Research Article
Issue Date: November/December 2017
Published Online: November 15, 2017
Updated: April 30, 2020
AOTA 2017 Annual Business Meeting
Article Information
Advocacy / Autism/Autism Spectrum Disorder / Cardiopulmonary Conditions / Early Intervention / Ethics / Geriatrics/Productive Aging / Education of OTs and OTAs / Long-Term Care/Skilled Nursing Facilities / Mental Health / Pediatric Evaluation and Intervention / Professional Issues / School-Based Practice / The Association
Research Article   |   November 15, 2017
AOTA 2017 Annual Business Meeting
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 2017, Vol. 71, 7112420020.
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, November 2017, Vol. 71, 7112420020.
President Amy Lamb welcomed members and called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m.
  • The President introduced those seated on the dais: Fred Somers, Executive Director; Nicholas Hantzes, Legal Counsel; Debra Young, Director; Melissa Tilton, Director; Kimberly Hartmann, Director; Keren Brown Wilson, Consumer Advisor; Denise Chisholm, Director; Wendy Hildenbrand, Director; Gloria Frolek Clark, Director; Wendy Coster, Chair, American Occupational Therapy Foundation; Debi Hinerfeld, Speaker, Representative Assembly; Patrick Bloom, Treasurer; Shawn Phipps, Vice President; and Kathleen Foley, Secretary.

  • Secretary Kathleen Foley called the roll of the states and announced that a quorum was reached. Forty-four election areas were represented.

  • Secretary Foley announced the volunteer members of the Minutes Review Committee: Dianne Simons (VA), Ashley Fecht (NV), Jaclyn Schwartz (FL), Laurel Cargill Radley (NC), and Jessica Bolduc (ME).

  • Secretary Foley moved for adoption of the Agenda and Standing Rules for the meeting. President Lamb asked for changes and/or additions to the agenda; there being none, the motion was adopted.

  • President Lamb announced that written reports from the President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer were submitted and included in the Annual Business Meeting Report booklet. The following written reports were submitted and posted on the Association website: Commission on Practice (COP); Commission on Education (COE); Ethics Commission (EC); Commission on Continuing Competence and Professional Development (CCCPD); Bylaws, Policies, and Procedures Committee (BPPC); Volunteer Leadership Development Committee (VLDC); Special Interest Sections Council (SISC); Affiliated State Association Presidents (ASAP); Assembly of Student Delegates (ASD); American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC); Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE); Delegate to the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT); Representative Assembly (RA); and American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF). The floor was opened for questions and comments; there were none. The reports will be filed.

  • The following individuals gave brief verbal reports:

