Healthcare Administrators of Tidewater

Summer 2016

Message from Your HCAT President

Eric M. Young, FACHE, President

A message from your HCAT President discussing the upcoming event, board of director changes, and other information.

Greetings HCAT Members!

I hope that each of you enjoyed a restful and relaxing summer. The HCAT team has been working hard to prepare a great roster of events for you this fall. I hope you can join us for our next event, A Focused Look at Behavioral Health in Hampton Roads on Thursday, October 6 at the Norfolk Yacht Club. The team has gathered a tremendous panel to have a discussion about the area’s strengths and opportunities around behavioral health. It will be a do-not miss event!

Your HCAT Board of Directors has also experienced some changes over the summer. Laura Kelsey, President-Elect and Eric Henry, Treasurer, both accepted new jobs outside the area and have relocated. Both terrific members of our team, we will certainly miss their contributions and leadership to the chapter, but wish them well in their new endeavors. I am sure their new local ACHE chapters will be happy to have them on board! With that, we had two board vacancies that needed to be filled. Our bylaws allow for the appointment of board members to fill vacant seats, so we have begun that process. I’m pleased to announce that Samantha Kern, Director of Patient Care Services at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital has been appointed President Elect. Sam has chaired our Programs Committee this year and has done a fantastic job. She will continue to provide leadership to that team as Michele Carroll, Director of Orthopedics for Sentara Healthcare steps into Sam’s role. Finally, we are in the final stages of appointing a treasurer, so we will announce that shortly. With these board transitions, it’s a great opportunity to again remind you that we are always looking for individuals looking to get more involved. We will have several board and committee positions open for next year, so if you have an interest, please let us know so we can get you plugged in.

Finally, if you are on the cusp of obtaining your Fellow Credential, I’d encourage you to take those final steps and complete the process. Our Membership & Advancement Committee can help you find useful resources and upcoming study sessions for the Board of Governors Exam.

Thank you for your continued involvement in the chapter, but more importantly, I’d like to thank each of you for the role you play in making our healthcare system better. In these days it’s easy to throw darts at the healthcare industry (surely, we have some things to work on), but by and large the people I encounter in the industry day come to work eager to make a difference in someone’s life. And we do. I’ll leave you with one challenge – find a way to do something out of the ordinary for one of your patients, members, residents, or customers this month. Just one thing for one person and see where it goes.


Eric M. Young, FACHE                                                                                                                                         President                                                                                                                                                 Healthcare Administrators of Tidewater

Message from Your ACHE Regent - Summer 2016

Note from ACHE Regent, Delores Clement, DrPH, FACHE Regent for Virginia - Central

We recently finished with the Games of the XXXI Olympiad, or the 2016 Summer Olympics. It is always interesting to watch the skills exhibited by the well-trained competitors. The talent and skills exhibited are truly amazing and at times, breath-taking. The talents and skills they exhibit can be matched to those who are delivering medical care to those who are experiencing pain and illness. The skill and knowledge that is needed is no less daunting than what is faced by the athletes. It can be mentally, physically and emotionally demanding. Healthcare professionals must keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date and ready to meet every contingency they will face. 

This summer we will continue to see the unfolding of the Presidential election race here in the United States.  Regardless of one’s political inclinations, our communities and many of our healthcare organizations were founded on taking care of the ill and vulnerable among us. Responsibility for the health of the population we serve includes all in our respective communities.  This challenge will impact our organizations as we move forward despite who may or may not be elected. The answers to the challenges posed in coverage for our communities may vary, based on one’s experience. Those of us who have been involved in the delivery of healthcare services for years rely on ACHE to assist in our ability to adapt to our continually changing environments. It is part of the ACHE ethics pledge: to enhance our profession through leadership in a wide range of community and professional activities.

ACHE provides healthcare leaders with knowledge, regardless of where one is in his/her career through educational programs to keep our skills honed and to keep us abreast of public policy. Networking through a local chapter can provide one with plenty of opportunities to share views of strategies to survive the changes. The educational seminars afford a leader with an opportunity to gain a base of knowledge upon which one can identify successful strategies. The local ACHE chapters are in the midst of planning exciting sessions for the remainder of the year. Take advantage of as many as you can. Hopefully I will see you at one soon – rested and rejuvenated from time you have taken to celebrate summer!

Dolores G. Clement, DrPH, FACHE
Regent for Virginia - Central

Master These 4 Vital Conversations

Learn more about the how the conversations you have with your employees are critical to your relationship and their productivity.

The conversations you have with employees are critical to building trust, morale and productivity. Grasp them to ensure that your team reaches its full potential. 

