Message from the President

by Bob Byrd, FACHE

As the year, and my term as president, is drawing to a close, I thought it would be useful to reflect on the chapter’s activities over the past year and how well the chapter carried out its mission.  Mission, you ask?  THEF has a mission?  Yes, indeed.  You know, that statement that tells why an organization exists, its purpose, who it serves, what it does.  It all starts with mission. THEF’s mission is to be the professional membership society for Triad area healthcare executives; to meet its members’ professional, educational, and leadership needs; to promote high ethical standards and conduct; to advance healthcare leadership and management excellence; and to promote the mission of ACHE (which, simply, is to advance our members and healthcare management excellence).

What did the chapter this year do to further our mission?  Your board of directors worked hard on many fronts, accomplishing most of the goals set by ourselves and some of the goals established by ACHE.
For starters, the chapter conducted four excellent combined social and educational programs.  For the first time in THEF history, two of the educational programs each qualified for ACHE 1.5 Category I Credits.  Program titles were “Leading in Difficult Times,” “The Healthcare Executive’s Role in IT Decisions,” “The Healthcare Organization’s Role in Formulating Public Policy,” and “Health Law Update.”  Speakers and panelists at these programs were first class.  Average attendance was 38.75, just shy of our goal of 40. Total attendance at chapter events was up over 12% over last year.  We had good senior executive participation at these programs (one of our goals), especially at the two Category I panel discussions.

Your chapter held an ACHE Board of Governors Examination advancement seminar entitled “Fundamentals of Healthcare Management” in September.  This was certainly a low cost, local option to attend this valuable seminar without having to travel to Chicago or some other distant metropolitan area.  The dozen or so people who attended provided excellent feedback.  Of course, the ultimate goal is for more THEF members to pass the Board of Governors Examination and advance to Fellow.  On that point, we’re falling a little short of our goal of having 4 members pass the exam this year (one did so far – congratulations to you, Mr. Preslar), but the year is not over.  C’mon, you exam-eligible members!

Your chapter conducted a successful scholarship program.  The purpose of the THEF Scholarship is to provide financial support to professionals of member organizations in the Triad who are pursuing further graduate level education for a career in healthcare management. A scholarship or scholarships of up to $1,500.00 are awarded each year on the basis of an applicant’s past academic success and likelihood for future success.  This year we had three winning candidates who had outstanding applications:  Kristy Holt (Moses Cone Health System), Tracey Grazyer (Alamance Regional Medical Center), and Kathy Morrison (Women’s Hospital, Moses Cone Health System).  All three are MHA students at Pfeiffer University.  Congratulations to each of you.

Your chapter produced four quarterly newsletters (you’re reading the fourth), which I hope you will agree, have helped to keep our members connected to the chapter.  Of course, suggestions for articles that will make your newsletter more effective, interesting, and relevant are always welcomed.

The chapter website was reactivated and updated.   Watch for even more improvements in the future.

Our chapter membership is strong, currently at 197 members.  This is a 4% increase over the 189 members at the end of last year.  New members are listed elsewhere in this newsletter.  There are still those who have let their membership lapse who could take advantage of AHCE’s special pricing offer to renew now and continue into the next year, so our end-of-year membership could be greater yet.  C’mon, you lapsed affiliates!

As reported elsewhere in this newsletter, our member satisfaction score, on a scale of 1 to 10, was 7.5, slightly less than the ACHE 7.7 standard set by the ACHE as an Award of Chapter Excellence Indicator, and less than our self-imposed goal of 8.0.  However, it was better than our score of 7.0 last year, and it was better than the mean satisfaction score of all chapters nationally of 6.9.

Four of our members became Fellows this past year; the percent of THEF members who are Fellows is now 24%.  Congratulations to those four, who also are listed elsewhere in this newsletter.  The 2009 ACHE standard for the Award of Chapter Excellence Indicator is to have 8 new Fellow designates or Fellows.  There is still time to meet this standard if just 4 more former Diplomates meet the requirements to advance to Fellow by the December 31 deadline.  C’mon, you former Diplomates!

My conclusion of all of this is that the Triad Healthcare Executive Forum is a vibrant organization that is effectively carrying out its mission of being your professional society.  We can improve, certainly.  This is your society; it is up to the members to leverage the resources of the chapter to realize the many benefits that such a society can bring.  I’m speaking of benefits such as professional advancement, knowledge and continuing education, networking and relationship building, the furthering of professional ethics and standards, and the furthering of leadership and management excellence.
Thanks to all who have helped make this a successful year for THEF.  It has been an honor and privilege to have served as your president.  Special thanks go to my fellow board members, Christine, Pam, Paul, and Sam, for all of their hard work and support.  Thanks to all of those who have participated at chapter events and activities.  Please continue to stay involved in the chapter.   It helps all of us as we advance our chosen profession.