    • – Shawn Phipps, Vice President, reported on the strategic priorities—advocacy, quality, public awareness, and membership. A reimbursement coding initiative included an increase in valuation for occupational therapy (OT). Behavioral health grant funding sources now recognize and include OT services. Legislative efforts continue toward repealing the outpatient therapy cap, ensuring OT is included in skilled nursing facility and other bundled payment systems, and establishing license portability. A quality agenda has been developed, and results include OT appointments to national boards and the formation of expert task groups to work on payer recognition/policy, practice improvement, knowledge dissemination, measurement development/science, and education. In the past year, OT has been the focus of 912 news outlet stories. AOTA membership has increased by 7%. The floor was opened for questions and comments:
      • ■ Regina Michael Campbell (TX) identified a need for an educational program for consumers to advocate for their own services. Chief Public Affairs Officer Chris Metzler responded, indicating the AOTA website Legislative Action Center is open to all—not just members. She provided an overview of respective advocacy efforts and noted that the Board includes a consumer member who provides assistance.
      • ■ Ingrid Franc (LA) asked for the number of licensed OTs and whether AOTA is working with the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) and the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) on productivity issues. Executive Director Fred Somers reported that there are approximately 200,000 OT practitioners, with an additional 10,000 entering each year. President Lamb indicated that the association meets with APTA and ASHA to discuss productivity as well as other issues.
      • ■ Mary J. Hager (WV) recognized Heather Parsons, Director of Federal Affairs, and the staff as well as the State Affairs group for their presentations and resources.
      • ■ Rachel Nelson (NM) thanked the State Affairs group for assistance with the behavioral health language for their state practice act update.
    • – Patrick Bloom, Treasurer, provided an overview of the financial status of the Association through fiscal year 2016. Concluding his term of service, he thanked the membership for electing him to the position and for the opportunity to work with the Multicultural, Diversity, and Inclusion (MDI) Network leaders. He encouraged members to run for leadership positions in the Association. The floor was opened for questions and comments:
      • ■ Mary Evert (CA) indicated that the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) Centennial float in the Rose Parade brought national awareness to OT. She requested that AOTA contribute funds toward the remaining debt incurred by OTAC. President Lamb and Executive Director Somers responded that OTAC received support from AOTA for their fundraising efforts with marketing support and access to AOTA members to raise funds for the OTAC Centennial float; other states were similarly supported in their initiatives. AOTA had the broader responsibility to strategically plan and fund Centennial celebration initiatives on a national level.
      • ■ Claudia Miller (OH) requested exploring a way to reduce student Conference fees; fewer students were able to attend secondary to no Expo-only registration option. President Lamb stated that the student rate was unchanged from 2016; the Expo-only option was eliminated because of misuse in previous years. Executive Director Somers reported that the student rate is lower than other comparable associations’ student conference fees.
      • ■ Sandy Hanebrink (SC) encouraged AOTA to improve accessibility of all products. Executive Director Somers summarized the Association’s accessibility accomplishments and indicated that the Board and staff continue to address and improve accessibility in products and services on an ongoing basis.
      • ■ Penny Kyler (MD) requested a reason for not providing money to OTAC for the float. President Lamb expressed her appreciation to OTAC and commended them for the success of their float. OTAC approached the Board during the planning stage and requested access to the membership for their float fundraising efforts, which AOTA has provided along with marketing support for the past several years. AOTA had established an ad hoc committee of the AOTA Board to plan Association-related Centennial events; resources were allocated to implement the plan. Executive Director Somers indicated that AOTA is mindful that other states were also holding events.
      • ■ Barb Schell (GA) asked for a review of the budget to appropriately allocate monies for all state Centennial events.
      • ■ Tim McGrath (DC) suggested that members have a choice to opt out of receiving AJOT in print. Chris Bluhm, Chief Operating Officer (COO), responded that this is a choice; the staff is looking to develop online renewal only as a future option.
      • ■ Heather Kitching (CA) recognized the accessibility of President Lamb and AOTA during the float planning; she learned a lot from the process and thanked all of the state associations for their support. She encouraged AOTA to invest more in ASAP and state associations to develop leaders. President Lamb is currently working with the staff to support the needs of the state associations, especially in the areas of health care reform.
      • ■ Chris Burba (Thomas Jefferson University student) suggested providing all electronic documents to reduce expenses. Executive Director Somers explained that some members prefer hard copies; however, other options continue to be explored with the goal to meet member needs.
      • ■ Joan Sevigny Cramer (CT) expressed the need for a formal communication method for the state associations to request assistance from AOTA. Executive Director Somers described the substantial support provided, including a full complement of staff dedicated to state affairs, including monitoring legislation, providing regular policy updates, and sponsoring the 2-day annual ASAP meeting to identify other needs.
      • ■ Dianne Trickey (NY) spoke of her concern over the membership gap and ways to gain new members. Executive Director Somers and COO Bluhm discussed efforts, including a survey of needs, to retain members and initiatives to reengage former members. Membership is currently 21% of practitioners—consistent with other professional organizations. President Lamb encouraged attendees to reach out to nonmembers when they return home.
      • ■ Amy Sullivan (MA) reiterated the financial burden for students and new practitioners to attend Conference.
      • ■ Robbie Levy (NY) described a state issue regarding declining reimbursement for pediatric OT services, resulting in many closing their private practices and children not receiving adequate services. President Lamb and Chief Public Affairs Officer Metzler indicated their awareness and encouraged advocacy with state legislators, as AOTA is unable to control price; they are working on reimbursement nationally. Local OTs must meet with legislators and tell their OT success stories.
      • ■ Regina Michael Campbell (TX) requested a breakdown of membership numbers and that the financial report be posted prior to the Annual Business Meeting. COO Bluhm responded that membership numbers are available on the website; Executive Director Somers stated that reports for all Board functions are published quarterly on the website.
      • ■ Evelyn Terrell (FL) emphasized concern about sustainability of pediatric practitioners, especially related to Medicaid funding, and her willingness to assist in efforts. President Lamb directed members to communicate their experiences to State Affairs staff.
      • ■ Kelly Stone (GA) provided an additional example of pediatric service issue delay because of approval problems. President Lamb encouraged members to seek assistance from AOTA for strategies regarding billing codes.
    • – Debi Hinerfeld, Speaker of the RA, provided a summary of the activities of the RA, including the face-to-face meeting held just prior to Conference. Motions adopted included the consent agenda, Reaffirmation of Commitment to Occupation-Based Practice, revised motion for educational tools and supports to develop cultural competence and humility skills, creation of an Academic Fieldwork Coordinators Leadership Council, and revised motion for an ad hoc committee on OT’s role in reducing opioid drug abuse. Defeated motions were an ad hoc committee on feeding, eating, and swallowing and the societal statement on sustainability. The floor was opened for questions and comments:
      • ■ Penny Kyler (MD) asked how the newly adopted diversity motion differs from current documents. Speaker Hinerfeld stated that this one was based on suggestions from the MDI Network and Coalition of OT Advocates for Diversity (COTAD) and includes cultural sensitivity.
      • ■ Kari Tanta (WA) requested the reason for the defeat of the feeding, eating, and swallowing motion. Speaker Hinerfeld replied that the intent of the motion was state-based rather than national and therefore outside the domain of the RA.
      • ■ Richard Bookwalter (CA) expressed that the medication management materials restrict hand therapists from the use of topical application of medication such as dexamethasone. The materials are for client education on managing their own medications.
      • ■ Kitty Reed (TX) voiced her concern that AOTA already had an official document that addressed the feeding, eating, and swallowing motion. Speaker Hinerfeld stated that the motion was defeated.
      • ■ Cristina Reyes Smith (SC), Adam Pearson (MO), Natasha Smet (CO), and Angela Davis (AL) recognized Patrick Bloom, Treasurer and AOTA Board Diversity Champion, and Karen Smith, Practice Associate, for their work with the MDI Network. They urged AOTA to continue with the diversity work; the group looks forward to continuing the collaboration.
  • President Lamb called on Tim Wolf, Chairperson of the VLDC, to give the results of the 2017 general election. Results were as follows: Karen Sames, Treasurer; Donna Costa, Board Director; Sheri Montgomery, Board Director; Julie Dorsey, Commission on Practice Chairperson-Elect; Anne McDonald, Ethics Commission Chairperson-Elect; Kelly Crawford, Administration and Management SIS Chairperson; Anne Cronin, Developmental Disabilities SIS Chairperson; and Lisa Jaegers, Work and Industry SIS Chairperson.

