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Fall 2006

2007 MGMA AAA Annual Conference Provides Exceptional Education and Networking Opportunity

Kelly Dennis
MBA, ACS-AP, CPC, President-Elect, MGMA AAA, Leesburg, FL

We are pleased to announce that this year’s MGMA AAA annual conference will be held April 29 – May 2, 2007 at the spectacular Four Diamond Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Seattle, WA. For those who have never attended this anesthesia practice management conference, it is one of the best in the industry. This year, due to popular member demand, we added two half-days of pain management specific practice management information as a pre-conference on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, in addition to offering a pain track throughout the concurrent sessions of the main conference. Typically attended by approximately 300 administrators, physicians, practice managers, billing service owners, consultants and others involved in advanced level anesthesiology and pain practice administration, it also provides an exceptional forum for networking and information exchange. Early in the conference we offer roundtable discussions on specific issues of interest that allow people to meet others in comparable practices or with similar concerns. We include a number of social events to provide further networking opportunities. People who have attended this meeting for many years develop friendships that provide continuing networking support throughout the year.

Once again, we have an exceptional group of speakers lined up for this year’s conference and pain management pre-conference. The pain pre-conference is scheduled to begin on Saturday, April 28th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 29th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The keynote speaker is Doug Merrill, MD from Virginia Mason Clinic located in Seattle. Dr. Merrill, a leading physician in the chronic pain management field, will share his svision in “The Future of Pain.” Other speakers include nationally renowned healthcare attorneys Vicki Myckowiak, Esq., and Jennifer Bolen, J.D., who will address fraud and abuse risk areas and compliance concepts for the pain management provider, respectively. Also, nationally known speakers, Devona Slater, CHC and Marvel J. Hammer, RN, CPC, CCS-P, ACS-PM, CHCO will discuss pain management coding, billing, and appeals. In response to member requests, this information-packed preconference was designed to meet the specific needs of our members with pain management practices.

On Monday morning, physicians who attend the conference are invited to join Dr. Craig Johnson, ASA liaison to MGMA AAA, and other colleagues for breakfast. As in past years, this “physician only” informal networking event gives physicians an opportunity to discuss current topics and exchange information pertinent to their practices. Our keynote speaker (special thanks to Tony Mira and Anesthesia Business Consultants, LLC for their generous sponsorship of this event) is Jim Bergquist, president, BizFutures. This Seattle-based consulting company has been featured on National Public Radio and has an impressive list of clients, including Microsoft and Boeing. The high energy and high impact presentation – designed to inspire and motivate employees – is fun and educational.

Other general session speakers include Mark J. Lema, MD, president, American Society of Anesthesiologists, Norman A Cohen, MD, American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Committee on Economics, and Alexander Hannenberg, MD, Vice-President Professional Affairs, ASA. Back by popular demand, nationally known health care futurist James E. Orlikoff, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., Chicago, will discuss “The Impact of Technology on the Healthcare System.”

As usual, the concurrent sessions will include many experienced speakers covering a great variety of new and timely topics. This year we will be adding a fourth option to the concurrent sessions to provide a specific pain track in the main conference as well as the pre-conference offerings. Topics to be covered in the concurrent sessions include: “Modifier Magic for Pain Management Coding,” by Marvel J. Hammer, RN, CPC, CCS-P, ACS-PM, CHCO; “General Competency – Communication Skills,” by Sara M. Larch, MSHA, FACMPE, chief operating officer, University Physicians, Inc.; “To EAR or not to EAR What you Need to Hear Before Implementing an Electronic Anesthesia Record,” by Phil Mesisca, MBA, CMPE, CEO, University of Pennsylvania Health System; “Pain Clinic Operations and Profitability,” by Devona J. Slater, CHC, CMCP; “Achieving Optimum Back Office Productivity,” by Jody Locke, vice president of anesthesia and pain management services, Anesthesia Business Consultants, LLC.

In addition to these excellent speakers, many who are members of MGMA AAA, roundtables will be moderated by members, who facilitate discussion and share their experiences on a variety of issues of interest.

Social events run the gamut from breakfast, lunch and networking receptions to a golf tournament and casual get-togethers by members. Each year, an introductory session is held for new administrators and a special reception is held prior to the opening reception for first-time attendees to help them meet people and start networking right away. Most of the key anesthesiology and pain management vendors are “on hand” as sponsors and exhibitors during the breaks to demonstrate their products and services, answer questions and solicit feedback. It provides a great forum to comparison shop and evaluate products your practice may need.

The Sheraton Seattle Hotel and Towers, the location of our 2007 meeting, is located in the city’s vibrant core and has recently undergone a 14 million dollar renovation of the lobby, restaurants, guest rooms and suites. Sheraton Seattle has been the recipient of Meetings and Conventions Gold Key Award for five consecutive years. It is conveniently located next to the sights, sounds, and experiences of one of the greatest cities in the northwest and just steps from world-famous Pike Place Market and the world-class shopping, exciting nightlife and gourmet restaurants that surround this magnificent hotel. The hotel is located at 1400 Sixth Avenue in downtown Seattle. For more information, visit

To learn more about the conference, view the brochure or to sign up yourself and/or your administrator, visit, find the appropriate dates and click on the MGMA AAA annual conference. Or you can call 1-877-ASK-MGMA and request to have a hard copy brochure mailed to you. ASA members who sign up with their administrator who is an MGMA AAA member may attend at the member rate. There is also a special rate available for non-members to include purchase of their initial membership and obtain the membership price for the conference. Please do not hesitate to contact me, or MGMA AAA president Jack Beecher,, should you have questions or need more information about the conference or any aspect of MGMA AAA membership. We hope to see you in April, 2007!!