Make HTM Great Again, ASHE Mull Collaboration
On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, representatives from Make HTM Great Again, the South Carolina non-for-profit HTM association, had a conference call with task force members of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) Board of Directors and paid leadership. The purpose of the call was to form a relationship and explore options for collaboration and partnership between the HTM profession and ASHE.
Pat Lynch, Make HTM Great Again founder and Leah Lough, consultant and former Executive Vice President at AAMI, were joined by Russ Harbaugh (2017 ASHE president), Bradley Taylor (2018 ASHE president), Dean Pufahl (2019 ASHE president), P.J. Andrus (ASHE Executive Director), Tim Adams (ASHE Director of Leadership Development), and Keith Deline (ASHE Board member).
“Our 1 hour discussion covered many topics but was cut short by time restraints,” Lynch says. “There seemed to be a genuine attitude and desire to discuss how HTM and ASHE can move toward a much closer relationship. What that relationship will look like remains unclear,” Lynch added.
Task force members shared some interesting and notable facts about ASHE’s membership. Currently, 3.5% of its members are responsible for, or have oversight of, the HTM function in their facilities. Approximately 400 ASHE members hold HTM-related job titles. Four of ASHE board members identify their responsibilities as HTM related.
A key question that stemmed from ASHE’s August Board meeting was and raised by the task force was, “What does HTM want from ASHE?” Lynch told task force members that Make HTM Great Again desires collaboration in the following areas:
- A national organization to link and coordinate the efforts of all its local and regional societies.
- Advocating important positions and issues to the public, the FDA, state, federal and local governments, and manufacturers.
- Addressing and solving the major problems threatening healthcare, hospitals, patients, and the HTM profession as a whole.
- Recognizing the value of HTM in the workplace and the general public.
- Streamlining communication to consumers, members, and other healthcare delivery stakeholders.
Lynch also voiced his desire to monitor state legislatures for pending bills that would limit, restrict, or modify the rights of hospitals to select service options. Task force members explained that they already monitor state legislative activity via chapters and coordinate actions through their national Advocacy Liaison. Further, the Liaison holds a quarterly conference call and publishes a newsletter.
ASHE task force members were receptive to these areas of collaboration and would welcome an exchange of new ideas, input, and ways to address issues that affect the future of both HTM and facility managers. “Understandably, they expressed their obligation to conduct some due diligence to assure that the increase in membership revenue would support the cost of meeting the needs of the HTM profession – a valid business approach,” Lynch says.
ASHE Chapter Model
During the call, it was revealed that ASHE chapters operate as independent organizations. Each chapter signs a “CHAPTER AGREEMENT” with ASHE in order to serve as an ASHE representative in a specific geographic area, such as a metro area, a state, or a multi-state region. Also, each chapter has Strategic Goals and Strategic Imperatives which are reported to and coordinated with each other and the national office.
A Couple of Challenges:
One item not discussed on the call was membership collaboration. It is important to note that the ASHE membership model differs significantly from the typical HTM model. The HTM model identifies membership by job title, regardless of employer type (e.g., hospital, manufacturer, ISO). The ASHE model, on the other hand, identifies membership solely by employer type and bestows voting and Board positions only to members that are hospital-employed. This philosophical difference must be resolved if and when Make HTM Great Again and ASHE seriously consider joining forces on a membership structure.
Also, ASHE must weigh the costs and the benefits to support HTM members’ needs. Although ASHE could realize additional income under an HTM membership structure, the ASHE Board must be cautious about the impact that it would have on the organization’s resources.
The ASHE task force plans to discuss the alignment and feasibility of welcoming HTM into ASHE. Another call between Make HTM Great Again and ASHE leadership is currently in the works.