  • VLDC Chairperson Wolf announced the call for nominations for the 2018 general election; positions available are President-Elect, Vice President, Board Director (2), Commission on Education Chairperson-Elect, OTA Representative-Elect, Early Intervention & School SIS Chairperson, Home and Community Health SIS Chairperson, and Mental Health SIS Chairperson.

  • President Lamb led the newly elected Board members in the ceremonial oath of office.

  • President Lamb opened the floor to new business, comments, and questions:

    • – Janie Scott (MD) requested that the ceremonial oath reflect the language in the most recent Code of Ethics. She also thanked the AOTA staff and Board for their service.
    • – Laura Nagel (WI) asked that the Association consider data sharing of membership information to the state associations and suggested a box on the AOTA membership form. President Lamb suggested conferring with COO Bluhm.
    • – Sandy Hanebrink (SC) stated that there is a need to capture additional membership-related data on diversity and SIS membership to be shared with other groups. She also expressed opposition to the proposal that the Technology SIS be discontinued. Executive Director Somers indicated that data are limited by individual members unwilling to share specific information. President Lamb reported that the SIS reorganization is still in the discussion phase.
    • – Catherine Drazen (MO) reported that early intervention providers and others are using OT language, which could be considered encroachment on our profession. President Lamb encouraged sharing state-specific practice issues with the AOTA State Affairs staff.
  • Brittany Robertson (NC) won the drawing for 1 year of free AOTA membership.

  • President Lamb adjourned the meeting at 1:02 p.m.