Kansas Association of Health Care Executives

Spring 2012

President's Message

by Janet Stanek, FACHE

KAHCE involvement contributes to a successful career. 

Spring greetings. I am pleased to report that our KAHCE members and committee chairs remain active and engaged which I am most appreciative of.  I have also received multiple inquiries from new members coming into the state about not only joining KAHCE, but how they can get involved.  This will continue to make for a healthy chapter.

Healthcare continues to make front page news.  As a healthcare professional, it can be a challenge keeping up with all of it and even more challenging to know what to focus on, while trying to maintain your regular job.  Payor reform, compliance matters, Pay for Performance, physician employment models, tax exemption, quality, mergers and acquisitions…the list goes on.  Keeping abreast of these things takes some personal responsibility.  We owe it to ourselves and our organizations to take the time to engage in our professional associations, read our professional journals, network and collaborate better right where we work in order to learn and stay on top and ahead of these things so that we can continue to provide quality and affordable care for our communities. 

Many of our members get involved because they are focused on expanding their horizons.  I suggest we all remain curious instead of overwhelmed.  There is a lot out there to be curious about.  The more you know, as they say.

Please feel free to contact me at jstanek@stormontvail.org with your ongoing advice and suggestions.  Thank you.

Message from Your ACHE Regent

Jeremy Armstrong, FACHE

Greetings from the new ACHE Regent.

In March I was able to attend the 2012 ACHE Congress on Healthcare Leadership.  Congress is always a great opportunity to assess and update leadership skills, learn about new trends and practices in healthcare, and to network with new and old colleagues.  The 2013 Congress will be held on March 11-14.  I hope to see many of you there.

While at Congress, I was installed as your new Regent for Kansas.  I would like to thank you for your support and I look forward to continuing my work with the membership of the Kansas Association of Health Care Executives (KAHCE).  I would like to personally thank Jay Jolly, FACHE for his service and leadership as Regent over the past four years.  His extended term as Regent and support of our ACHE members has left me with big shoes to fill. 

Thanks again for your support.  I look forward to meeting you at our upcoming events.


Student Corner

Tyson Sterling, Student Representative

Networking essential for students also.

 Graduation and beyond

As I write this short article, I will be graduating in less than a week with my Master's in Healthcare Services Administration.  Fellow students reading this right now who may be graduating either in either undergraduate or graduate programs can attest to the relief and sense of accomplishment that comes with the completion of a degree.  My purpose here today is to give my experience and insight for those of you who are transforming from the student role to one in which you move to the "real world".
 First and foremost, I have been almost overwhelmed by the sheer number of applications I have sent in to various organizations, as my fellow soon-to-be graduates will also confirm.  It is imperative that as a student, you keep your resume up-to-date.  I had the trouble of not updating my resume up until about four months ago, and within that time frame my experiences had differed greatly from even a year ago.  Being proactive and continually updating your resume as a living document means being able to sell yourself to an organization in a more organized and successful way.  
With that said, I cannot emphasize the importance of also maintaining your list of contacts and networks.  As I stated in a prior article, networking can "get your name out there" in terms of jobs, especially here in the great state of Kansas.  By utilizing this list of contacts, you can potentially gain an opportunity to showcase what you have learned and show initiative that could lead to a job opportunity.  
Speaking of job opportunities, there are plenty of them, and not just in the traditional hospital center. There are some well-known worldwide organizations in Kansas City that are healthcare-based that are expanding.  Judging from my own experience there have been some very good prospects for entry-level employment in to the health care arena.  
To close, I would just like to reiterate the importance of your resume and getting as much internship or experience that can be related to a potential entry-level job, as it will make your eventual job search that much easier.  While it is no easy task, Kansas is a great place of opportunity to start your job search.  With the evolution of health care, the type of work that we as future health care managers and executives will also continue to adapt.  Utilizing the skills and knowledge that you are gaining now as students is invaluable; identifying and selling yourself through both experience and knowledge will be a great asset as many of you will soon be entering the job search.  

