisions regarding our spring and fall conferences. During my tenure, trade associations as well as the revenue cycle industry were coming under more and more pressure. We did our best to ensure that HBMA remained not only relevant to our members, but also that HBMA would continue to be the leading trade association for RCM companies. That tradition continues today.

As we face different challenges today, not only for our member companies, the one thing that hasn’t changed is how our commitment as HBMA members to our association through our engagement, as well as our fellowship with fellow members, continue to help drive HBMA forward. I can’t wait to see what the next 20 years brings.

Holly Louie

President / 2016

As I considered what to say about my year as president, the somewhat surprising conclusion is that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Although every president has wins and losses, challenges and successes, the HBMA membership always has the same asks year after year. HBMA leadership has the same challenges in meeting those asks each year. I’m not sure why, other than “value” is an individual perception and not a universal concept agreed upon by members. We have a number of members with many different value expectations, needs, and requests. The fact is that HBMA is a member led organization and not a leadership or board of directors (BOD) led association. I believed that transparency by the BOD was paramount, and I launched periodic town hall calls so members could talk to the BOD real time about the path we were on and then provide feedback on how we could improve.

Our strategic planning meeting identified three key goals to accomplish over the next three years:

  1. Compiling “big data” for benchmarking, data metrics, and enhanced credibility
  2. Leveraging our role and profile in government advocacy
  3. Clearly defining revenue cycle management and HBMA’s leading role in the industry

I believe that we are still working on those key goals seven years later.

2016 was the year of our name change. HBMA became the Healthcare Business Management Association from Healthcare Billing and Management Association. We believed billing was perceived in the industry as the only function our members handled. In reality, billing was and is only one small part of the depth and breadth of what we do.

Key topics of concern included: MIPS and APMs, CMS physician fee schedule issues, MAC problems, compliance, regulatory burdens, data analytics, growing our businesses, client expectations, business pressures, operational best practices, and streamlining operations. We are still hearing the same issues from members in 2023.

Based on very explicit member feedback about value, the BOD made changes we hoped would better meet member needs. The Education, Membership, and Certification Committees all had exciting changes and complete overhauls in member deliverables. A key goal was to focus on enhancing credibility of the CHBME designation so that it would be nationally recognized as an important credential. A member Hill Day to meet with their senators and representatives was planned in coordination with the Government Relations Committee. 25% of the compliance course attendees were first time HBMA attendees at one of our programs, including representation from a large healthcare system in Texas and an attorney from Australia.

In 2016, our members let us know that they were under significant stress in a rapidly changing industry. That’s certainly one more thing that has not slowed down! If anything, change is coming at us even faster. At that time, I said that for some, change is threatening, no matter how small. For others, it’s exciting, no matter how large. My favorite quote on the topic is from psychologist Kurt Lewin, “If you want to truly understand something, try to change it.”

Looking back, the BOD unequivocally knew that member involvement and volunteerism were the keys to HBMA’s growth and success as an organization. That is as true today as it was in 2016, and I support and encourage current and future leaders to focus on that cornerstone.

Michelle Durner

President / 2017

In 2017, HBMA was evolving along with the RCM industry. The industry wide buzz word and acronym were “value-based” and “MIPS.” Internally, HBMA was busy keeping up and the “On Pace” initiative, started in 2014, was culminating through various accomplishments within HBMA.

One of the accomplishments that HBMA saw was the name change from the Healthcare Billing and Management Association to the Healthcare Business Management Association. Six years later, I think we can all attest that RCM is dramatically more about the business of healthcare than only billing. Changing from “billing” to “business” aligned HBMA with our strategic vision and with our members’ day to day operations.

Additionally, late 2017 saw the rebranding of our publication to the RCM Advisor. The Publications Committee wanted to better reflect membership and the overall mission of HBMA while also clearly articulating the theme of content and helping HBMA stand out as a thought leader in the industry.

We changed the HBMA logo in 2017 to what we still use today. For those who don’t know, the check mark in the “M” symbolizes the role our members and the RCM industry hold within the healthcare landscape as they thoroughly investigate and check claims, while ensuring that high ethical and professional standards are being followed.

