Kansas Association of Health Care Executives

December 2021

From the Desk of the KAHCE President

Trenton Stringer

This time of year, in reviewing the past 12 months, we like to reflect personally and professionally. What went well, and what could have been better? Looking back at my own year, what a year 2021 has been! As KAHCE President, I have had the opportunity to work with wonderful leaders from across the state. It is working with this great team of leaders that gives me hope for our state as we face many challenges to providing care and serving our communities.

COVID has continued to be a major disruptor in healthcare. It has forced us to come together and reimagine how we provide care during a global pandemic. With each new variant and everyone facing staffing challenges, we all continue to brace for impact, all while serving our communities to the best of our abilities.

As for KAHCE, we have continued to adapt and have moved our usual Face-to-Face offerings to a virtual platform and continuously working on how to engage members and participants in a meaningful way. With the 2021 ACHE Congress being virtual, we were able to allocate funds historically used for student travel scholarships to offer more student membership scholarships and other initiatives that help our organization grow. This flexibility and thoughtful leadership make me proud to be a part of KAHCE. With a new slate of officers, under the leadership of Todd Willert, I know the momentum and knowledge that we gained in 2021 will serve us well as we tackle 2022. Be on the lookout for the various offerings that KAHCE will be presenting next year, such as education, networking, roundtables, and more.

Ultimately, 2021 has been an interesting year with its share of highs and lows. As the Covid-19 vaccines and boosters continue to be distributed across the US and Kansas health systems, we remain prepared to provide care and resources for our communities. As we continue to serve those within our communities and beyond, we must not forget to take care of ourselves; the state of healthcare is dependent on it. As this is my last letter as KAHCE President, I want to sign off by wishing you all a Happy New Year and hope you all are able to get some much-needed rest as we charge into 2022. Take care.

Trenton Stringer
KAHCE President

Message from Your ACHE Regent - Fall 2021

It is a joy to spend a few minutes with you again and bring you some news from ACHE and our local Kansas Chapter. It has been a unique year…complete with lots of starts and stops, and we continue to push thru the pandemic and all the issues surrounding it. With sincere gratitude and admiration, thank you for your steadfast leadership and dedication to our communities over the last year-plus. The one thing that stands out to me is the heroic effort by so many healthcare personnel across our state. On behalf of the American College of Healthcare Executives and the Kansas Association of Healthcare Executives, Thank You…We appreciate you and your commitment. You embody the spirit of ACHE and the core values associated with our professional society.

It is November…the seasons are changing, and as I drive around, I see such vibrant colors on the different trees. That also means we are in the window for renewing memberships and accounting for all of our necessary credit hours for recertification. If you haven’t done so recently, I would encourage each of you to go onto Ache.org and review your account and ensure you’ve documented all your education, service hours, etc. The pandemic has forced us to be creative about education opportunities, and it has been a struggle at times. Fortunately, our Chapter and ACHE as a whole have shifted a significant number of education opportunities to online or webinar formats. Because of the known and unforeseen challenges we face, the ACHE Board approved an extension of Virtual Face-to-Face opportunities through March 31, 2022. I would encourage all that are pressed for getting hours for recertification or qualifying for the Fellow status. Please visit the ACHE Learning Center link. Some of the upcoming offerings are:

  • Leaders Conference (Virtual Face-to-Face), Nov 23rd – Dec 21st.
  • Making the Business Case for Quality (Virtual Face-to-Face), Nov 23rd – Dec 21st. An Overview of Health Law: Liabilities, Compliance, and Leadership (Virtual Face-to-Face), Nov 24th – Dec 17th.
  • Epidemiology Meets Strategy: Leading Healthcare Organizations in a New Reality (Virtual Face-to-Face), Dec 6th – Dec 16th.
  • 2022 Congress on Healthcare Leadership, In Person, March 28th – March 31st. Hyatt Regency Chicago.
  • ACHE.org. In preparation for the upcoming Congress, ACHE is currently accepting proposals for the Management Innovations Poster Session. Narratives should be submitted as an email attachment to postersessions@ache.org by January 18, 2022.