Message from the Regent

Fall 2009

I called Bryant Aldridge in the mid 70s to ask advice. Bryant, a former fullback at Duke in the late 1950s, went to Northwestern for his MHA and early in his career built the first all private room hospital in North Carolina. His hospital, located in Rocky Mount, NC, grew under his thirty plus years of leadership to become Nash Health Care System which serves well the City of Rocky Mount, Nash County and a good part of eastern North Carolina. As a brand new CEO of a small hospital in 1973, I met Bryant, asked for his advice and he became one of the best mentors, and more importantly, the best friend I could ever have had.

I remember this call as I described a situation where all but one of the medical staff had quit delivering babies and families were going out of the county for their prenatal and pediatric care. Bryant listened patiently, asked a few questions and then told me something that, at the time, I did not consider much of an answer to my hospital’s problems. He said, “you know Fred, out of challenge comes opportunity.” As we ended the call, I can remember thinking that that advice was not much help. I wanted a solution and needed it soon.

I continued to think about Bryant’s advice as I tried to figure out how to convert this challenge to opportunity. The community really needed OB-GYN coverage, but we did not have enough business for two. There were enough Family Practitioners in the area, but I could not convince any who had given up delivering babies to go back into doing it again.

Remember, this was before email (people actually wrote letters!). One day I received a letter from Bryant with an article about a new program at the Medical University of South Carolina where they were training Certified Nurse Midwives. I picked up the phone, talked to the director of the program and within a few weeks had two midwives visiting the community. They were looking for a place where they could practice with an Obstetrician (they already had a candidate) and where family friendly obstetrics would be a drawing card. I put together a business plan, gained reluctant support of the medical staff and had the plan approved by the Board.

We converted a couple of old wards to what are now called LDRs , brought the midwives and the new OB to town, put articles and adds in the paper and to my amazement, patients came from far and wide! We went from less than 100 deliveries per year to over 300 in just 12 months. Patients loved the service, the care. We added a new pediatrician to cover all of the new pediatric business. This, the first hospital based nurse midwifery practice in the state, was not without critics at first but history has proven this to be safe and high quality service. The hospital received good publicity and we were able to add other new services by, as Bryant Aldridge has suggested, converting challenges into opportunities.

Bryant Aldridge is facing his own challenges now. I am sure that he and his wonderful wife, Jean will try every way they can to find opportunities for themselves, their family and many friends to find comfort in the challenges they face.

Bryant looked at the world as a place to seek opportunity and to do things in new and better ways. The first all private room hospital in the state, the first hospital with bedside computers in the Southeast, the first “Day Hospital” that was designed and built for outpatient growth, all were Bryant’s ways of finding opportunity in challenge.

We can all learn from the legacy and work of this good man as it applies to the challenges we face today. There are new and better ways to serve our populations. We can get more value from the money we are spending, there are better ways to deliver care and with imagination and fortitude, we will achieve all this and more.

Thank you, Bryant Aldridge for being my friend and mentor. I encourage all of you more senior Fellows to seek to help younger members convert challenges into opportunities. I urge you more junior careerists to seek out good advice from people who have made a real difference. Healthcare and our profession will be better for it.

I consider it a great privilege to be your Regent.

Fred T. Brown, Jr., FACHE
Regent for North Carolina


Dec. 31 Advancement Deadline for Former Diplomates

Detailed advancement status information is on for those affiliates who are close to becoming a Fellow of ACHE. This includes former Diplomates who did not meet the requirements to advance on Jan. 1, 2007.

This group was not required to submit a Fellow application; however, if former Diplomates do not advance by Dec. 31, 2009, they will be required to submit a Fellow application and pay the $250 application fee. In September, chapter presidents received a list of the former Diplomates in their chapters. Please encourage these individuals to go to to review their status regarding advancement requirements. Many former Diplomates need only a few hours of Category I (ACHE education) credit or to document their Category II (non-ACHE education) hours. Some affiliates may only need to submit information to ACHE for review.

If you have any questions, please contact the Customer Service Center at (312) 424-9400 or at           

2009 New Members, New Fellows, and Recertified Fellows

reported from ACHE records

Triad Healthcare Executive Forum

Below is a list of Affiliates who have joined ACHE, the Members who have passed the Board of Governors exam and the Fellows who have advanced or recertified since January 1 in the THEF territory, as reported by ACHE. Please take a moment to congratulate your colleagues for their commitment to advancing their healthcare careers. Use the online Affiliate Directory to obtain their contact information.