Finally, 2017 saw the development of the Data Science Committee. One of our strategic goals at the time was to “leverage member data for benchmarking, building credibility, creating a standard of excellence and as a revenue source.” The Data Science Committee was the first step in achieving that goal.

Looking back, it was a busy year and I feel like we accomplished a lot in rebranding HBMA for success, along with the ever-changing RCM industry. I hold fond memories of our monthly board calls and the amazing board members and volunteers who I served beside. I’ve always felt that one of the best values of HBMA was volunteering. Some of the friends that I made during that time are still helping me grow both personally and professionally today.

Ginger Ryder

President / 2018

I had the privilege of serving as HBMA president in 2018, which was the association’s 25th anniversary.

This was the third year of our Strategic Plan, where we reviewed and renewed our vision statement: “To be an invaluable and influential resource for healthcare revenue cycle and business management services.” This was communicated to committee chairs to use as a springboard for their work and then it was expanded to the membership. The board worked hard to communicate this vision through the entire organization, with every board member taking on the excitement and carrying it to each of the committees. It was a big endeavor and harder than I believed at the outset.

Mick Polo and I both attended the SmithBucklin Leadership Institute where I appreciated the importance of sharing your knowledge and passion with others. This is what keeps that knowledge alive. Leadership is a topic we addressed in a pre-session with committee chairs and vice-chairs, and we worked hard to develop great, new HBMA leaders. Mick carried his own passions away from these sessions and into his own presidency that followed. It was a busy year of learning and growing, but one that I remember fondly.

The Government Relations Committee and the work of Bill Finerfrock and Capitol Associates refocused their directions, to become more proactive and influence the activities of our government rather than only react to what they do. The Commercial Payor Committee held its first all-payor conference call. Four payors held individual sessions and were able to directly hear concerns from HBMA members. Then came the fall conference…

We had a hurricane that interrupted the fall conference, and it created a small disaster. We had to make last minute decisions based on grounded airplanes and closed airports and the safety of everyone. We probably didn’t get it all right, but we came together and did our best. The hurricane was not as predicted (of course), but it was a tumultuous time and we managed to secure speakers and rebook hotel rooms and reallocated resources for a re-do one month later. I had no idea that I would fly that far twice. As I reminisce about that time, it is not unlike a typical response to the changes we face in this crazy industry, every month and year over year.

My passion of aspiring to inspire others to volunteer, to lead, to work, and to share our passion is something that was especially important to me during my tenure as president. Twenty-five years was a significant milestone for HBMA, and we had no idea that the next five years would bring on even more challenges. I am proud to have been a very small part of an organization that made such a difference for me professionally and personally and will be forever grateful to have answered the invitation to lead such a valuable organization.  Thank you HBMA!

Mick Polo

President / 2019

I wish HBMA a happy 30th anniversary and share my congratulations on reaching such an incredible landmark, as well as acknowledge my appreciation for all the personal and professional growth, learning experiences, business assistance, opportunities, and especially the amazing people and friendships that I accumulated along my path to the presidency in 2019. Thank you HBMA!

As I reflect back on my term, I realize I was the last of the pre-pandemic leaders. Who knew how things would change?! But at that time, HBMA was just getting by financially and coming out of a period where we had some years of disconnect and divide amongst the board. We were working to reconnect ourselves as well as with the membership to deliver meaningful offerings and education while keeping within our budget. It was a challenging period.

The RCM industry was experiencing a growing need for many peripherals around basic operations with automation enhancements through introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a continued stress on the importance of compliance, a strong focus on tightening cyber security, and new online tools to improve patient collections and experiences. This opened the door to introducing new vendors, speakers, and educational offerings, as well as providing an enhanced level of sophistication to our members’ business needs.

By the time of our HBMA Healthcare Revenue Cycle Conference at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas in September 2019, COVID-19 was only a whisper in the international headlines but not yet a reality here. We had the best attended and most successful event in several years, which was not only a much needed financial victory, but also reignited an important spark within the membership to keep the organization going strong with a new group of inspired volunteer leaders following the cry of “HBMA IS BACK!”

