Annual THEF Meeting Set For November 6, 2008

The THEF Annual Meeting/Program has been set for Thursday, November 6, 2008, at the Grandover Resort Hotel in Greensboro. As has been our THEF tradition, this dinner meeting will feature a legal update from Mr. Tom Stukes, senior member of the Health Care Practice Group of Womble Carlisle Sandrich and Rice, PLLC.  We will also elect officers and recognize and introduce the 2008 THEF Scholarship Award winners.  Please plan to attend this relaxing evening of education, good food and drink, and socializing.  The cost to THEF members is included in your ACHE dues.  More specific information will be emailed to you in the coming months.


Message from the Regent

by Fred T. Brown, Jr., FACHE

One important thing that I learned as I matured as a healthcare administrator and as a person is that you need to know what you do not know. I realize that this may sound a bit weird but as I look back on my career and as I help network with people who are going through career transitions, I am more than ever convinced that it is a truth that should help us all. Know what you do not know.

I started running hospitals in the era of cost based reimbursement. I had a couple of courses in financial management and the hospital was financially strapped so I worked on my own cost reports. As I looked back, I am sure I would be amazed at how much this probably cost the hospital. (I hope the statute of limitations has run out).

When I was young and eager, I often would take on projects in areas where I had little knowledge or experience. Although they generally went well, I realize now that I often had accessible expertise in my organization or through several senior executives that over time became my mentors. Would these projects have been more successful? I am not sure, but I often wonder.

Turnover at the CEO level in our state is just over three years of service. Over a third of our hospitals are losing money as we speak. Would these facts be different if more of us understood when we needed to seek expertise or to learn new skills? I know that it is easy to sometimes get into a comfort level and suddenly realize that the world has changed and you have not changed with it.

In my case it took maturing and even being involved in a couple of wars to figure out that as good as I thought I was as a leader, I needed help and new expertise to become a better one. It is hard to say “I don’t know”… especially in a meeting with your peers or your boss. This however may sometimes be the best answer for you and the organization.

How do you know what you do not know? First, find a mentor that has a broad perspective. Ask questions and for advice. One of my mentors was former AHA Chair Tom Matherlee. I would listen to Tom talk about what was important to him at hospital association meetings. I realized that not only did I not know much about what he talked about, but often times these topics were not even on my radar screen!

Second, seek ways to stay up to date. Read your journals, stay involved with your Hospital Association or other associations and keep active in ACHE. Join a chapter. If you are a senior executive, volunteer to speak or work with younger members.

Know what you do not know.


THEF Receives Award of Chapter Merit

Erwin Stainback, FACHE, President of the Triad Healthcare Executive Forum, was notified recently that THEF was recognized with the Award of Chapter Merit by the American College of Healthcare Executives.  The Award of Chapter Merit is given to a fully chartered chapter that meets or exceeds one of three performance standards needed to qualify for the Award for Chapter Excellence.  The standard for which THEF received the award was the level of member satisfaction.  THEF was one of 22 chapters nationally to receive the Award fo Chapter Merit.

THEF Members Learned About Simulation Training At Summer Meeting

The summer THEF Meeting/Program was held on Wednesday, August 13, 2008, at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.  The title of the program was “Simulation in Healthcare:  Opportunities and Mandates for Healthcare Executives.”  This program was most interesting, featuring speakers Dr. Jeff Carter, Bradshaw Research Fellow of the Department of General Surgery, WFUBMC, and Dr. Ian Saunders, Operations Manager of the Center for Applied Learning at WFUBMC.  Drs. Carter and Saunders revealed that there is a revolution happening across the state and the country in the way in which clinicians, including physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals, are being trained.  They made the compelling case that utilizing high fidelity simulators in high tech simulation labs in a group setting is the way to go.  Not only do students practice and perfect procedural skills, but they practice cognitive skills as instructors present new patient conditions in the simulator to which the student must respond.  There is no worry about harming live persons during this process.  Simulators are also great for demonstrating competencies.  There are currently 58 simulation labs in North Carolina.