KAHCE Membership Expands

Bob Bregant, FACHE, Membership Committee Chair

See the list of new members and fellows

New to ACHE
I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the executives who recently became Members and those who have advanced or recertified as Fellows in ACHE in 2012. Below is a link to the ACHE website with the names of those individuals.

I appreciate the opportunity to chair the Membership Committee for 2012. Our goal for this year is to increase membership by 3 percent with a stretch goal of 5 percent. Based on 2011 figures, this is an increase of 13-20 members, an attainable goal with the support of all current members. Please encourage any of your peers who you know are not currently members of KAHCE to consider joining. Feel free to contact me for membership education materials and applications if you identify a prospect.

Additionally, the committee will continue to focus on goals established by my predecessor, Dave Engel, who did an excellent job of setting a vision over the last couple of years. Those include:
  • Develop strategies to recruit non-hospital members
  • Create a program of membership Incentives  
  • Increase student involvement in KHA and KAHCE
    • Present to related undergraduate and graduate programs 
    • Meet with KUHPM staff and students
  • Collaborate with the Kansas City LPC to improve KC member engagement
  • Develop a Wichita LPC and consider strategies for Military, student, and rural LPC Development 
  • Contact Hospital Leadership Team Members to encourage ACHE/KAHCE Membership
Non-Member Survey
As part of our recruitment strategy, the Membership Committee has been surveying Kansas hospital CEOs who are not members of KAHCE to determine reasons why they are not members and if there are ways KAHCE can enhance their benefits to make the organization more attractive to them. The trends we are identifying include:
  • Budgetary and time constraints
  • Career path that focuses on other professional organizations, such as in the fields of nursing or finance
  • Concern about KAHCE educational offerings not focusing on rural hospital challenges
A positive outcome of the survey is that we have identified a number of prospective candidates who are interested in joining. We are in the process of providing these individuals information and application materials. 
Become Board Certified
Maximize your professional potential by earning the premier credential in healthcare management. When you become board certified in healthcare management as an ACHE Fellow (FACHE), you'll have the knowledge, skills and confidence to succeed. 
Apply Now and Save $200!
Submit your completed Fellow Application with the $250 application fee by June 30 and ACHE will waive the $200 fee to take the Board of Governors Exam once your application has been approved (the waiver is valid for six months).
You must be an ACHE Member with at least two years of healthcare management experience and must hold a master's or other advanced degree to be eligible to apply for Fellow status.
All follow-up materials (e.g. references) must be submitted by August 31 for the waiver to be valid.
Fellow Advancement Webinars
Register for an upcoming Fellow Advancement Webinar. Fellow advancement webinars provide a general overview of the advancement to Fellow process, including the Board of Governors Examination and allow participants to ask questions about the advancement process.

KAHCE Awards Six Scholarships

Ron Stephen, LFACHE

KAHCE Gives Scholarships

KAHCE Awards Six Scholarships
Each year, KAHCE collaborates with the Kansas Hospital Education and Research Foundation (KHERF) and the Kansas Hospital Human Resources Association (KHHRA) to award academic scholarships to Kansas applicants enrolled or planning to enroll in a part-time or full time course of study leading to a certificate, degree or credential not currently held.  In 2012 the Kansas HIT Regional Extension Center became a new partner. 
This year KAHCE awarded six $500 scholarships as part of a total of 29 scholarships awarded by the KHERF Scholarship Review Committee. Scholarship decisions are based on applicants’ statements of their Commitment to Excellence, demonstrated Leadership and personal Goals. Priority is given to professions and geographic areas experiencing shortages in Kansas, individuals committed to pursuing their heath care career in Kansas and individuals currently working in a Kansas hospital. Ron Stephen, LFACHE, represented KAHCE on the KHERF Scholarship Review Committee.

Are You An "Effective Executive?"

