ATA Update – June 2018

Greetings from DC, where we seem to be in a nearly perpetual monsoon!  When I joined the ATA in March, I made it my mission to seek input from across the membership on how to create a stronger and more effective ATA.  As a membership organization, our community and collective voice give us strength.  I’ve been delighted and honored to have so many of you contact me to provide your insights, helpful feedback, and many offers to help.  I’m thrilled to be speaking with so many of you and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of the recurring questions from these conversations:

What is the future of the ATA?
The ATA is at a significant juncture in its history: while we’ve enjoyed many successes in advancing tele-everything, there remain barriers to its widespread adoption. The good news is that many individuals and organizations share our goal. If you believe – like I do – that there is strength in numbers, then it is incumbent upon us to engage others in our efforts. One example of that is a new effort to work with the Association of Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) to promote our mutual goals in tele-everything. Our first blog post on the potential for telehealth to transform healthcare came out last week, with more to follow.  I see us expanding our influence as we focus on why we’re here: to ensure consumers have access to care when and where they need it and that clinicians are able to do more good for more people. And, thanks to all of you, we have insights on best practices and guidelines. We need to continue developing and disseminating those as well.

In parallel to our efforts in the larger healthcare community, we have to be clear on our value proposition to you, our members.  Just as healthcare is evolving to meet the needs of a wired and connected world, ATA must stay fresh and relevant in what we offer to our members. We’re working hard to ensure that we make that happen. For example, one positive I hear consistently is about Latoya Thomas and her work in policy. Consequently, I’m thrilled to announce that her monthly webinar – which takes place the fourth Thursday of every month at 2 pm ET – is now being expanded to include federal issues as well. Go here to register.

Who do I go to for what?
We’re working to make it easier to engage with ATA and reap the full benefits of membership to aid in your success. Across the next several months, we will revamp our website so that it is more intuitive and enables the self-guided experience you’ve asked for in finding peers for networking, to researching best practices, to renewing your membership. In the meantime, Toni Lindsey and Carmen Park are your first point of contact for all things in member benefits and Euphia Hsu Smith is your resource as we work to deepen your engagement with the ATA.   Many of you will also have an opportunity to speak with Tess Niehaus who is working with us to recruit new members. She has a strong track record with delivery systems and we’re excited to have her talk with many of you as she learns more about the ATA. In addition, we’ll confirm the schedule for SIG, council and discussion group meetings so folks know what number to call – and when. Finally, Sabrina Smith and I are always happy to respond to questions, comments and concerns.

What about EDGE? ATA2019?
Registration for EDGE is now open and it is going to be a fantastic meeting. Do plan on joining us in Austin, TX September 26 – 28. Courtney Mesmer is helping us “reimagine healthcare” by reimagining our meeting. It promises to be a great combination of sharing, experiencing and learning. She’s also working on ATA19 to ensure it provides value. And then please save the date for ATA19: April 14-16, 2019 in New Orleans. You have so many choices in terms of conferences: we want to make sure ATA19 is at the top of your list.

What about the Fellows?
Thanks to Chuck Doarn, chair of the Fellows, the Fellows have agreed to provide a formal response to the recent AHRQ report –  Telehealth for Acute and Chronic Care Consultations. Comments are due to AHRQ by June 26, 2018. Latoya is working with Chuck and has also requested input from the SIGs (through their chairs) to provide comments. Our internal deadline is June 15, 2018 so we have time to coalesce all the comments. Like the session on the Chronic Care Act, conducted at the annual meeting, this is a great way to leverage your insights and advance our collective goals.

What can you do to help?
Many of you have asked what you can do to help and whether we can provide specific guidance and feedback to guide your efforts. Thanks to the work Andrew Watson started last year, we’ve introduced a unified Membership Model. And next week, Andrew, Kristi Henderson, Sabrina Smith and I will meet with the chairs of the SIGs, councils and discussion groups to talk about what we need as “deliverables” in the coming months. All of you have suggested that it’s better to work within the goals and needs of the organization. We appreciate the willingness to do so and look forward to a productive year on that front as well.

Thank you again for all your time and suggestions. Please send an email ( or give me a call if you have specific questions or suggestions.

Ann Mond Johnson