Association News
APA Working to Improve Your Membership Experience
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 22 page 4-4

FIG1Thousands of hours were spent preparing for the implementation of APA's new Association Management System, and our Membership Department staff quickly realized that it was time well spent! It's been more than four months since APA "went live" with the new system, known specifically as TMA Resources Integrated Member Services Solution (TIMSS), and the Membership Department—one of the first groups of new users—quickly adapted to working in the new environment. There are many advantages to the membership component of the system, which gives staff the tools needed for more efficient work, enabling them to provide a higher quality of service to you, our members.

The Board of Trustees recently approved recommendations from the Membership Committee to automate the procedures for members who transfer between district branches, as well as member upgrades from member-in-training to general member status. Beginning in January, these automatic processes will simplify procedures that will now be uniform across all district branches and state associations (DB/SAs).

The automated process will allow our membership staff to contact residency training programs to verify residency completion, as well as verify licensure information. Members-in-training will no longer be required to submit paperwork to advance to general member status. In addition, any change in a member's preferred mailing address will trigger a change in the membership database. The member will also be notified that his or her district branch affiliation has changed. If eligible to continue membership in the former district branch, the member will be given the option to stop the automatic process. Members are not required to transfer, for example, if retired, living in an area other than where they practice, or are members of the Society of Uniformed Services Psychiatrists.

There are other exciting changes in the Membership Department, specifically in the areas of membership recruitment and retention. The Membership Department recently hired Kevin Mills for the new position of membership development manager. In this multifaceted position, Mr. Mills is responsible for all aspects of strategy development and implementation of membership recruitment campaigns, membership retention, and renewal initiatives. He will also develop and manage membership benefits and services. He will be working with district branches, as well as various member components and APA departments to identify collaborative efforts for membership recruitment and retention. He will also develop tools and resources that the district branches can use in their own recruitment efforts.

The Membership Committee has recently appointed work groups for membership recruitment and retention. These working groups will include representatives from the Assembly and the Council on Member and District Branch Relations. APA staff are working closely with them to identify short- and long-term goals and objectives.

One of APA's goals is to provide the highest level of service that consistently exceeds the expectations of our members and DB/SAs, as well the members of the public who contact us for information.

Last fall the Membership Department conducted an online survey of DB/SA staff to collect feedback on member services related to communication with DB/SA staff and membership transactions and processes. In general, most respondents agreed or strongly agreed that communication from the Membership Department was timely, concise, and informative. Most agreed or strongly agreed that membership transactions and processes are handled in a timely and accurate manner. Most also agreed or strongly agreed that the various membership and membership billing reports are meaningful and useful, are easy to read, and provided in a timely manner.

In an effort to further improve support offered to the DB/SAs, the District Branch Outreach Orientation program, developed and conducted by Amira Salinas Cranor, membership and special projects manager, was launched last year to provide membership training for new DB/SA executive staff. The training sessions are held locally, and materials pertinent to district branch membership operations are provided to give the DB/SA staff a complete overview of membership processing. Quick and accurate processing of all membership actions and better service to all current and new members have been the end result. Six DB/SA site visits have been conducted over the past year, and so far the feedback has been extremely positive. Several more visits are being planned for the fall.

We continue to look for ways to improve your membership experience and welcome your comments and suggestions. Please forward your recommendations or questions to me at medicaldirector@psych.org.▪

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