What is a “Member” and Why Does it Matter?
It seems like a simple question with a simple answer, but in the past year, America's Blood Centers has been struggling to answer it. First, a member is a dues-paying entity. There are currently 65 members in the network (down from 78 when I joined ABC in 2002). For the official definition, we turn to the ABC Bylaws, in which an active member is defined as a US or Canadian government-licensed, non-profit community or regional blood program governed by an independent board of directors serving two or more hospitals. In reality, however, members come in a variety of shapes and forms. The current healthcare environment, which has placed blood centers under strenuous financial pressure, has led to the adoption of both traditional and innovative business models that have reshaped ABC membership. Today, 76 percent of members fit the definition above. However, the remaining 24 percent are either independently licensed affiliates, units or divisions of other members (14 percent), holding companies (five percent), or "other" (academic, hospital-based, or non-US). Nothing prevents that 14 percent from being folded into their parent company's membership, receiving the same membership benefits (minus the right to vote).
ABC has also been pondering modifying the dues structure. Presently, membership dues, which are the main source of revenue for the association, are calculated according to size. Dues have a "base" component for each blood center size category (small blood centers have a lower base payment) and a "per phlebotomy" rate (large blood centers pay a lower rate per phlebotomy). With each merger, acquisition, or partnership we lose a base payment, and revenue decreases. Yet the association continues providing the same services, and in most cases, to the same number of individuals as before. To rectify this discrepancy with our dues structure, we must first define "member." Thus, arriving at an all-inclusive definition of member is crucial to the sustainability of the organization.
For this reason, ABC's board of directors has convened a Summit on Membership, to take place in Chicago on July 20. Three ABC committees and task forces will come together to formulate a definition of member that takes into account all current business models, but also allows for expansion. Simultaneously, participants will agree on a new dues structure that is fair and provides ABC with the financial resources to successfully represent your interests and deliver on our strategic plan. To hear the outcome of the Summit and have your voice heard, attend the ABC Members' Meeting during the Summer Meeting in Philadelphia.
Matt Granato, MBA, Chief Operating Officer;firstname.lastname@example.org