practice management

5 Organizations that Fight for Pediatricians

Pediatricians take pride in helping others: families, communities, and especially children can count on their doctor to advocate for their health and wellbeing. The support systems out there to help you are filled with both colleagues and experts ready and willing to help you and your practice achieve professional success. Whether you want to start a new business, get paid fairly, or just ask for advice, here are 5 pediatric partners that are designed to support pediatricians.

We spoke to Dr. Chris Peltier, MD FAAP, president-elect of the Ohio chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics, who offered his insights into the support systems that he’d most recommend for independent pediatricians looking for a helping hand. Find Dr. Peltier on Twitter.

1. Your State AAP Chapter 

Your state’s chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics is one of the most accessible sources for education, support, and advocacy. Your state’s chapter works in conjunction with state officials as well as the larger AAP national body to make changes that affect the lives of kids and communities, but they also offer support for pediatricians. 

Dr. Peltier is of course a big supporter of the resources that state AAP chapters offer. As the president-elect of the Ohio chapter, he explains that his role in the chapter leadership is three-fold: to provide Ohio’s pediatricians with educational, quality improvement, and legislative resources to improve the lives of children and of pediatricians. Dr. Peltier acknowledges that Ohio’s chapter has the privilege of being one of the country’s largest, and says that “We're very lucky to have the staff and the board and the members that we do.”

As well as offering pediatricians individual professional support, your AAP chapter is how your practice can join state and national conversations about issues that affect pediatricians, including compensation, payers, burnout, and much more. 

Joining chapter initiatives can offer opportunities a practice might not be able to access on their own, such as participation in a study using new technologies, or the latest training to help introduce new initiatives to your practice. For example, Dr. Peltier reveals that his practice, Pediatric Associates of Mt Carmel in Cincinnati, OH, used the assistance of a state QI program in order to introduce contraception to their practice. 

“I mean, we get MOC credit,” Dr. Peltier says of the QI project’s benefits, “But I think I was really drawn by sort of choosing programs where I think we identified gaps in our practice. So, even though my practice has been around for 50 years, we have never really done contraception in our practice, not from a moral or a philosophical thing. It was just, our practice was in the 70's when it was started, it was just not something that really was done, and the practice just unfortunately never evolved. Last year the Ohio AAP through a program funded by Merck did a contraception and Nexplanon QI project we participated in. So, we are now all comfortably prescribing contraception in our office, and a couple of our doctors have learned to do Nexplanon insertion. So, families love that, right? We no longer have to refer those families to a gynecologist.”

There are also leadership and advocacy opportunities for those who would like to help run their chapter. If you’re searching for a professional mentor, want to join Quality Improvement initiatives, become a better leader, or simply want to learn more about how a payer’s rules work in your state, your state chapter is a great resource. There are chapters for every U.S. state, as well as chapters for Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and 2 chapters for pediatricians in the uniformed services (east and west).

2. Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM)

The AAP’s Section on Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) is a subgroup of independent pediatricians who face similar challenges, joys, and hopes for running a private practice. SOAPM offers a community for pediatricians running their own practices while maintaining excellent mentorship, advice, and leadership resources, both informal and formal. It is currently chaired by Dr. Suzanne Berman, MD FAAP.

By becoming a member of SOAPM, physicians can access the invaluable insights of their colleagues both state-wide and nationally on business, administration, and management issues. Past topics include everything from professional referrals, to how much to pay a new nurse, to clinical feedback on vaccine syncope, to sharing policies on child custody cases.

SOAPM’s mission is “all members of the [AAP] can attain and sustain professional fulfillment in administration and practice management. Through the recognition of best practices, educational opportunities, and the establishment of an open forum for discussion and dissemination of practical, effective strategies, SOAPM will enable its membership to improve practice management in pediatrics.” 

3. AAP Payer Advocacy Advisory Committee (PAAC)

Did you know that there’s a committee at the AAP designed exclusively to advocate for issues surrounding payers? It’s called the AAP Payer Advocacy Advisory Committee (PAAC) and it exists to fight for pediatricians’ fair compensation. Currently it is chaired by Dr. Susan Kressly, MD FAAP, who said in a course for the 2019 AAP Conference & Exhibition: 

“Pediatricians all deserve adequate payment for the services they deliver to the patients of their community. Understanding the rules, how to advocate for your practice, and where to look for resources and partners in this work ensures that we have the resources to provide high-quality care to the families of our communities.”