Recently, I received the results from this year’s (2021) Chapter Member Needs Survey Results. Overall, our results reflected that of ACHE across the enterprise. Our response rate was 23% (252 surveys sent / 57 surveys received back). This was a slight decrease from last year but still enough to identify areas for emphasis. Based on what was reviewed, I am asking for your input and feedback on a few key areas. I would like to take one or two of these topics and engage the Regent’s Advisory Council on some strategies to address:

  1. How familiar are you with your Chapter's activities and services, and how can we get better?

  2. We experienced a significant drop in our Networking Opportunities score…How can we do better? What suggestions do you have to help us better meet your needs and expectations?
  3. Our website was rated pretty low; what would you want to make it better and more beneficial to you as KAHCE members?

Overall, we have a strong, wonderful chapter. We are blessed with a chapter that has strong representation from large, small, VA, and military healthcare organizations, as well as many small business owners and companies. Our current chapter strength is 459 members, spread across most of the 105 counties in Kansas. The diversity of our membership is something that we want to celebrate as it all has to come together for continued and future success. It is important to celebrate the good things we’ve experienced this past year. Since January, we’ve embraced 66 new members, recertified 18 Fellows, and welcomed three new Fellows. A hearty congratulations to those three new Fellows: John S. Fitzthum, FACHE, Sameh F. Moawad, MBChB, DO, FACHE, and Todd Blackinton, FACHE. Outstanding accomplishment…Great Job!

Thank you for allowing me to spend a few minutes with you. It is a pleasure and privilege to serve as your Regent. I look forward to hearing from you…meeting and visiting you…and working on the things we should focus on next as healthcare leaders. I’ve asked for your input and engagement on multiple topics, and I encourage you to contact me with your input…it is vitally important to me and our local chapter. Have a fantastic holiday season!


Richard W.(Wes) Hoyt, LTC (Ret), FACHE
Chief Operating Officer
Hutchinson Regional Healthcare System
Regent for Kansas

(620) 899-0566

Thanks to our 2021 Sponsors!

 The Sponsorship Committee and Board of KAHCE would like to extend a thank you to our 2021 Sponsors.  This pandemic year brought unique challenges and we missed being able to shake hands, have a cocktail and spend time, in person, learning about the great services and offerings these companies provide, but we look forward to those opportunities in 2022.

Thanks to our sponsors who provided support for our virtual educational events, including:

Title Sponsors

Murray Company

Sunflower Health Plan

 Event Sponsors



STL Communications


All KAHCE members are encouraged to support our sponsors in your business relationships. You can learn more by clicking the company name above. We also appreciate referrals for new sponsors.

We are currently offering the opportunity to sponsor the KAHCE Spring Event and the KAHCE Fall Event in conjunction with the Kansas Hospital Association Annual Convention and Trade Show in Overland Park.  

If you need additional information or are interested in participating, please contact Trenton Stringer, Sponsorship Committee Chair, or Susan Pattie, Kansas Hospital Association.


Fellowship Achievements

Patrick Altenhofen, FACHE



With the end of the year upon us, I want to take the time as Advancement Chair to recognize members who have taken the time to showcase their healthcare knowledge and expertise. Congratulations to all those who achieved and recertified their Fellowship status.

Hope you all have a happy New Year!

New Fellows

  • John S. Fitzhum, FACHE (Hays, KS)
  • Sameh F. Moawad, MBChB, DO, FACHE (Wichita, KS)
  • Todd Blackinton, FACHE (Topeka, KS)
  • Recertified Fellows

