The Underrated Benefits of APTA Michigan Membership
I’d like to preface this article by saying that there is no single best reason for maintaining a professional membership in ATPA Michigan (APTA MI). Membership provides a list of benefits that is long and varies from person to person—and that’s okay! Today, however, I’d like to take a little time to recognize the membership benefits that I consider to be unsung heroes. The benefits, in my humble opinion, often go uncelebrated. The benefits that are typically overshadowed by some of the other, more tangible benefits our professional association provides.
If there is one thing that I have learned in the past three years by volunteering for APTA Michigan’s Membership Committee, it is that each person measures the value of our professional association differently, and one person’s reason to be an APTA MI member may be completely different than another’s. In full disclosure, my data on this subject is purely anecdotal; however, often times when I ask individuals to discuss the aspects of their APTA MI Membership they find most valuable, the most common responses I hear are things like:
1. Access to content and resources.
3. APTA MI conferences and events.
4. Networking opportunities with other professionals.
Don't get me wrong, I love and appreciate these benefits too! I’ve utilized my unlimited access to content and resources, like PTNow, Rehab Reference Center, and APTA Article Search on countless occasions. I enjoy member discounted rates for registration at conferences and continuing education courses. More than once I have used the network of professional relationships that I’ve built through this association to my advantage. Moreover, the place I’ve found within the APTA MI has helped me to feel like I’m engaged in my profession and a part of something larger than myself. I am grateful for these aspects of my membership and I understand why other members enjoy these benefits too.
Membership benefits like access to resources, attendance at conferences and networking opportunities are the aspects of APTA MI membership that we are most readily able to see, experience and utilize for ourselves. Today, however, I want to recognize three benefits that sometimes seem to go on behind the scene. These benefits may be less visible and less palpable to us than other benefits, but they are in no way less important:
- While you are enjoying the access to resources, conference, and networking opportunities, your membership dues are working to advocate for our profession’s best interests by allowing APTA MI to sit at the table with third party payers such as BCBSM and CMS to ensure that their policies are consistent with the current professional standards of practice and Michigan state law.
- Legislative Advocacy
- Additionally, your membership dues are working to give our profession a unified voice, by allowing APTA MI the ability to analyze legislation to ensure it reflects our current scope and standards of practice on both a state and national level.
- Physical Therapy Identity
- Finally, your membership dues are working to develop our profession’s identity, by allowing the ATPA MI to promote recognition of the breadth and depth of physical therapy services to the public, our consumers and other healthcare professionals.
I know these benefits may not always be something that members are able to directly see or experience as they materialize. Oftentimes, the individuals who make these benefits possible are silently at work while we are busy tending to our daily lives and focusing on our own practice. However, it is still important to acknowledge that these aspects of our membership do in fact have a direct impact on our professional practice. As a profession, we all benefit as a result of the continual efforts of our professional association to represent our best interests. Together our membership in ATPA MI creates a unified front when it comes to issues related to legislation, payment and our professional identity, which is something that as individuals we could never hope to accomplish. Once more, establishing a unified profession is one benefit that I think we can all agree is truly priceless.
So, before I leave you today, I hope you take a moment to reflect on and maybe even reconsider the value you see in your APTA MI membership. While I know that as members, we will continue to enjoy the conferences, the resources and the networking, I hope that we can also give some of the other ATPA MI member benefits the recognition that they truly deserve.