An Interview with Past President: Dave Rothhaas


We talked with past president, Dave Rothhaas, to get his perspective about his time with NORM. Pictures above are Dave and his wife, Gloria.

When/how long were you president?   

Over the 10 years with NORM, I have been Secretary, Vice President and President. I was President for one year after the transition from the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organization (CSRO). I was also elected President of NORM Ventures when it was established and currently hold that position as we continue to establish relationships with vendors that benefit NORM and its members.

Can you tell us about how the transition from CSRO to NORM happened? 

The transition was initiated really at the request from pharma, as a way to improve the funding of the organization. Prior to that CSRO would share the funding they received with NORM, and CSRO was responsible for any and all expenses that NORM generated.

By becoming our own organization, we were able to approach pharma and receive our funding directly. We also were able to receive funding from multiple sources within the pharma companies that were not available to CSRO. Without that support, we would not be the organization we are today.

Once NORM began, were there any obstacles? Do you have any memories about these and how the group worked to overcome them?

As we kicked off as a separate entity, we had numerous hurdles. From funding, setting up our own banking structure, to establishing our own identity as an independent organization, to establishing the website and the related problems that come with any IT venture.

With the tremendous support of the Board and Tammy Bulger, we were able to partner with CSRO for meetings at ACR, to acquire funding commitments, to make contacts with the pharma and the medical services community, established the ground rules that govern our membership and establish the listserv that really cemented our identity with our members and continues to be one of our better achievements.

After NORM was on its own, who helped move it forward? What do you remember about those times?

After NORM went on its own, the Board and Tammy were the catalyst for the change and growth of NORM. With the support of Tom Foster, our attorney, we were able to stabilize the foundation and structure of NORM and NORM Ventures. There were many people involved but a special thanks to Walter “Rai” McElroy for his support and his insight into how NORM and NORM Ventures would be structured and funding handled.

I would also personally thank Tammy whose commitment to NORM never wavered through all of the ups and downs we were going through and without her support and effort NORM would not be where it is today.

Could you tell us a couple unique experiences about your time as president?

I am not sure that there were unique experiences I would say it was more a kaleidoscope of events. The conversion to a standalone entity was and will always be one of the most time consuming issue I have ever undertaken in my professional life. The time (500+ hours) of my professional/personal life was quite a shock, but a great experience that I will always remember.

I want to thank my Employer David R Mandel MD for allowing me the time and resources to be available to deal with the multitude of issue’s that popped up, and also a special thank you to my spouse Gloria and my family for tolerating me while this conversion took place.

Could you tell us any funny memories with NORM?

Trying without success to learn how to use Twitter, the online app for the conference and watching fellow board members as we tried learning this new technology!

Do you have anything else you’d like to say about watching NORM grow and/or your time as president? 

I would say that my time with NORM as a member and a board member was a great personal and professional experience that I will not forget. I have been able to meet some fantastic people, including Board members and their spouses, Tammy Bulger, Ginny Inman, Committee Members and general members of NORM as well as many of the Medical Industry Professional that we interact with!

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  • As a speaker at the first ad hoc meeting of rheumatology practice managers gathered in a single small room at its infancy a decade ago, I’m amazed to see how NORM has blossomed into a high energy organization of depth and professional meetings with parallel break-out symposia between plenary sessions. NORM has truly come of age. This is where the “business” of rheumatology gets learned. The ”guildmanship” for rheumatology practice management is now strong.- Paul H. Caldron, DO, FACP, FACR, MBA, Arizona Arthritis and Rheumatology Associates
  • In a time of demanding changes in the management of medical practices in the US, NORM has been a lifesaver to the community of Rheumatology practices.  NORM has allowed our practice to stay ahead of the many demands of CMS and others payors and has ensured that our practice remains cognizant of new issues that arise in HIPPA compliance, human resources and medical billing to name a few. Sending our Practice Manager to NORM's conferences has been cost-effective and beneficial to our practice because she returns to our office with an abundance of information that otherwise would have taken months to compile. Every Rheumatology practice that wishes to stay on top of emerging issues in practice management should consider sending a member of their staff to NORM's conference.- Michael S. Rosen M.D., Chester County Rheumatology PC
  • Thanks to all those wonderful people in the NORM Network who respond to emails, offering their advice, experience, time, and support ... I haven't even been a member a full year yet and I am amazed at the dedication of everyone who responds to helping via emails and the NORM Organization itself! I have barely had a chance to explore the resources and I have yet to really dive into requests for help still I am silently learning so much and do occasionally offer what I can! Thank you all!- Cheryl Piambino, Kenneth E. Bresky, DO

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