The Year Ahead at AHRA


By Debra A. Lopez, CRA, FAHRA

January 2010 — Happy New Year, everyone!  Another year and another decade seem to have just flown by. As I am writing this, Congress is coming close to passing the Healthcare Reform bill. The passing of this bill will bring many changes to the healthcare environment. I suspect it will take many months for the experts to figure out how they think the new reforms will affect the delivery of and payment for care, and then many more months for the healthcare entities where our membership works to figure out what corresponding system changes may need to be made. Added to these changes, we as imaging leaders are constantly challenged with the changes associated with new technology and information systems. One thing is for certain: our workloads will surely not decrease, and there will be a lot of information we will need to keep up with in order to be successful at our jobs.  Luckily, you belong to an association which can provide you with many tools and the information you will need to help you manage your department(s). The List Server continues to be a great resource to our members.  It has always amazed me how quick people are to help out fellow members when they post questions about a current personnel problem, a coding procedure that is new to them, an upcoming Joint Commission survey, or countless other topics. As we work to understand these new changes in healthcare, our members will continue to help each other. 

Our 2010 spring conference will be held in late February in San Diego, CA, and is titled “Embracing the Future in a Climate of Change.” Running concurrently with the advanced track will be another basic leadership track. The basic track has been given several times in the past, and it is still going strong and receiving very favorable marks from attendees. The AHRA Board of Directors wanted to make sure this program continued to be top notch, so we created a Curriculum Committee, currently chaired by Robbie Edge. During our fall board meeting, we approved a new AHRA policy on speaker certification, which was drafted by the Curriculum Committee. It spells out the process for evaluating and certifying all speakers for the basic leadership track, as well as the CRA workshop.

Did someone say CRA? The AHRA Board of Directors recently reviewed the history, original business plan, and the current state of the CRA program.  With the full support of the RACC, we concluded that it was time to update the CRA exam. The RACC has formed a CRA Exam Task Force, and has been diligently working on a plan to write new exam content that will be based on the latest and best practices in imaging management. AHRA’s professional development textbook series and a limited number of additional materials selected by the Task Force will serve as the foundation for the exam questions. The goal is to have a new psychometrically validated CRA exam prior to the AHRA 2010 Annual Meeting. As you probably know, AHRA has published 4 excellent radiology management textbooks. The fifth book of the series, Operations Management in Radiology, is slated for release this year.  Upon recommendation of AHRA staff, we are looking at repurposing the content of our textbooks for use on our Web site and other venues – eg, making available individual textbook chapters on our Web site.

It’s going to be a little chilly in California tonight. I heard the temperatures may drop into the 30s. I understand that is nothing compared to the weather you folks out in Minnesota, New York, the Dakotas, or those other chilly places may be getting, but it is all a matter of perspective. In most of California, we don’t know what a snowplow looks like or how to drive on black ice. So stay safe wherever you are! Just curl up in front of the fire with Radiology Management or an AHRA textbook and prepare to join the CRA ranks!

And now, please meet another fabulous member of the AHRA staff, Susan Hamilton.

Name: Susan H. Hamilton

AHRA Department: Marketing Director, Marketing, Membership

Hometown: Marlborough, MA

Family: My husband and 2 children (of the 4-legged, furry kind) live in a wonderful lake community west of Boston. We love our community and are very active in it. I have 2 sisters, a brother, 2 nieces, 2 nephews (even 2 great nephews).  My parents are snowbirds, living in Florida and New Hampshire.  They just celebrated their 60th anniversary in December. 

School: I received my bachelor’s degree from Drake University in Des Moines, IA, with a major in journalism and a minor in marketing.  Recently I went back to school full time for 6 months to get a certification in e-commerce.

Interests: Anything outside I love, from gardening to hiking and kayaking.  I love to cook, travel, read a good suspense thriller, listen to music, and go to the movies with my husband.  One of my most favorite things to do is go to my family’s summer place in the mountains of New Hampshire: hike the trails and pick the wild blueberries, which are abundant on our property. Last year I even made wine from the blueberries (which I am currently enjoying)!  My husband and I are taking a painting class at the start of 2010; he’s an artist of sorts, however the jury is out on my “artistic” skills! 


Deb Lopez, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2009-2010 AHRA Board of Directors.  She lives in San Jose, CA and can be reached at debannlopez@pacbell.net.

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