In This Issue
From the Desk of the KAHCE President
Message from Your ACHE Regent - Winter 2016
Title Sponsor Spotlight - Quest Diagnostics
KAHCE Offers 9.0 F2F Credits, April 27-28 in Topeka
Mentoring Program Kickoff
From the Desk of the KAHCE President
Patricia Sanders-Hall, M.A., FACHE

Greetings, KAHCE members, my article this month bundles two topics. I have a report from attending the 2016 ACHE Congress and would also encourage you to read the latest updates on the national Equity & Diversity Healthcare Initiative.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 2016 American College of Healthcare Executive’s annual Congress in Chicago from March 14-17. The theme of this year’s conference was “Leading Well,” and there were hundreds of sessions offered over the course of 4 days as well as a pre-conference course and many business breakfast and lunch meetings and other social and networking events. I try to attend Congress at least every two years, and I’m really glad I went this year!

I actually arrived on Saturday, March 12, and the first person I saw when I stepped out of my taxi at the Hyatt Regency was our Regent, Janet Stanek, FACHE. Janet said she needed to come out for a bit of fresh air and a break. She had arrived on Friday and was in strategic planning meetings with the regents, governors and other leaders of ACHE and, as always, she was representing our state and our chapter very well in those meetings related to new and revised policies. She was planning to stay until Tuesday, and we agreed to meet again during the next few days. I also had the opportunity to meet with the President of the Missouri Healthcare Executives Group, David Baltzer and met several other chapter leaders as well as students and young careerists from our region and other states across the nation. Congress offers an exceptional opportunity to meet, connect, share and trade ideas and to re-energize around our vision of healthcare leadership.

My choices for my sessions this year were varied. I wanted to attend a couple of the Diversity and Inclusion sessions, wanted to hear the latest political update for healthcare and wanted to select a number of sessions related to both my roles as KAHCE President as well as my position as a VP at KU Hospital. Behavioral Health was definitely on my list since UKH acquired a 54-bed inpatient pediatric facility in Overland Park last year.  This is also an area in Kansas that our chapter should explore. The need for greater awareness about behavioral health was well-presented; including the persistence of difficulty of dealing with the negative stereotypes associated with mental illness for patients, facilities and providers of care. I came away with a broader perspective about the need for a higher quality of care, modernized facilities and changes in attitudes towards these patients in our society. I hope our chapter will reach out to our members who are leaders in behavioral health to help us sponsor a similar educational and awareness program in Kansas.

The topic of diversity and inclusion in healthcare remains a strong focus of our national organization and several sessions and networking events were offered to further our knowledge and understanding of many of the issues faced in this area of our industry. The mantra of expanding the definition of diversity beyond ethnicity and race was echoed often at this Congress, but these critical inherent meanings are not to be dismissed as if these problems have been replaced. There are still major issues with healthcare organizations employing leaders, using vendors and hiring staff who are racially and ethnically diverse but the LGBT community, women, disabled persons and others also feel the sting of disparities in receiving healthcare and in getting jobs in this industry. Though we have a long way to go in America to wipe out this problem, I was proud to know that KAHCE has co-sponsored three diversity educational or networking programs in the past three years. We are planning more of these programs in the future and will continue this dialogue with our members. One of the diversity and inclusion takeaways from Congress was the joint call to action from the American Hospital Association, ACHE, America’s Essential Hospitals, the Association of American Medical Colleges and the Catholic Health Association of the United States. This is a renewed campaign from the original call to action in 2011 and which was a National Call to Action to Eliminate Health Care Disparities and has been named the #123forEquity Pledge. A You Tube video explains this call to action and the 123forEquity Pledge. 

Publications are provided by the ACHE publishing arm, Health Administration Press (HAP).  There were also sessions with many of the authors discussing their research and findings and offering question and answer forums. I always take advantage of this opportunity to find the latest publications on areas of interest. The reason our national organization is called the American “College” is because we support lifelong learning and advancement of healthcare leaders in order to provide the best possible healthcare to the patients we serve both directly and indirectly. No matter what topic you may be interested in researching, there are more than likely one or more HAP books available. Check out HAP at and watch for book reviews in this newsletter in the coming months. 

This year I wanted to pick up books that were more recently published about population health, telemedicine and healthcare strategic design and construction.  All three of these topics will be presented at our annual spring educational event in Topeka on April 27-28. Our chapter has maintained a strong pledge to uphold the educational mission of our national organization, and every spring we try to offer a robust program with face-to-face (FTF) credits so members can increase their knowledge as well as to obtain accreditation and re-accreditation credits right here in Kansas. I hope you will join us for this 2-day program with many speakers from varied backgrounds and which will offer 9 FTF credits.

There have been many changes in our healthcare industry over the past decade, but in no other time in our history has the political and economic climate so radically affected the way we do business today and how we will continue to do business in the future. It was both exciting and daunting to hear keynote speakers like Amy Walters, a 25-year political journalist from the Cook Report who presented analytical insights about the current presidential race and the status of healthcare. The presentation by the past Utah Governor and former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Michael O. Leavitt, indicated that we must stay vigilant and active in watching and listening for weak signals which bring powerful messages of changes coming in the future. He covered the shift from fee-for-service to a value-based payment system of reimbursement and challenged us to either support or question the ideas and resulting bills which affect healthcare policy and practice. Dr. Robert Wachter, Professor and Associate Chair of the UC San Francisco School of Medicine and named one of Modern Healthcare magazine’s “Most Influential Physicians” in 2015, gave a strong talk about the futility of hoping this season in healthcare is a fad and presented a road map to travel more successfully on the transformed healthcare journey. There were “Hot Topic” sessions about strategic selections for healthcare technology; analysis of the rise of healthcare consumerism; the push for focusing on population health solutions and how to survive under increasingly more restrictive federal mandates. There were sessions on how to survive being acquired and how to successfully build a new organization after a merger. I will admit a highlight for me was to hear the keynote address by the first African-American female U.S. combat pilot, Vernice “Flygirl” Armour, who challenged us to always remember that our mission is protecting those who need us the most, and that the assignments we take on require wisdom and servant leadership but also courage and enthusiasm. It was very exciting to see how she revved up the audience of 1,000 ACHE leaders when she ended by saying that even when the end-target may not always be clearly visible, we should follow our mission, stay true to our team and go in “hot” with an ever-burning desire to do our best for the patients we serve!

I encourage KAHCE members to attend the ACHE Congress periodically, if you can. I have always come away with more insights and information, many new professional contacts across the nation and a renewed energy. To this end, I hope we can be creative and resolved in our efforts to solicit more sponsorships and scholarships for students, early careerists and KAHCE leaders to attend Congress in the future. I sincerely believe you get out what you put in to every endeavor in life.  For me, the Congress experience has always positively influenced and improved my performance and outlook as a leader on my job and in this organization. Thanks for your support!