New Name for the Healthcare Leader Association of Alabama Doesn’t Change its Objectives

Feb 23, 2024 at 07:43 am by kbarrettalley

By Ansley Franco

After partnering with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) for nearly 50 years, the Alabama chapter has decided to move away from the organization.

Through an affiliation agreement, Alabama has operated as an independent chapter of MGMA, a national healthcare professionals’ conglomerate, since 1976. The state chapters organize and host distinct conferences, maintain separate membership and do not share finances with the national chapter.    

In July 2023, the 43 state chapters under MGMA received a letter notifying them of a change in this affiliation arrangement. Three months later, Lisa Beard, executive director of the Healthcare Leaders Association of Alabama (HLAA), formerly MGMA of Alabama, met with National MGMA members during their conference in Nashville and was told there would be no alterations to the agreement.

“That wasn’t what we really wanted,” Beard said. “I think in the end, our Alabama chapter knew that financially, support-wise, we would be fine either way, and after analyzing the situation, we were confident that making this move was the right decision for our members.”

Following the national conference, Alabama’s MGMA Board of Directors felt it was best to move forward outside of the brand to maintain the autonomy of its association in the future. Alabama was one of 17 chapters to leave MGMA to begin a separate organization. Three state associations became subsidiaries after failing to pass a key performance indicator, and the 23 remaining organizations signed the affiliation agreement.

“Alabama is probably one of the strongest, if not the strongest state association in the country. And so for us, there was a lot to lose if we were to be taken over as a subsidiary because we feel like our value as a state cannot be replicated at the national level,” Beard said. “As we move forward, the HLAA will remain committed to the mission, objectives, and history of our member-driven and member-led association.”

Members include professionals from a healthcare management background, medical salespeople and students who can participate in several educational opportunities. The organization plans to contiue hosting bi-annual conferences with keynote speakers and specialty break-out sessions to support networking opportunities.

“I think our members are very proud of our association. And I think they know that it’s so important to their careers — what they learned, who they networked with. They want us to be successful,” Beard said. “I feel like we’ve really untied our hands in a lot of ways to be able to expand our member benefits.”

Of the MGMA state chapters, Alabama had the most local branches, with 12 in towns such as Birmingham and Cullman. Most local HLAA members meet monthly for luncheons to network with others in the same specialty.

The HLAA winter conference will be held on March 6th through the 8th in Birmingham. Their summer conference will take place a few months later in Gulf Shores.

“‘I’m proud of my board for making this decision,” Beard said. “I think it was the right choice for our members to keep our autonomy. I’m excited for this new chapter. I feel like I’ve even gotten more engaged vendors, more engaged members to really promote who we are. So I think that in Alabama, this will be nothing but a good thing.”

Sections: Business

March 2024

Mar 20, 2024 at 11:19 am by kbarrettalley

Your March 2024 Issue of Birmingham Medical News is Here!