The American Hospital Association once again is moving to restructure the operations of its 15 personal membership groups, or PMGs, which collectively lost nearly $500,000 last year.
Last week, Christine McEntee, the AHA's executive vice president and chief operating officer, announced the unexpected resignation of Harry Bryan as vice president of the AHA's PMG division effective Oct. 25.
McEntee also announced the hiring of consulting firm Smith, Bucklin and Associates to re-examine the role of the PMGs within the AHA's organizational structure.
"The division today faces new and different challenges as the field continues to transform itself," McEntee said in an Oct. 22 memo to AHA staffers. "At any time of change, it means an opportunity to assess past progress and find ways to build a stronger future."
Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications, said the association has given the consulting firm 45 days to assess the PMG management structure and make its recommendations. Wade said it's "not on the AHA's agenda" to ultimately spin off the PMGs into independent corporations. "They are an important tie to what we're trying to accomplish," Wade said.
Reached at home, Bryan said he wasn't asked to leave by the AHA. "It was my decision," Bryan said. He declined to discuss his future plans.
Several AHA sources said a new computerized membership tracking system purchased by the association was a bust. But Bryan said those reports "were not accurate."
Wade said there was some trouble getting the system up and running but the problems largely have been ironed out. He said there was no connection between those troubles and the decision to re-examine the PMGs.
Just two years ago, the AHA reorganized its PMGs, placing them under the sole control of a newly created division led by Bryan, who had headed the AHA's personal membership group for hospital social workers. The goal of the 1994 restructuring was to dovetail the PMGs' educational activities with the AHA's policy agenda. Previously, the PMGs operated independently under the AHA umbrella.
In 1995, the latest year for which figures are publicly available, the PMGs, with a total of about 40,000 members, generated about $17.9 million in revenues for the association but incurred $18.3 million in expenses. A year earlier, the PMGs earned $417,000 for the AHA on revenues of $18.4 million.