Clinical Kit 101 - APA: Our Organisation, Their Job

Is the APA an Association of Members or a Business to make Money?

The APA needs to determine if it primarily is a membership organization providing services to members or a business, making a profit. A membership organization needs to be financially responsible, but the focus in on member services. Current APA actions indicate a process of cross subsidies within aspects of the APA, which is resulting in confusion to members who are being excluded from the APA by these cross subsidy actions.

As a financial member, the InMotion publication would seem to fall under the member service banner (there is no additional fee as is with InTouch or Sports publications). In it relevant health news is disseminated and there are opportunities for members and non-members to advertise; jobs, courses, rooms to rent and equipment for sale. InMotion sells advertisements to offset the cost of formatting, printing and distribution. InMotion is in the business of selling advertisements, not in the business of picking winners and losers. For the APA executive to restrict InMotion advertisements on the basis that they are deemed to be competing with a separate project the APA has, is restricting APA members from promoting their own business, so they can stay viable and remain APA members. The InMotion publication is a member's service, and members rate highly access to professional development. It would be logical to consider FREE advertising of professional development conducted by members for members, as they have already paid for InMotion in their annual fees. Non members should pay market rates for advertisements.

Limiting advertisements of members to restrict competition is a conflict of member's interest. In the same way, not renting APA facilities to APA members is a restraint of trade against APA members. Each APA facility is 'owned' in a small part by each APA member, when they financially join the APA. That the APA is restricting APA members from fairly using 'their' facilities, is both restrictive on members professional development and financially irresponsible, due to loss of APA rental income.

Underlying these issues is cross subsidies. The APA executive is proposing to expand the professional development platform for the singularly expressed reason of making more money.

"The expectations of the CEO for the professional development division is that we will grow revenue to $5M over the coming years." James Fitzpatrick General Manager, Professional Development and Member Groups.

This is a business statement pure and simply. Where the confusion arises, is that the APA executive are using member services (InMotion, member email lists) and member facilities to promote their professional development agenda. In this way the APA executive are trying to make their professional development program viable by controlling a monopoly. This will be at the expense of some members who also conduct professional development courses and all members, as they will be basically 'captive' to the APA via ignorance and lack of alternative information.

This is problematic, as business choices are now impacting on members and the services they are receiving. Put simply, APA executive are employees of APA members. The APA constitution has the National Advisory Council (NAC) providing policy recommendations to the Board, with both bodies having members that are elected to their positions. Most contacted NAC representatives were unaware of this restrictive agenda being placed upon APA members. We need to have a situation where the APA executive DOES NOT make radical decisions, that places the APA in a monopoly position over its own members.

It is clear the APA executive have made a poor judgement call on this issue and they need to acknowledge this mistake to move forward. It has damaged member's confidence in our association and some have even cancelled memberships as a result. It would be appropriate therefore to;

  • Immediately apologise to members for the stress that has occurred, as a result of this poor decision
  • Immediately reverse the decisions preventing members from advertising in APA publications and hiring APA facilities
  • Agree to provide members with 'one stop shopping' for course advertisements - both those supplied by the APA and those supplied by APA members

Keep in the loop

With the recent change in direction at the APA, it looks likely that AAP Education will be unable to advertise through InMotion or other APA publications any more. For this reason we will be primarily posting up to date course changes, short pieces and links of clinical importance onto our FaceBook page. Please take a second to LIKE this page via this LINK and in this way stay up to date.

Clinical pieces will continue to be emailed fortnightly via the Clinical Kits newsletter.