Kenneth K. Boggs, FACHE, Greensboro
Len B. Preslar Jr., FACHE, Winston Salem
Mary C. Stewart, RN, FACHE, Kernersville
Edgar G. Villanueva, FACHE, Winston Salem

New Members
Marisa A. Abbaleo, Winston Salem
Brian Amrich, Winston-Salem
Bryan T. Arkwright, Winston Salem
Michael L. Duke, Clemmons
Mandy C. Eaton, Burlington
Janet Forrest, Winston Salem
Pazanta D. Goolsby, Greensboro
Debbie M. Hunter, Winston-Salem
Kuruvilla P. Kurian, PhD, Burlington
Vivian Langley, Burlington
Evette Law, Greensboro
Tamika Morgan, Winston Salem
Sherry W. Nance, Archdale
William Nolan, Greensboro
Angela P. Orth, High Point
Aaron P. Rose, Burlington
Aaron Saunders, Greensboro
Joe Vincoli, Clemmons
Katherine Williams, RN, Greensboro

Recertified Fellows
Rick L. Blake, FACHE, High Point
Bradley A. Daniel, FACHE, Lewisville
Page R. Redpath, FACHE, High Point
Judith A. Schanel, FACHE, Greensboro


Annual Dinner Meeting Held November 12, 2009

by Bob Byrd, FACHE

The 2009 Annual Dinner Meeting/Program of the Triad Healthcare Executive Forum was held on Thursday, November 12, at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center in Greensboro, NC.  The evening began at 5:30 p.m. with approximately 40 minutes of networking over cocktails, beer, wine, and soft drinks in a large, comfortable meeting room provided by the Grandover.  A total of 50 persons were in attendance, the largest number of attendees at a THEF program over the past couple of years.

A delicious meal followed.  The menu consisted of a spinach salad with walnut and bacon dressing, breast of chicken with Dijon mustard and panko crumb crust with tarragon cream sauce, rice, vegetables, and a wonderful dessert of “individual peanut butter and chocolate blast.”  This detail is mentioned only to entice those who didn’t attend this year’s dinner to seriously think about attending next year’s.

During dinner, Pam Sinclair, FACHE, our THEF director who coordinated the chapter’s 2009 scholarship program, introduced two of the three scholarship award winners who were able to be in attendance as guests of THEF.  They were Kristy Holt, Moses Cone Health System, who was accompanied by her husband, Joe, and Tracey Grayzer, Alamance Regional Medical Center, who was accompanied by her husband, Austin Gwin.  The third winner, who was not able to attend, was Kathy Morrison, Women’s Hospital, Moses Cone Health System.  All three winners are MHA students at Pfeiffer University.

Tom Stukes, who heads the health law practice of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, then provided a very timely and informative update on legal developments over the past year that effect health care.  Some of the areas Mr. Stukes covered were on protected information (HITECH ACT, Red Flag Rule), IRS scrutiny of tax-exempt hospitals (executive compensation survey, new Form 990 filing requirements), disruptive physicians (The Joint Commission proposed standard MS.01.01.01), Stark law and fraud and abuse (“stand in the shoes” regulation, definition of “entity”, on-call pay, P4P gain sharing arrangements, hospital executive fine for improper payment to physicians), patient safety legislation, and a current “Qui tam” law suit regarding employed physician compensation.  Tom’s health law update has become somewhat of an annual tradition for THEF that has been very useful for healthcare executives.  Whether it’s legislative law, regulatory law, or case law, the legal landscape is constantly changing.

Following Mr. Stukes’ excellent presentation and a question and answer session, there was a brief business meeting at which the members present elected unanimously, by acclimation, the following officers and directors:

President – Paul A. Jeffrey, Vice President/Administrator, Wesley Long Community Hospital, Moses Cone Health System

President-Elect – Pamela M. Sinclair, FACHE, Vice President Ancillary Services, High Point Regional Health System

Secretary-Treasurer - Samuel B. Seifert, Business Administrator, Department of Anesthesiology, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

Director – Christine L. Sternjacob, Implementation Specialist IV, Novant Medical Group

Director – Wendy Hick, RN, BSN, MSN, Clinical Practice Manager for Cardiology, Forsyth Medical Center

Director (Immediate Past President) – Robert E. Byrd, FACHE, Senior Vice President, Alamance Regional Medical Center

Congratulations are in order for your new leadership team.

At the conclusion of the evening, Paul Jeffrey presented Bob Byrd a plaque of appreciation for his term as president and the years he has served on the board of directors of THEF.  All in all, it was a very nice evening of socializing and networking, good food and drink, and relevant education (and a little business thrown in).

