by Julie Sylvestre, FACMPE
Fellowship within MGMA’s American College of Medical Practice Executives (ACMPE) is the highest designation one can receive for medical practice management. In the United States, there are less than 1,000 people who hold the designation. I’m thrilled to say I’m now one of them.
I’ve been a member of the national and state chapters of the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve seen the exponential benefits firsthand of their educational arm, the ACMPE and the levels of distinction that can be achieved through the organization.
Medical practices and health care facilities/organizations managed by ACMPE Fellows are historically qualify as “best practices” for financial and organizational efficiency.
It felt surreal arriving at the annual meeting in New Orleans last month. Especially when I saw my headshot among the other new fellows in the “Hall of Fame.” I couldn’t help but think about the long road I traveled to get to this point in my career. While I was there, I reflected on the 15 years between my CMPE and FACMPE designations.
Journey to FACMPE:
First Attempt at ACMPE Certification
In 2004, with my husband and then 5 year old in tow, we headed down to Rutgers in New Jersey so I could take my ACMPE Certification exam. The exam took a full day and consisted of a multiple-choice exam in the morning and an essay exam in the afternoon. Additional components for completing the process were several presentations and continuing education hours. Happily, I passed each of the processes and achieved my Certification to become one of only a few thousand folks with the CMPE designation.
I went on to work on my Fellowship requirements while concentrating on my career goals. However, more importantly, I also raised my two boys.
One component of the Fellowship process is to submit a research paper on a topic highlighting an impact in the healthcare environment. I chose to write my research paper on the areas a practice should concentrate on and the questions that a practice should explore as they are merging or selling the practice with another organization. I performed extensive research on this subject by interviewing practices throughout New England.
Sadly, the MGMA/ACMPE Fellowship Committee did not pass the paper due to the topic being more broad-based than New England. The committee requested a rewrite with the recommendation to focus on the overall national impact of this issue. I of course was discouraged with these results, and planned to work on the paper at “some later time.” As with many other good intentions, a later time never came.
Take two for FACMPE
Years passed and at the urging of my MGMA friends, I picked up the Fellowship requirements again. The paper criteria changed a bit since my first try, and now a business plan could also be submitted. As luck would have it, I was in the middle of creating a business plan for my company Comprehensive Practice Management and began discussions with my former business partner to purchase his shares to become the sole owner.
It was my desire to work towards expanding the company’s service area along with a rebrand of the company to the new name, Grey Ledge Medical Management. I looked at the Fellowship requirements with a new vigor as I was now setting the state for the company’s future. Happily, my business plan was passed by the MGMA/ACMPE Fellowship Committee in January 2019.
The ACMPE Fellowship Festivities:
Monday, Oct. 14
The first full day of the conference, Oct. 14, had many fun activities and new experiences. At noontime, my fellow – Fellows – and I met for our Convocation rehearsal. Of the 53 new Fellows, 35 of us were able to make the trek to New Orleans. It was exciting to see I was in good company with fellow Rhode Islander Jacques Wehbe from Lifespan Physician Group (LPG) in Providence.
I’m not sure our small state has ever seen 2 Fellows honored in the same year, so it was a special occurrence!
The ACMPE Fellows Convocation felt like graduation day all over again (it’s been quite awhile since the last one!). Having my name called and walking across the stage to shake hands with MGMA, Chairman of the Board, Todd Grages, MSABA, FACMPE, FACHE, and formally accept my ACMPE Fellowship was a long standing and long overdue dream of mine.
Tuesday, Oct. 15
The ACMPE Fellows Reception took place the following night in the beautiful Orpheum Theater. Thankfully, it did not suffer any structural damage from the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel several days before.
The special dinner, exclusive to ACMPE Fellows and their guests, is a way to highlight new fellows each year. I’m honored to now be a part of this distinguished group.
Wednesday, Oct. 16
To end the excitement of #MGMA19, Daymond John from my favorite TV show – Shark Tank gave the final keynote. He certainly has an inspirational and interesting story about fearless and creative determination. A lesson for us all!
Even though, #MGMA19 concluded and the festivities were over, I worked through the requirements to achieve this honor, and for that I was grateful. I look forward to cheering on the new fellows and being a part of this community.
I’m beyond excited for the future of Grey Ledge Medical Management. I can’t wait to watch my Fellowship Business Plan become a reality for my staff and clients. I’m especially appreciative of my MA RI MGMA extended family, those who helped me celebrate this achievement with me in New Orleans, and those who sent me well wishes from afar.
This new FACMPE designation is not only a testament to my own hard work, but also my staff and clients who stuck with me and supported me for 20+ years.