  • Goal-setting discussions. Meet early and often with employees to discuss goals that will challenge them while fulfilling your organization’s mission. Work together to set performance standards and deadlines so that employees know exactly what is expected of them.
  • Recognition meetings. Employees should hear directly from you when they are doing something right. Take every opportunity to recognize and praise their good work, especially on tasks that are new and unfamiliar. Reinforce positive performance with specifics, acknowledging the exact contribution they made to the team. 
  • Redirection talks. Occasionally, you will have to correct a performance issue or revaluate your team’s path. Be prepared to sit down promptly with your employees to outline what’s wrong and what needs to change. Remain clear and firm about expectations and consequences. 
  • Wrap-up conversations. At the conclusion of an important task or project, meet with your team to discuss success and improvement areas, and to celebrate if appropriate. This approach also is useful when an employee masters a new skill. Let employees know when you appreciate their work, and remind them of how their efforts contribute to the organization’s success. 

—Adapted from Communication Solutions April 2016 newsletter,


Member Reflections on August 4th Event "Diversity and Inclusion"

Becky Schulkowski, Member of HCAT

Member perspective on the "Diversity and Inclusion" event that was held in August.

On Thursday, August 4, members of the Healthcare Administrators of Tidewater chapter of ACHE gathered to hear panelists speak on “Diversity and Inclusion”. Speakers included Mary Blunt, PT, MHA, FACHE, Senior Corporate Vice President, Sentara Healthcare and Jennifer Shinn, MA, SPHR, SHRM SCP, Director Human Resources, Riverside Medical Group.

Ms. Blunt started the evening by sharing some poignant examples of challenges that stem from caring for a diverse patient population. In one story, a patient from Haiti was in the hospital, and the family wanted to follow a traditional Haitian custom of cutting off a chicken’s head and smearing blood around the room in order to help heal the patient. This custom was culturally significant to the patient and the family, but posed several challenges to the care team.

Another example was about a young girl that presented with abdominal pain in the Emergency Room. She was Spanish speaking, and there were potentially avoidable delays in her care due to communication issues. Her pain wasn’t truly appreciated until her sister called 911 from the hospital ER. At this point, the staff took quicker action and the patient ended up in the Operating Room to get her appendix removed. The leadership team had a stand-down with the ER staff because they feared that staff biases were part of the cause of the delay in care. After interviewing the staff, their fears were confirmed. Several staff members stated that they treated the patient differently because she was Spanish speaking.

Ms. Blunt stressed that these situations could happen at any hospital in the country. We all bring biases with us to work every day. Our biases can lead to substandard quality of care, if we don’t recognize and address the impact that diversity has on our team members. We need to ensure that we meet our patients where they are, not where we are.

Ms. Shinn presented the concepts of diversity and inclusion from another standpoint – that of our team members and leaders. She shared the ethnic breakdown of the five major markets that Riverside serves, and then compared that to the ethnic breakdown of the staff members in those same markets. She shared that Riverside resembles its population, which positively impacts Riverside’s ability to care for their patients. Embracing diversity will improve staff recruitment and retention, and increase the quality of work and ideas that team members contribute. By having a diverse workforce that mirrors the community, the customers will be more enticed to choose you and remain loyal to your company.  

Ms. Shinn also discussed how we need to be more expansive on how we think about diversity. It’s not just race and ethnicity. Diversity also includes religion, language, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic factors, physical ability, and thought processes. She shared an example of how differences in thought processes led to conflict at work. In one case, two pharmacy technicians who were of the same age, race, and attended the same high school ended up as co-workers. While at the surface they “looked” the same, their thought processes and work habits were vastly different. One team member worked quickly, wanting to make sure that they got the medications to the patient as soon as possible. The other team member worked slower, always re-checking the medications to make sure they were correct before sending them up to the nursing unit. The two could not get along. One thought the other was “reckless”, while the other thought they were “too slow”. It took a conversation between the manager and the two team members to show that they both had the same goal: to take care of the patient. One focused on getting the medications up to the patient quickly, while the other focused on accuracy. By putting the focus back on the patient, they were able to work through their differences and utilize each other’s strengths.

As a healthcare director, the challenges of a diverse patient population and healthcare team are felt every day. Diversity can lead to conflict, miscommunication, conflicting expectations, and resistance to change. The stories shared could happen in any facility, and healthcare leaders must be responsive to the growing diversity of the community and their team members. It is critical to healthcare organizations’ financial survival to understand and embrace the needs of a diverse population. Those needs could require modified operational processes or potentially new services. Examples include expanded translation services, sensitivity to patient preferences for modesty, and requiring diversity training as a core competency for their leadership and team members. The composition of healthcare boards should also diversify to match the community served. This can be achieved by balancing the traditional skill-set board with a representative board structure.

The evening ended with several questions from the audience, but one comment from Mike Warrington, Captain, MSC, USN, particularly stood out and perfectly summarized the discussion of the evening. He shared that his healthcare background included his prior job as a radiology technician. He made the analogy of the diversity of a healthcare team to taking x-rays. You rarely perform a single view when taking an x-ray; you do multiple views so you don’t miss something. In the same vein, you want to have a diversified team that has multiple points of view so that you can provide the best care possible.