MEMBERS, WELCOME TO THE NEW YEAR!
I hope all of you are staying safe, healthy, and happy. This past year has been quite the experience! Never has the expression, "hindsight is 20/20" been more appropriate than in these moments. Last year required all of us to change the way we do practically everything. We all had to stretch, strengthen, and push ourselves amidst an environment of continued uncertainty. Yet, we were not alone. Our friends, colleagues, and community provided the relationship support to weather this storm. As we move closer to the light at the end of the tunnel, let's not forget the connections we have.
Family is very important to me. As I am sure, it is very important to you all as well. But family is not defined by genetic bonds. All of us within ASATT and the anesthesia tech community are a family. As a family, we may have disagreements, and that is okay. This year for ASATT and the tech community, we are in a time where disagreements will be natural. However, I want to assure you ASATT, the volunteers that make up the board, and the management team, along with you, are committed to continued success.
I would like to take this opportunity to address some concerns from membership. There has been rampant misinformation on social media by individuals who either misunderstand the provided information or are outright lying to members to further their own goals.
"Keep your words soft and sweet, you never know when you may have to eat them"- Jerry Lawler
- Processing fees
- New Path Forward membership model
- ASATT BOD as paid employees
- AEG management
1. Processing fee
The processing fees will only apply to third party vendor provider CEs accrued beginning January 1, 2021. Any CEs accrued from a source other than ASATT is a third-party vendor. ASATT regional meetings, national educational conferences, and ASATT virtual webinars/regional seminars are automatically approved and stored on current members' ASATT database.
"The CE processing fee for third party commercial providers is to not dissuade you from using these alternative sources but to streamline processes better. Approximately 90% of all CEs submitted to ASATT are from third-party providers. This glut of submissions requires an inordinate amount of time to vet and verify. Unfortunately, in this process, a number of individuals have chosen to submit fraudulent CEs or CEs that clearly do not meet outlined standards. This culminates in our management company imposing overage charges for processing these exogenous CEs.
Additionally, it overly taxes the volunteers who spends hundreds of hours double-checking every CE. So, practically speaking, it helps the organization by encouraging people to earn ASATT CEs because they are already pre-vetted, so the processing is simplified. Additionally, the processing fee for third party CEs covers the extra costs and time required to vet these CEs for validity. Finally, the fee will disincentivize fraudulent attempts to submit fake CEs. The benefit to the individual processing fees for people not wanting to use ASATT is it can actually open up more variety to accepting a broader array of CEs if they meet ASATTs requirements. You can find the new fee structure on the website in certification along with the form."- Bryan Fulton, ASATT Treasurer
2. New Path Forward membership model
In 2020, we worked on ways to make the membership equitable and provide a real tangible benefit to members. While working on this project, we discovered that our former business model was not sustainable for long term professional growth, which means that we as a board needed to develop a new strategy to provide more tangible benefits while allowing ASATT to pursue larger goals for the profession. This new plan was presented in the business meeting to the membership. The "New Path Forward" will ensure sustainability and professional growth for years to come.
"The current model proposes three tiers, a monthly subscription ($20 per month), an annual fee ($200 per year), or a two-year fee ($400 every two-years). The cost to recertify for the two-year cycle is still being finalized. The ASATT BOD will be voting on this at the next meeting in January. Every fee has to be evaluated by the board and voted on; this ensures each board member provides context and ensures an equitable view of the fees and processes. A lot of discussions have been occurring on social media and this forum about how unfair this move is and that these fees are too high. To that end, the membership rates were explicitly chosen to lower the overall cost to the member and to provide tangible CEs for being a member. After many hours of research into comparable organizations and the average cost to recertify for our current professional base, ASATT learned the average technician/technologist was paying between $900-$1200 to recertify. Our goal was to offer options to members that brought that overall cost down significantly. The new model does do that. My proposal will be to have a recertification fee of between $100-$150 (proposal and has not been voted on or approved) when combined with the membership tiers, That means the cost to maintain an ASATT certification over two-years is $500-$630. Commercial CEs are those that are earned outside of ASATT, except for AHA CEs. The new membership method is to streamline your CE earning process and include more tangible benefits."
Even with the full presentation, giving all the details, some people willingly spread false and misleading information. In addition to these rumors, disseminated primarily on social media, individuals also took actions that are simply not appropriate, including:
- Making threats to ASATT BOD members.
- Attacking ASATT BOD integrity with libelous accusations.
- Falsely spreading rumors about ASATT BOD members committing crimes
- Instigating threats of bodily harm to BOD members.
There are a few members who are very vocal with their unhappiness in their profession. And have been this way for years. I would like to ask,
If you hate the profession so much, why are you still doing it?
Over the years, some individuals have dedicated their time to share their hatred for the profession and have actively encouraged individuals interested in this profession to seek alternative career paths. I have one simple question if you hate this profession so much, why not follow your own advice and change careers?
There are rules of conduct in our society.
The first amendment does not give you the right to make threats, slanderous/libelous statements, and willingly spread lies. ASATT is taking these threats seriously.
3. ASATT BOD as paid employees
The lie that BOD members serve as paid employees or garner some type of financial interest in ASATT is an accusation that has been disproved repeatedly but is one that still seems to flourish. Unfortunately, the same individuals who spread falsehoods in an attempt to raise their own profile are the ones who are last to the forum to assist. These vocal members who decry the organization frequently and spread falsehoods are the same individuals who never step up to assist ASATT when asked. For individuals who are so vocal about how far ASATT has gone astray, why do you never step up to actually help?
These people have no interest in volunteering to help ASATT or those of you who do see the benefit of ASATT. Why? Their agenda is not to further the profession or improve things; they seek to sow discord and serve themselves. I have had many conversations with some of these individuals when they had issues and needed help. Amongst the many hours of discussions, a few things rang true. When they needed help, we assisted, and they were thankful and gracious. Then at the drop of a hat, they would begin berating, threatening, and spreading falsehood about ASATT and those who took the time to assist them.
So for one final time :"Are ASATT BOD members paid employees?"
NO! WE ARE ALL VOLUNTEERS!!
We all have full-time employment, with some of us working multiple jobs in addition to volunteering for ASATT. The average BOD member spends a minimum of 25 hours a week volunteering. Personally, I work 60 plus hours a week at my job, then put in another 30 plus hours a week volunteering for ASATT. All of us on the BOD passionately dedicate our personal time, and we get tarred and feathered by a few who refuse to get involved in helping move the profession forward.
4. AEG management
ASATT has a contract with AEG, our management company.
Alex Llanes is no longer with AEG. He left in June 2020.
Our customer service specialist is Nicole Cheever
Our account specialist is Courtney Harris
Our account executive director is Amy Jurgens.
Greg Farmer Cer.A.T.
ASATT Interim President