John Peters, MBA, FACHE was selected for and agreed to assume the position of Executive Director of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS) in April of this year (2014). He officially assumed the leadership role on July 1, 2014.
In the words of John J. Feldmeier, D.O., FACRO, FUHM and President of the UHMS at the time of John’s selection, “John is a young man but well known for his accomplishments and expertise in business and hyperbaric medicine. He has committed to a 150% effort to the position. I believe that we will have his services as Executive Director for years to come and with this stability and the skill sets he brings, we will best be able to face the challenges to hyperbaric medicine anticipated in the next several years to come.”
At the Society’s business meeting, which was held at the Annual Meeting this past June (2014), retiring Executive Director Dr. Peter Bennett reported that while the UHMS is healthy financially, there will be many challenges in front of us that require better positioning of the Society. He noted several future planning points that he, Mr. Peters, and the BOD had laid out for accomplishing these goals. While the Society acknowledges the challenges, Mr. Peters expressed, “I am excited about change. For an entrepreneur, change means opportunity, and I see lots of opportunity.”
LOOKING AT THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
What issues take precedence for the new Executive Director? In John Peters’ own words, “With so many issues at our doorstep, it becomes critical to prioritize which ones have immediate, mid-, and long-term impact. We have national issues, of course, like regulatory and payment concerns, but the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society is an international organization with a diverse constituency, and often, our ’local’ issues run into conflict with the needs of our international mission. Over the next period, we will seek balance and involvement of all of our constituents here in the United States and abroad. One thing is sure: We need everyone working together. We have a wonderful opportunity to focus on a global data-gathering process for indication validation and new indication research. Based on the number of research papers being submitted to the UHM Journal, we are nearing 60 percent of those being international (i.e., outside the United States). This speaks volumes as to where the research is happening. This approach will help support our U.S.-based payment issues as well as similar issues in Canada, the UK, and Australia.As far as future initiatives, look for a focus on value. This includes increasing member benefits; the implementation of a new, robust online CME program; improving communication and assistance on CAQ requirements; and more. In addition, the BOD has sanctioned the creation of a stakeholder’s advisory panel with the aim of facilitating productive communication within the industry and work toward common goals. All these actions are geared around the Society growing its position as a the pre-eminent global organization for education, research, and science in hyperbaric and undersea medicine, and maintaining its 501(c)(3) status. Please join the Society and your fellow colleagues at the Chapter Meeting taking place in your region and at the Annual Scientific Meeting—the next one will be in Montreal in 2015.”
THE TEAM’S FUTURE
Mr. Peters is working closely every day with the Board of Directors and the Society President, Dr. Jim Holm. In Holm’s words, “There is no question that things are changing. The rapid growth in hyperbaric medicine practice in the United States and worldwide has not gone unnoticed. We are being constantly evaluated by our medical peers and by the payers (government, insurance companies, and patients). We need to provide high-quality and appropriate care for our patients and have this provided by ethical and educated providers. We must have much-needed scientific endeavors to provide a basis for our specialty, and we must provide the ongoing spectrum of training required for providers and their teams. We must also embrace and support the members of our community from around the world, in both undersea medicine and hyperbaric medicine. We realize the many needs of our members to have support for regulatory and reimbursement issues, but we must recognize our limitations as a non-profit 501(c)(3) medical society. Rest assured that we will be working with various stakeholders in industry, politics, and education to work for the common good. Despite these uncertainties, I am confident that our new leadership and team members will prevail. I invite all of you to become more active in the Society and to recruit at least one new member within the year. Welcome to Team UHMS. I can’t say we can fix everything, but we will listen.”