THEF Officers Met With Pfeiffer MHA Students

On April 3, THEF President Erwin Stainback and President-Elect Bob Byrd met with approximately 50 MHA students from Pfeiffer University at the Greensboro AHEC in order to introduce these future healthcare executives to our professional society.  Featured speaker was Oscar R. Aylor, FACHE, Past ACHE Regent for Eastern NC and Director, Professional Development, Department of Health Policy and Administration, UNC Chapel Hill.  Mr. Aylor presented a PowerPoint presentation that explained the ACHE’s vision and mission, the many benefits of becoming a student associate, and the importance of the ACHE in career development.  Mr. Stainback then presented the College’s regional outreach effort through the chapter system, and described the activities and functions of THEF.  Mr. Byrd wrapped up the formal part of the meeting by describing his perspectives on ACHE affiliation,  how he became a student member while in graduate school, and the importance of ACHE affiliation during his 30-year career as a healthcare executive.  The meeting ended following a question and answer session.  The hosts for the evening were Pfeiffer’s Carol Vogt, DrPH, RN, Associate Professor, MHA Program, and Joel Vickers, DrPH, Chairperson, MHA Department.

Evidence Based Medicine Topic of Spring Meeting

“Evidence Based Medicine from a Physicians Point of View” was the program title of the THEF Spring Meeting/Program held on May 8 at the Education Center of Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro.  Dr. Russell M. Howerton, MD, FACS, Professor of Surgery at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, presented a very interesting program that outlined the bases of the many clinical processes that are being measured and reported to organizations such as the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Dr. Howerton showed how the standardization of such processes can result in better outcomes of patient care.  Thanks to Paul Jeffrey, CEO of Wesley Long, for hosting this meeting, which was attended by 37 people.  




Get ready, get set, mentor

You were asked to mentor a young colleague, so how do you begin? Try these tips:

* Build rapport. A strong personal connection is the basis of a successful mentoring relationship. You don’t need to be your protégé’s best friend, but you should look for opportunities and ways to build a connection.

* Listen. A mentoring relationship is not a monologue but an ongoing two-way conversation. Listen for goals, challenges and skills. Respond appropriately to build trust.

* Facilitate other connections. As you come to understand your protégé’s goals, introduce others who could help in specific ways. Draw your protégé into your network, taking advantage of opportunities that allow the person to reach goals.

* Stay focused. The mentoring relationship’s goal is to further the protégé’s goals. Your job as the mentor is to keep that direction at the forefront of your own mind and your protégé’s. You should not use the relationship to further your own goals.

* Offer advice. Counsel and feedback are essential to every mentoring relationship. Your role is to offer advice and not to determine the next move. Allow your protégé to decide which advice to take and what path to follow.

* Ask questions. A well-phrased, well-timed question will generate reflective discussion and thought and will launch productive discovery moments. Great mentors plan questions to ask in different situations.

For more information on how you can you can be a mentor through ACHE’s Leadership in Mentoring, click here.

Article adapted from Communications Briefings, January 2008, (570) 567-1982;

Take charge of your own success

Stop making excuses or blaming circumstances beyond your control. The truth is that your own actions and decisions are the greatest determinants of your success or failure. Take action now by choosing one or more of these strategies to implement today:

* Improve the company you keep. Toxic relationships drain your energy. Associating with positive people who are concerned with their own success is every bit as important to your health and energy level as are exercising and eating right.

* Use what you sell or make. Familiarize yourself with the benefits your product or service delivers. You will gain insight that makes you more productive and efficient.

* Build your contact list. Talk to people every day. Don’t concentrate only on people who can buy from you or who can add value to your network. Focus on meeting new people and adding value to their lives, and the benefits will come.

* Boost someone up. Each day, share a positive story or an encouraging word with someone you encounter. Show your respect, appreciation and approval with a quick chat, note or phone call. You will build both positive energy and your network of supporters.

* Set aside time to plan. For at least 15 to 30 minutes a day, spend time focusing on your progress and your goals, making adjustments and savoring your success.

Article adapted from Communications Briefings, February 2008, (570) 567-1982;

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