Summer Meeting/Program Had Distinguished Panel

by Bob Byrd, FACHE

THEF held its third meeting/program for the year, its second Category I Panel Discussion, on August 18, 2009. Held at the Education Center at Wesley Long Community Hospital, the title of the program was “The Healthcare Organization’s Role in Formulating Public Policy.”   The distinguished panel was moderated by Linwood Jones, General Counsel for the North Carolina Hospital Association.  Panelists were THEF’s very own Tim Rice, FACHE, President and CEO of the Moses Cone Health System, Maureen Demarest Murray, Esq., partner with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, and Lanier M. Cansler, Secretary of the NC Department of Health and Human Services.  A total of forty-four (44) persons were in attendance.

After an engaging half hour of socializing and networking, catalyzed by delicious and nutritious finger food and soft drinks graciously provided by Wesley Long, the panel discussion began with comments by moderator Linwood Jones.  Mr. Jones expressed how important it was for NCHA hospital members to be engaged with the NCHA in the legislative process.  He cited as an example the proposed sales tax law that was before the legislature, but was defeated.  The law’s passage would have caused huge financial implications for the state’s nonprofit hospitals.  Individual members were vital in communicating that message to their local legislative delegations.  Mr. Jones also pointed out that the NCHA, along with its members, plays a vital role in working with the regulatory branches and agencies of government.  He cited a current example of the regulatory requirement of medical office buildings, after being purchased by hospitals, having to be upgraded to more costly hospital building standards even when the services being provided in those buildings may not change.

Tim Rice described his early experiences, as a new CEO, of working with legislators to communicate the impact of proposed laws on Moses Cone.  He emphasized the importance of building relationships and trust with representatives at lower levels, noting that some, such as Senator Kay Hagan, move up to more influential positions.  In working with officials, he leaves the details of his communications to the professionals in the American Hospital and North Carolina Hospital Associations.  He noted that local connections are very important.  He stated that one needs to pick the right battles.   He also pointed out the importance of speaking to civic clubs and other community forums to educate the community on important issues.

Maureen Murray began by speaking about regulatory law, noting that it is subject to interpretation.  She indicated that agencies need and want insight from providers when writing regulations, noting that there are opportunities for executives to provide comments and serve on workgroups that write rules.  Ms. Murray emphasized that being involved in the beginning of developing rules builds relationships and trust, which provides opportunity for influence.  She cited that the process of developing the State Medical Facilities Plan is a good opportunity for involvement.  She expressed the importance of educating the public on issues through public speaking and writing editorials, and the need to take a stand on litigation.

Secretary Lanier Cansler provided an overview of the Department of Health and Human Services, noting that it is the largest agency in state government with 19,000 employees.  Health care makes up the largest part of the budget, with the Medicaid budget being over $10 billion.  He noted that the Medicaid program is a larger program than Blue Cross Blue Shield, but that it employs far fewer persons.  He described the state’s budget situation as a tough one that requires cuts in expenditures.  Secretary Cansler expressed that he would much rather manage utilization rates to lower levels than to manage payment rates to lower levels.  He spoke of the importance of input from providers as his department deals with budget decisions.

A spirited question and answer session followed with great participation from all of the panelists.  Much of the discussion centered around mental health reform in North Carolina and health care reform nationally.

Judging by the responses from the evaluation forms, the program was very successful.  Of the 30 persons who responded, the average score was 4.5 for the question that asked how satisfied one was with the panel discussion, which was on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very dissatisfied and 5 being very satisfied.  On the question that asked about the effectiveness of the program in enhancing professional knowledge and skills, the average score was 4.3 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.  There were many written comments such as “Excellent meeting!” “Great opportunity to get credit while hearing a great program!” “Great program! Thanks!” “Excellent program, interesting and knowledgeable presenters.” “Very timely topic superbly presented.”

Summer ePoll Results

by Christine Sternjacob

Excluding finance, what key area is your institution focusing on at this time? 

  • 73.33%   Quality     (11)                                                                                                    
  • 13.33%   Gov Mandates   (2)
  •  6.67%    Staff Shortages (1)
  •  6.67%    Safety (1)                                                                                                        


ACHE 2009 Chapter Member Needs Survey Results

by Bob Byrd, FACHE

The results of ACHE’s Chapter Member Needs Survey are in.  ACHE conducted the survey among all of its chapters during the Fall of 2009.  For THEF, 131 members were surveyed, with 62 respondents.  Overall, THEF fared well when compared to other chapters.  Highlights are:

1)  Familiarity with chapter activities and services -  58.3% of THEF respondents said that they were either somewhat familiar or completely familiar with chapter activities and services, compared with a mean score of 59.3% for all chapters.