  • Robin R. Harrold, FACHE (Shawnee Mission, KS)
  • Michelle R. Lunbeck, FACHE (Lenexa, KS)
  • Susan M. Page, FACHE (Pratt, KS)
  • Kimberly Hlobik, FACHE (Prairie Village, KS)
  • Justine K. Kigenyi, FACHE (Kansas City, KS)
  • Patricia E. Sanders-Hall, FACHE (Topeka, KS)
  • Ronald L. Baker, FACHE (Overland Park, KS)
  • Katherine A. Conrad, FACHE (Mission Hills, KS)
  • Heather Fuller, FACHE (Salina, KS)
  • Paul W. Luce (Paola, KS)
  • COL John J. Melton (Fort Riley, KS)
  • Jeffery R. Perry, DHA, FACHE (Atchison, KS)
  • Curtis R. Hawkinson, FACHE (Marysville, KS)
  • Allen E. Van Driel, FACHE (Smith Center, KS)
  • R. Scott Chapman, FACHE (Manhattan, KS)
  • MAJ Jennifer DeWaters, FACHE (Fort Leavenworth, KS)
  • Troy D. DeDecker, FACHE (Leawood, KS)
  • Tyson McBride, FACHE (Paola, KS)
  • Jennifer N. Freund, FACHE (Prairie Village, KS)
  • Tracy D. O'Rourke, FACHE (Topeka, KS)
  • Thomas M. Schmitt, FACHE (Wichita, KS)
  • Mark E. Holcomb, FACHE (Overland Park, KS)
  • *Sorted by date of achievement

    Patrick Altenhofen, FACHE
    KAHCE Advancement Chair

    KAHCE Members Join LinkedIn Group

    Over the past, close to two years now, we have helped our families, our friends, our teams, and our patients navigate through a Global Pandemic that has infected more than 275 million individuals and affected everyone of us greatly. The fact that you are resilient, moving forward and still choosing a career as a healthcare leader is more than enough to be commended. Healthcare itself will never be the same and individual accomplishments, over this time period and beyond, need to be recognized and praised. Please join our KAHCE group on LinkedIn where we would like to acknowledge and praise KAHCE member achievements-certifications, awards, and promotions. 
    Thank you all for everything you do advancing healthcare in Kansas. Happy New Year!
    Brady Hoffman
    KAHCE Secretary

    Wayne UNC Health Care: Enhancing a Positive Culture

    Exceptional healthcare quality, top patient experience scores, sound financial performance and long-term success are all associated with organizations that exude a positive culture. Positive outcomes also reinforce a sense of accomplishment and facilitate further success and advancement. High-performing care teams are inherently focused on optimization and are eager to provide high-quality care; they also hold leaders accountable for providing requisite resources. What is more difficult to discern are the evolving, salient drivers of a positive culture, especially during a crisis.

    The incredible stress that COVID-19 has placed on our care teams has highlighted the importance of well-being and resilience efforts to keep teams healthy. Increasingly, physicians and teammates need to feel empowered to be a part of the solution. Input from front-line teammates should be solicited and encouraged to guide initiatives and help chart the future.

    Market analyses and large-scale aggregate data all provide C-suites, strategy teams and senior operational leaders with quantitative measures of how we compare with our local, regional and national competitors. However, our physicians and teammates also form comparisons that may not align with the big data. When surveying different communities around the country, it becomes very obvious that there are critical differences that can propel or destroy culture.

    Wayne UNC Health Care endeavors to bridge the gaps between the urban, tertiary academic medical center and rural, community healthcare. “One UNC Health” includes the deliberate system of values that guide this cultural integration, firmly centered on patients and communities. With the ultimate goal of a shared culture and strategy, Wayne UNC Health Care will continually adapt to the changing needs and expectations around the state. Bidirectional learning and growth fuel this goal, and all senior leaders receive extensive training on leading change.

    To ensure consistency and reward desired behaviors, Wayne UNC Health Care has developed a set of core values that are shared across the system.

    Carolina Care is a holistic approach to patient care and to each other. It is a privilege to serve the people of North Carolina, and demonstrating kindness and compassion with every interaction is a must. This challenges every teammate to consider the impact and importance of their work in improving care quality and patient experience. No effort is insignificant, and all work is interdependent for optimal outcomes. From remote clinics and mobile units in underserved communities to widespread vaccination events, Wayne UNC Health Care has made adjustments to mitigate COVID-19 demands.

    One Great Team emphasizes that we are better together and stronger as a team. Respecting each other’s differences ensures a more inclusive and equitable culture that encourages and supports input from everyone. As a cornerstone for empowerment, every team member is encouraged to provide input in decision-making, and feedback is actively solicited. This supplements medical and executive committees and offers additional opportunities to hear from physicians and teammates. The System Executive DEI Council ensures diversity, equity and inclusion, and health equity efforts are integrated into organizational strategy.