Ron Stephen, LFACHE, Adjunct Faculty, Wichita State University

Use this short check list to answer this question.

Of course you are, aren’t you? After all, you are a proud Member or Fellow in the prestigious American College of Healthcare Executives; you hold a position of responsibility in your organization; and you are highly respected by your peers, subordinates and superiors. Plus, you studied the fine points of management vs. leadership in school, so you should have it all together. Just to be sure, let’s review the highlights of Peter Drucker’s article “What Makes an Effective Executive?” published in the Harvard Business Review in 2004 and reprinted in “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership” by Harvard Business Review Press in 2011. You can judge yourself. Remember, not everyone sees you as you see yourself.
Drucker suggests that effective executives follow eight practices. First, effective executives ask “What needs to be done?” Then they focus on one or two priorities. Even the most successful executives can only accomplish one or at the most two major tasks at a time. And do what you are best at. Delegate the other stuff. How many projects are competing for your attention today? Second, focus on what is best “for the enterprise,” not what is right for the medical staff, the patients, the employees or the executives. If it is right for the enterprise, it will be right for the stakeholders. How often do we favor one group in a decision, and then have to go back and make amends to the others?
Drucker’s next four practices of an effective executive focus on implementing your ideas in your organization. Do you routinely develop an action plan for what you wish to accomplish? Before starting a project, are you clear as to the expectations, the time lines and the resources? Can you commit to the project? Do you take responsibility for your decisions by clearly delineating the time lines, who is responsible, who must be informed and who must approve? Do you review your decisions periodically? Do you personally take responsibility for communicating your action plans with superiors, peers and subordinates? And finally, do you focus on opportunities rather than problems? Drucker says problem-solving is damage control; it’s opportunities that produce results.
The last two practices focus on accountability. Are the meetings you organize productive or are they “garbage cans” for people to socialize? Do you have an agenda, start on time and end when business is complete? Or do your meetings drag on because everything’s been said; just everyone hasn’t said it yet? Finally, do you think and say “We, not I?" Do you always consider the organization’s needs before yours? 
It is so easy to become mired in the daily business of polishing the silver and reading the emails.  Are you the “Keeper of the Vision” in your organization?

Using Your Performance Appraisal Process as a Tool to Support Healthcare Reform

Yvon Martel, VP of Healthcare at Halogen Software

Making shifts in organizational cultures can be accomplished.


As healthcare reform drives a shift from fee-for-service/volume-based payments to value-based payments that reward positive outcomes and efficiencies, healthcare facilities need to effect an accompanying shift in their organizational cultures. As the American Hospital Association notes: "A culture of performance improvement, accountability and high performance focus is critical to enhancing the organization's ability to implement strategies successfully. The right culture will enable the transformation to the hospital and care system of the future." (Hospital and Care Systems of the Future) But how do you effect this critical cultural change? 

Your employee performance management process can be a helpful tool to both instill the change and measure the results. Here are some ways it can help you do that.

Align Your Workforce with Effective Goal Management

One of the most effective ways to communicate a culture shift and a change in priorities is through organizational goals. Start by setting high-level organizational goals that are focused on achieving positive outcomes and efficiencies, making it clear these are tied to healthcare reform. Then, as part of your performance appraisal process, challenge managers at every level of the organization to assign each of their employees one or more goals that are linked these higher level organizational goals; the employee should clearly understand that their individual goal supports a higher level organizational goal. This goal linking helps build alignment and commitment at the grassroots level. It makes tangible for each employee how they, in their day to day work, are contributing to the achievement of organizational goals related to healthcare reform. And it also communicates and demonstrates the organization's commitment to the principles of the reform.
As managers monitor and communicate employees' progress on their goals and assess their performance, the organization's leadership can track overall progress, identify any problem areas, and make adjustments as needed. Similarly, leaders should regularly measure progress on the organization's high-level goals and communicate this status to employees — helping to build commitment and alignment.

