I kept getting the warning emails like these from the American Academy of Family Practice:
Don’t let your membership be canceled. Pay your dues.
For only $685 a year (a price that has climbed since I started), I could be in their good graces. My best friend and former medical partner always thought of it as a rip-off but we were employed and our hospital paid this fee so we didn’t care. I hadn’t seen him since this August, since I moved, but recently caught up with him and talked about it. What was the benefit of being in the AAFP? We couldn’t think of anything other than the CME exams from the journals and the easy aggregation of the CME credits in one place. The latter was pretty cool in 1994 when computer programs were in their infancy. Nowadays there has got to be a free app for that.
So I Iet my membership lapse. I am self-employed and $685 is a lot. Then I decided that I am not going to the AAFP annual conference (Scientific Assembly), even though it is a very close to me this year, because that would be a few grand more. I also didn’t want to see the same grinning faces there telling me “All is well! All is well!” like Kevin Bacon in Animal House.
One day after my expiration date, I received an email with the following subject line “Your AAFP membership has been canceled”. How sweet was that, huh? The body of the email was as follows:
Reinstate your membership today
I regret to inform you that your membership in the AAFP has been canceled for nonpayment of dues.
If you believe that your membership was canceled in error, or you wish to reinstate your membership, please contact us immediately at (800) 274-xxxx.
The AAFP will continue to advocate for family medicine and the interests of our members and their patients. We would welcome the opportunity to serve you again.
Elaine Jastram Conrad, CAE
Director, Membership Division
And that was that. I thought about it and realized how out of touch these people are. A good company would tell me the over benefit of keeping this membership. They would explain the dramatic difference their organization makes to my life and tell me “what is in it for me?” They would then list their accomplishments to show their credibility and give me a real reason to believe and pay. Does anybody think that email did that?
I have been a member of the AAFP for 20 years. I was tossed away one day after my membership expired. I don’t think I will join again unless someone tells me what I am missing by not doing so? Before you say they represent my views, let me remind you that this organization embraces P4P, quality indicators, ACOs, the ACA, militant LELTs, and snubs its nose at Direct Primary Care. Not exactly my views.