    Leading the Way ensures every effort is focused on improving lives every day and training the next generation of healthcare professionals; Wayne UNC Health Care researchers are changing the world and facilitating innovative care. The organization is committed to health equity for all and works to educate teammates, patients and communities to address systemic disparities.

    It Starts With Me ensures every teammate takes ownership of, and is accountable for, doing the right thing, every time. Everyone is empowered and trusted to step up and support each other, patients and our communities. When physicians and teammates go above and beyond, or identify unintended bureaucratic burdens, they are formally recognized and thanked by leaders at every level.

    Sustainable engagement can only be obtained via collaboration, empowerment, recognition and mutual respect. A passionate team with a set of shared beliefs and values make Wayne UNC Health Care a best place to work and a best place to receive care—in person and remotely.

    --Adapted from “Wayne UNC Health Care: Enhancing a Positive Culture,” Healthcare Executive, Jessie L. Tucker III, PhD, FACHE, president/CEO, Wayne UNC Health Care, Goldsboro, N.C.

    Keeping the “Community” in Community Hospital

    When Augusta Health’s hospital incident command structure was activated on March 13, 2020, in response to COVID-19, priorities shifted dramatically.

    Establishing a Well-Functioning HICS

    Augusta Health’s paramount priority in 2020 was keeping its team members safe while caring for a community impacted by a pandemic. The organization’s hospital incident command structure developed and activated an unexpected and all-consuming “product line” to manage COVID-19.

    The HICS transformed the hospital almost overnight: carving out negative pressure respiratory care units within the hospital to care for COVID-19 patients; creating an essential negative pressure hallway within the ED; converting an urgent care center to a respiratory assessment center and mass testing center and directing anyone with respiratory symptoms to seek care at that single location; establishing a COVID-19 care call center; and coordinating all the policies, procedures, staff and supplies needed to plan and care for a surge in patients.

    Implementing a Clear Strategic Plan

    In 2019, Augusta Health’s board of directors approved a five-year strategic plan, Journey 2025, a comprehensive directive to meet the community’s emerging health needs. The plan defines eight driving strategies, implementation tactics and quarterly milestones. Several tactics are combined into the organization’s Enhanced Access driving strategy, including primary and specialty outpatient satellites in three geographic locations; a dedicated diabetes center on campus; virtual health through telemedicine; and a dedicated outpatient facility on campus to accommodate the community’s growing need for accessible and affordable outpatient services.

    Deploying Frequent Communication

    Since March 2020, the staff and community have received regular communication about hospital activity and community trends. Augusta Health is the community’s primary healthcare provider; therefore, it was essential that the organization communicate critical information about the pandemic proactively. Though the primary content of communications has been COVID-19-related, progress on other hospital projects also has been incorporated into messaging.

    Internal email messages from the CEO and virtual town halls provided staff an opportunity to address Augusta Health leaders in a Q&A format. During the rapid evolution of the COVID-19 response in spring, employee communications were sent daily for the first 45 days and then twice weekly. A COVID-19 section was created on the hospital’s website with statistics, informative articles and updates on the hospital’s policies and procedures. Clear and consistent messaging to the media reduced community concerns and promoted safe and healthy behaviors. More than 550 internal and external communications were deployed in 2020.

    Taking Care of Us

    As the largest private employer in the area, Augusta Health pledged there would be no furloughs during the pandemic. Employees who elected to remain full time were retrained and redeployed to directly support COVID-19 efforts. Additional employee support included childcare assistance; ready-to-eat, take-home family meals from the cafeteria; and free hotel accommodations. The system also provided professional, emotional and spiritual support, and the community supported the staff through donated supplies and visible messages of encouragement.

    With anxieties mitigated and jobs secure, the team has continually been able to focus on patient care at a time when it is desperately needed.

    --Adapted from “Keeping the ‘Community’ in Community Hospital,” Healthcare Executive, Mary N. Mannix, FACHE, president/CEO of Augusta Health, Fishersville, Va.