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Cindy Pittmon

President / 2020

Wow, what can I say about 2020, the year of my HBMA presidency? It started with excitement and anticipation, much like waiting in line for a new theme park ride. Unfortunately, this new rollercoaster had one stomach dropping plunge after another, all at high speed, and in the dark.

As an organization, HBMA was in the best financial position we had experienced in several years. As president, I was planning to stabilize and grow our membership. A number of members were reaching retirement age and mergers and acquisitions had impacted some other members. We felt that we could make our annual conference and other educational offerings attractive through a membership outreach to increase our ranks.  

On January 9th, the World Health Organization announced that a new pneumonia-like virus had affected a few dozen people in Wuhan, China. By January 21st, a man in Washington was confirmed as the first case in the United States. On February 3rd, the US declared a public health emergency. COVID-19 was now front and center for the world.  

At HBMA, we not only had to make quick decisions about our fall conference, but our finances were in freefall, due to non-renewals of memberships. With closure of non-essential offices, cancellations of elective physician procedures and hospital usage, our members were facing reductions of procedures and revenue.

On top of that, no one was going to be able to attend our fall conference with hotels, restaurants, and flights closed or restricted. After many extensive conference calls, our board made the decision to have a virtual conference – out of necessity.

To make that happen, we began an immediate search to find a partner to facilitate a virtual conference, new territory for all of us. We were fortunate that the hotel allowed us to push our conference to 2021 and avoid cancellation penalties.

Like most associations, member registrations only cover part of the expenses of our annual meetings, and we are dependent on our industry sponsors who purchase booths in our exhibit hall and pledge support for dinners, speakers, and other activities.

As a result of these sharp revenue decreases, we were going to end the year with a negative cash flow. We asked our 2021 renewals to become an HBMA Sustainer by making direct financial contributions to HBMA to compensate for the losses in our budget. I was extremely proud of the 2020 HBMA board’s hard work, enthusiasm, and perseverance to continue HBMA’s legacy of being the preeminent authority in the RCM industry.

Emily Osetek

President / 2021

When I became the president of HBMA in 2021, we were going through the pandemic and the HBMA organization was financially in trouble. My primary objective was to identify how to make HBMA profitable again as well as to bring back past members and add new members. We accomplished both by changing our management company at the end of 2021. Our board of directors worked together to review our budget, identified what we needed in a management company, and the needs of our members, and then we began the search. After reviewing three RFPs, we selected ISAM, our former association management company. Many of the board members were not familiar with ISAM, but enough of us had the faith in ISAM to make us profitable again and it worked! In less than 12 months we were back in the black and growing the organization again.

Because of the pandemic, many RCM companies found that we needed more technology, especially since our staff were working from home. ISAM helped us to set up a spring conference focused on Innovation, and it was a success! We were able to bring key vendors to our members to help them with interfaces, BOTs, Artificial Intelligence, and much more. While we all thought we were up to date with technology, the pandemic showed us that we needed more technology as we moved into a new work environment for our staff.

I won’t tell you I enjoyed my term as president, but I can say it was challenging and we all worked together to make HBMA a much stronger organization for our members and their companies.

Jennifer Hicks

President / 2022

I served as HBMA president last year, in 2022. Our key challenges included a continuing decline of membership numbers and a management company that wasn’t doing much about it.  Members just didn’t feel there was still value in being a member of HBMA. Our overarching goal was to bring back value to the membership. I was very concerned that we could lose this association that has given so much education and countless networking opportunities to the RCM industry over the years.

I was most impressed with how our current board and past board members came together to make the very tough decision of selecting a new managing partner in ISAM while doing the full time work of a management association with volunteer hours. The board members essentially became the marketing department, speaking with members to understand why they didn’t renew and in planning and executing a successful Spring Innovation Conference. With ISAM, we created a strategic plan with initiatives to grow our membership and bring back value to every HBMA member. We held three successful in person meetings in 2022. These meetings created interest and added more meaningful education. We were able to bring back the Owners and Managers meeting with updated content and speakers.

I am proud of how our board and new management company came together to turn HBMA around. 2022 was the first year that HBMA was in the black financially for several years. We hope this partnership continues to provide pertinent educational events and networking opportunities for years to come.