Cultivate Core Competencies and Performance Standards Related to Outcomes and Efficiency

Another way you can support this cultural change is by identifying the core competencies or performance standards that support this new focus, and cultivating them in all your employees. You can then include these core competencies or performance standards important to positive outcomes and efficiency in your job requisitions, job descriptions and performance appraisal forms, and assess every employee's demonstration of them in your annual performance appraisals. This will again help to communicate the sharpened culture and values your organization wants to embrace in a practical, tangible way for employees. But more importantly, it will ensure every employee gets feedback on their demonstration of these core competencies and encourage their managers to assign development plans where performance is found lacking.
Further, identifying these core competencies and evaluating employees' demonstration of them allows the organization to measure its strengths and identify any gaps that need to be addressed through development, hiring, or other measures.


Cultural shifts can be difficult to achieve, especially in large organizations. Yet with the current healthcare reform initiative, the future of your healthcare facility depends on its ability to change. Your performance management process can be a powerful tool for communicating priorities, values and goals to the entire organization, aligning your workforce to embrace this new focus and creating a culture that supports positive outcomes and efficiencies.
Yvon Martel is the VP of Healthcare at Halogen Software. He has shared insight into key performance management challenges and solutions for healthcare organizations at a number of healthcare industry forums across North America, including ASHHRA and regional healthcare association events, as well as on the Halogen blog.

How to Address a Sensitive Topic With Your Team

Approach difficult issues more successfully with these suggestions. 

When you have a difficult problem or delicate issue to raise with your team, handle it with care. Here’s how:

  • Request some time. Get the team’s attention by asking for some time to discuss an important issue. It can either be within an already scheduled meeting—“Can we take 20 minutes to talk about deadlines?”—or by scheduling one in the future.
  • Describe your observations. Tell the rest of the team what you’re seeing. Be specific, and use concrete examples. Of course, you should avoid attacking anyone on a personal level. Stick to professional issues, situations or behaviors.
  • Explain the impact. Point out the possible consequences of the problem to team members, detailing how the outcome affects other parties—customers, vendors, colleagues and your organization. Quantify the effects if you can.
  • Ask for reactions. Don’t move into the problem-solving mode right away. Ask the team members to take a few moments, think about what you’ve said, and respond. Listen carefully. You may discover the situation isn’t as serious as you thought.
  • Paraphrase and summarize. Repeat other team members’ comments in your own words to make sure you understand what they’re saying. Take notes to help keep your thoughts straight, then summarize the discussion. This will help all of you get a sense of where you are and what needs to happen next.
  • Ask for help. Solicit suggestions and ideas for next steps from the rest of the team. If nobody volunteers right away, start by proposing action plans of your own. However, don’t push for an immediate solution if one isn’t forthcoming. Make sure that the team members agree on what’s happening and understand what they need to do as a result.

—Adapted from “Everyone a Leader” by H. Germann, K. Hurson and D. Russ-Eft (Wiley)

To Sustain Momentum, Focus on the Positive

Don't lose your momentum! 

How can you encourage employees to finish a difficult task or keep up a sustained effort over a long time? Focus on what’s been accomplished, not simply what still must be done. Use past triumphs as the foundation for moving forward:

  • When routine sets in. Performance often flags after the excitement of starting a project or task. To get people back in the flow, try reminding them, “We made a great start, but now we seem to be falling off a little. Remember when we did A and B? If we try that approach again, we can…”
  • When the end seems far off. Emphasize how much is behind you: “We’ve got 60 percent of the project done, and what we’ve learned should help us…” It’s true that 40 percent is still not done, but you’re presenting the glass as more than half full.
  • When you need a last push. Sometimes mental and physical fatigue make the last stage the most difficult. Try saying, “We’re almost there. What’s left will definitely be easier than what we’ve already overcome, so…”

—Adapted from The Teamwork Chronicles, by Steven H. Carney (Greenleaf Book Group)

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