(SAN DIEGO) Long thought to be an urban legend, the so-called “Secret A.H.I.P. Society” has moved into the spotlight to recruit new members, it was announced Friday.
“If you have good ideas, we want to hear from you,” said spokesperson Derek Bridges in prepared remarks. “There is no such thing as a dumb answer. There are only dumb questions.”
The move follows a May 16 vote of the society’s Upper Council, to address what it perceives to be an “historically significant” shift toward value-based healthcare. The modern organization dates from 1912, though its roots reach back to 1866.
According to its own documents, the Secret A.H.I.P. Society was founded in the wake of the Civil War, during which a lack of HCC reconciliation nearly crippled healthcare on both sides, with the exceptions of Rhode Island and Hawaii. President Abraham Lincoln, responding to Gen. Ulysses Grant’s field reports decrying HCCs on the front, defined the problem in one of his famous “tall tales.”
“My Dear General,” he wrote to Grant, “you describe well the Dilemma of Reconc’ltn but You over-credit my powers &c. Why I could as easily close the Cumberland Gap!!”
The matter was a significant point of agreement between Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee at Appomattox. In 1886, after he became president, Grant invited naval, railroad and “medicament” underwriters to gather in Washington for the purpose of organizing. The resulting society decried popular carnival “medicine shows” and called for increased hierarchical condition categories. At the time, the categories were 1 and 2.
It was quickly seen that progress demanded additional categories beyond No. 1 (“living”) and No. 2 (“not at all well”). In light of wartime experience, one more category was hotly debated – No. 3 (“try cutting it off). Following its veto, membership quickly spread, although the organization nearly foundered after the controversial 1899 additions of 4 and 8.
Reorganized as “the Amazing HCC-Improving Payers” (A.H.I.P.) the mysterious organization has long been thought to be a powerful force for good behind the scenes, although proof was always lacking.
“Our society bears no relation to the similarly-named ‘America’s Health Insurance Plans,’” notes Dan Wilson, wearing the society’s traditional fez. Besides serving as the society’s Grand Vizier and honorary president, Wilson is also CEO of Moxe Health, an interactive electronic network by which health systems and payers share clinical data automatically, in real-time.
Moxe’s development parallels that of the Secret A.H.I.P. Society, having been created in 1843 to digitize medical records as dashes and dots, for transmission over the new telegraph. “Back then, unlike today, interoperability was a significant problem,” says Wilson. “Many TMRs (telegraphic medical records) used codes other than Morse.”
Besides shared acronyms, another remarkable coincidence between AHIP and A.H.I.P. is that Wilson will be on hand in the “Launch Pad” area at the upcoming AHIP Expo in San Diego, to distribute and personally sign membership cards for the Secret A.H.I.P. Society. “Initiation is brief,” he promises, “and we have relaxed the fez requirement.”
Join the SECRET A.H.I.P. SOCIETY, learn the secret handshake and receive your wallet card at the Moxe Health kiosk in San Diego.