PAAC is a resource for pediatricians designed to help mediate discussions between physicians and payers when things seem to be going nowhere. Whether a claim was denied, paid inappropriately, or your practice believes the policy should be different, PAAC is the larger body who can take action on your behalf. PAAC can also offer pediatricians education and knowledge that will help them better understand important billing concepts such as Medically Unlikely Edit (MUE) and Maximum Frequency per Day (MFD), how to negotiate contracts, and offer support.

PAAC is just one of many of the AAP’s committees that advocate for pediatricians’ work and the health of kids everywhere. Dr. Peltier says that inGet in touch with PAAC via the AAP here.

4. Around the World with #Tweetiatricians

Sometimes, pediatricians need not only support, but a rapid defense team as prepared to fight for them as pediatricians are to fight for kids. Shots Heard Around the World is an organization that responds to online attacks on pediatricians and practices on social media, review sites like Yelp, and pediatric practice websites. 

Negative reviews or online spam attacks can be damaging to your reputation, morale, and spread misinformation and fear among your community. Since online viral attacks are random and usually unpredictable, Dr. Todd Wolynn of Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh, PA co-founded Shots Heard Around the World to act as a response to the type of online attacks that once overwhelmed his practice.

Dr. Peltier says that thankfully, he has never had to take advantage of the organization’s services, but he is a big fan of the type of work that Shots Heard offers: the online support  brings pediatricians to the forefront of social media and online communities, both to help inform, education, and uplift kids and families, but also support, empower, and mentor other pediatricians in their quest to offer excellent care to children.

5. PCC

PCC is more than an EHR -- we’re a pediatric-focused software and services company whose mission statement is to remove the obstacles that keep pediatricians from practicing medicine. PCC’s focus is on addressing the many practice challenges independent pediatricians face and we’re proud supporters of the physicians and experts working to make pediatric medicine a better place.

Via webinars, events like the annual Users’ Conference, and by reaching out to our world-class team of experts across PCC, pediatricians can solve both the daily challenges of running a practice with an EHR that helps you spend more time with patients and less time on a screen, and to help you take positive steps towards your practice’s successful future with support for everything from starting a drive-thru clinic, understanding the CURES Act, or starting a brand-new pediatric practice.

Dr. Peltier says that like many other items on this list, community support is a key source of support for his practice. “I think that's one of the things that drew us to choosing PCC as our EHR vendor,” he says, “All of the practice management support and the community. And again, there's definitely a lot of overlap, right? I mean, a lot of PCC users are present in SOAPM, in payer advocacy, state chapters, the Twitter community -- you definitely see a strong thread of PCC users in that.”

Pediatricians: You’re Not Alone

No matter what you’re dealing with -- burnout, partner issues, compensation worries, payor troubles, professional questions, or simply a desire to get your community the latest and greatest of pediatric healthcare -- there are resources designed to help. 

Dr. Peltier recommends that pediatricians collaborate with local healthcare networks like children’s hospitals, health clinics, or the county health department. These local health providers are not only healthy competition to inspire your practice to grow, but also a source for support. Dr. Peltier suggests meeting with your local hospital’s specialists so that your practice can learn when referrals are necessary, and reaching out to your local health department to coordinate community efforts such as COVID-19 vaccinations.

“It’s important for us to have support,” he says. “Whether it’s groups like SOAPM, PAAC… most AAP chapters have a pediatric care council. It’s nice to have a community, and it blends nicely into the Twitter community -- you support each other, offer advice, keep each other going, give support, remembering you're not in this alone.”

Want to learn more about becoming a part of a pediatric community? You can learn more about Dr. Todd Wolynn of Shots Heard Around the World and how he uses social media to connect to families and market his practice in his webinar with PCC’s Chip Hart. Learn how to succeed as a 21st-century pediatrician: fight misinformation, engage with young parents online, and be a voice for kids.

Watch the webinar

Allie Squires

Allie Squires is PCC's Marketing Content Writer and editor of The Independent Pediatrician. She holds a master's in Professional Writing from NYU.