Being an institutional member of the American Hospital Association will become more expensive next year.
After the AHA's fourth straight year of declining revenues, its board of trustees voted earlier this month to increase the organization's dues by 2.5% in the coming year (Nov. 16, p. 4).
That move could generate as much as $1.4 million in new money for the Chicago-based hospital trade group, based on 1997 figures.
The dues hike is the first since 1995, said Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications.
Annual AHA dues assessments are based on a member organization's total expenses, so the amount varies per member.
The dues increase means 168-bed Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital, Tarpon Springs, Fla., will have to pay an extra $425 next year. The hospital already pays $17,000 in annual dues, said Joseph Kiefer, the hospital's administrator.
"I never really like to see an increase in dues," Kiefer said. "But I do feel they are providing a very useful service for this hospital and other hospitals in this country."
John Bluford, chief executive officer of Minneapolis' 462-bed Hennepin County Medical Center, echoed that sentiment.
Hennepin County Medical Center, which pays $50,000 in annual AHA dues, will see an increase of $1,250.
"It's reasonably negligible, from my point of view, based on the value of the services we get from there," Bluford said.
The AHA, which has undergone significant downsizing, needed an infusion of dues revenues to maintain the strong advocacy role that members demand, said AHA board Chairman John King, who is president and chief executive officer of Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health System.
The AHA's 25-member board met Nov. 12-13 in Chicago.
In 1997 the AHA's revenues sank 5% to $75.4 million. Accompanying the decline in total revenues has been a three-year slide in dues revenues (Aug. 24, p. 2). In 1997 the AHA collected $56.3 million in dues.
The AHA has about 4,700 institutional members, down from 1991 when it had as many as 5,900.
In addition to the dues increase, the AHA board approved a plan to disband the organization's 219-member House of Delegates.
Ironically, because the change requires a change in the bylaws, the House of Delegates must give final approval to the plan.
The House of Delegates is scheduled to vote by mail in the coming weeks. The change would be effective in January.
The AHA has said that doing away with the House of Delegates eliminates duplication in the organization (Oct. 26, p. 36).
In other AHA news, the name of the AHA's newest for-profit company was changed recently.
Formerly called Health InfoSource, the company now will be called Health Forum.
The San Francisco-based company was created in September by the merger of the AHA's publishing and data subsidiaries with the San Francisco-based Healthcare Forum (Aug. 31, p. 2).
James Orlikoff, a well-known consultant on healthcare governance, will work with the new company to develop leadership programs, as well as products and services. He also will work as an editorial adviser to Trustee magazine, which is published monthly by the new company.
Orlikoff, who is working on a consulting basis, will maintain his post as president of his Chicago-based firm, Orlikoff and Associates.