2)  Overall satisfaction – On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied, THEF’s mean score was 7.53, compared to a mean score of all chapters of 6.93.

3)  Chapter event attendance – 61.7% of THEF members responded that they attended at least one THEF chapter meeting/event during the last 12 months, compared to a mean score of 46.3% for all chapters.  For attending two or more meetings/events, the scores were 35.0% and 26.7%, respectfully.

4)  Receiving chapter emails – 94.9% of THEF members responded that they received emails from the chapter regarding chapter activities, compared to a mean score of 84.8% for all chapters.

5)  Frequency of chapter emails – 93.0% of THEF members responded that they receive email communications at just about the right frequency, compared with a mean score of 80.2% for all chapters.  7.0% of THEF members said that the email communications are not often enough, compared to a mean score of 19.0% for all chapters.  No THEF members responded that chapter email communications are too frequent, compared to a mean score of 0.8% for all chapters.

Thanks to all who responded to the survey.  Your chapter leaders will use these results to better serve you in the future.  If you would like the complete survey results, please contact Bob Byrd at

Make Listening a Key Component of Your Leadership Strategy

Successful leaders don’t talk all the time; they pay close and constant attention to the people they want to influence. If you want to do a better job of leading people, start by becoming the kind of leader your staff feel comfortable talking to. Here are some guidelines:

  • Ask good questions. The best questions generate detailed answers and thorough discussions. Instead of telling people what you want them to do, ask them what they think they should do and why. Listen before you speak, and then ask more questions that explore their thinking.
  • Don’t solve problems for people. Your staff will bring you problems and ask you what to do. Resist the impulse to tell them, or to handle the problem yourself. Instead talk about what caused the problem, explore options, and—again—listen to ideas. Even if the solution ultimately comes from your head, people will feel better about putting it to work knowing they had a fair chance to share their opinions.
  •  Pay attention to feelings. You don’t have to be a psychologist to understand and take into account the emotions of your employees. Let people vent when they’re upset. Acknowledge their anger when they feel they’ve been treated unfairly. Smile when they make a joke. You may not agree with their feelings, but you do need to validate them.
  •  Look forward, not back. Always steer your discussions toward the future. Avoid dwelling on past mistakes or last year’s triumphs. Don’t ignore the lessons of experience; instead, take a long-term perspective that motivates people to move forward.

Adapted from Communication Solutions, July 2009, (800) 878-5331.

Sharing Information Key to Your Company’s Health

Communication is the lifeblood that keeps organizations healthy. To maximize its flow, put these practices in effect:

  • Respect. Don’t “protect” your staff from bad news, dismiss their concerns or talk down to them. Take the time to listen to them and answer their questions; it shows you value their input.
  • Honesty. Your staff deserve the truth. That doesn’t mean spilling trade secrets or being rude. It does mean trusting them with the facts, or at least explaining why you don’t have the answer to a question.
  • Openness. Don’t hoard information nor give the impression that your organization is keeping secrets. Unless the information can be used to damage your organization or hurt someone, share it so people know you trust their judgment.
  • Timeliness. Staff should always hear your organization’s news from you before anyone else. Tell your people what you know as soon as you know it. If you don’t have the whole story, let them know. Then update them as soon as you’re able.
  • Attention. Communication should travel in both directions. Listen to your staff. Remove distractions and refuse interruptions when they have something important to say. Respond to their e-mails. The better you are at accepting their ideas and opinions, the more they will respect yours.

Adapted from Communication Solutions, June 2009, (800) 878-5331.

Leader to Leader Program

Each time you encourage a colleague to join ACHE or sponsor a Fellow applicant, you will receive points that can be redeemed for quality rewards such as a Cross pen, technology set, umbrella, gift certificate and more.


ACHE’s Leader-to-Leader Program recognizes the influential role affiliates play in recruiting new members and encouraging current Members to advance to Fellow and rewards you for it. One point is awarded for each new Member recruited or current Member who advances to Fellow. To receive credit, they must list you as the sponsor on their applications.


Points can be redeemed one at a time on or saved to redeem at a later date for multiple items. By encouraging your colleagues to join ACHE or earn the FACHE credential, you will enhance their professional development, boost your organization’s productivity and performance, and positively impact healthcare delivery. Visit the Leader-to-Leader area of or contact ACHE’s Customer Service Center at (312) 424-9400 or for more information

Ensure delivery of Chapter E-newsletter (Disclaimer)

To ensure delivery of your chapter newsletter, please add to your email address book or Safe Sender List.  If you are still having problems, receiving our communications, see our white-listing page for more details: