For Dr. Loren Hamel and Dr. Benjamin Chu, the key to innovation within the healthcare industry lies with people. Dr. Hamel serves as CEO of Lakeland Health, an organization responsible for numerous hospitals, practices, and clinics across Southwestern Michigan. Dr. Chu serves as executive vice president of Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California. Both men have demonstrated their ability to make big changes by taking a closer look at the people in their systems. In their eyes, focusing on the experiences of patients and caregivers alike is crucial to innovating in an evolving healthcare industry.

Dr. Hamel recently faced a daunting task in addressing the mediocre patient satisfaction scores at Lakeland Health, stuck between the 25th and 50th percentile. Yet his ultimate solution would take those scores to the 95th percentile a mere 90 days after his new ideas were implemented. This was achieved through a “Bring Your Heart to Work” campaign, which succeeded with little to no additional financial resources and a lot of help from Lakeland Health’s employees.

Dr. Hamel asked staff and caregivers to take an emotional interest in the experience of their patients. He described the process saying, “Every time you interact with a patient, tell them who you are, what you’re there to do, and then share a heartfelt why.” The “why” was designed to make the patient’s fears and hopes a top priority for the employees interacting with them. Not only did patient satisfaction skyrocket but many in the work environment also became less tolerant of coworkers with rude or impolite attitudes.

At Kaiser Permanente, Dr. Chu, much like Dr. Hamel, had to consider how performance data offered a window into the affairs of his organization. Kaiser Permanente launched a system called POINT, or Permanente Online Interactive Network, to offer providers a closer look at performance data for physicians. Dr. Chu describes transparency of performance as crucial, particularly for physicians.

Dr. Chu also sought to decentralize Kaiser’s healthcare campus, even rebuilding several medical offices. First, they sought the opinions of their members before looking to administrators, physicians and nurses to seek their opinions on changes that could be made. Talking about these reforms, Dr. Chu said, “If you take the time to really think about a framework that taps into the hearts and minds of the frontline people, you can really accelerate transformation in a big way.”

While technology played a key role for both Dr. Hamel and Dr. Chu in understanding their organizations, it was their focus on people that ultimately yielded innovation. This was a focus on patients, members, staff, caregivers, and even administrators, which helped to create something new and better than what had existed before. For more information visit:


Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry

Success happens when preparation and opportunity meet.

Recent blog posts
View this email in your browser

Prepare For Success
Early in my 30 year career in executive recruitment and coaching, I was responsible for recruiting and training sales executives at NCH Corporation.  I find my background in sales training to be extremely helpful as I work with executives in transition.

When I was in my sales position with NCH corporation, I learned several key things:  
  • We had clear plans and targets for sales and we didn’t go home until those were met.  We had the tenacity to reach out and make contacts and have clear goals to achieve.
  • People buy from people they like.  The primary focus is to build relationships with clients as part of the sales cycle.  
  • Practice is essential and role playing is a key part of training.
Executives in transition are shifting from leading and operating organizations to selling a commodity, themselves.  A successful transition, like a successful sale takes focus, energy, a clear plan, and intentional action.  You have to know your product, have a clear brand, a value statement, know your market, identify your sales targets, and be confident in representing your product.

I find most executives have no formal background or training in sales and often feel very unprepared for the demands of a successful job transition and search.  My role is to be a coach and guide, to help executives in transition find their rudder, set their course and make a successful journey.

Executives successful in transition are the ones who use the time in transition to learn more about themselves and their goals for the future. Creating the right attitude and exuding confidence is a key to mastering your transition and achieving your goals.

In my practice I primarily work with healthcare executives.  So I know the market, the role demands, and the key tools required to be successful.  I not only provide my clients the tools, I provide the coaching and support for clients to learn through their journey and find a successful path forward.

I’m proud of the many executives I have helped through my 30 years and find the wisdom and experience to be a valued commodity for my clients.

Here’s to your success!

  Jim Wiederhold
  Wiederhold & Associates
  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
Connect with us to learn more about our other resource services at  www.wiederholdassoc.comLinkedIn and join our Premium Active Network.
“Executives in transition can count on Jim Wiederhold and Associates to provide guidance and encouragement and instill confidence. They help executives explore new opportunities and career alternatives. We strongly recommend their services.” 
Copyright *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN), a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA), featured an article this month on the traits needed to be a successful CEO in today’s environment. This week, in the second part of a two-part blog post, we’ll look at some of the new challenges and the new skills needed for success.

The ideal CEO must be data-driven. Paul H. Keckley, managing director for Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis, says that hospital performance data is now available to both buyers and patients alike. Today, more and more insurers are using these commercially available analytics, so it is important for CEOs to be familiar with such data also.

CEOs must be motivated to take action as well. Peter Rabinowitz, executive recruiter and president of P.A.R. Associates Inc., says that when a board wants to rationalize the organization, a CEO may be tasked not only with building the organization up but also taking people out when needed. While a changing healthcare environment sometimes means layoffs, there are other times when employees can simply adapt to new roles. For instance, Scripps Health in San Diego underwent complete operations reorganization and saved hundreds of millions in costs, all without a single layoff.

Clinical competence is another quality CEOs must aspire to. Boards will frequently look to physicians as ideal CEOs, but this might very well be a mistake according to Phil Dalton, senior vice president of physician strategies at VHA Inc. “They [physicians] are highly intelligent and talented, but their experience is generally not in running organizations,” says Dalton. Michael Rowan, president for health systems delivery and COO at Catholic Health Initiatives, says that nurses are often far more likely to have the management background to take on such a leadership role.

Financial focus is another especially important skill in light of the realities of declining Medicare payments and the recent requirements of the Affordable Care Act. “It means having to think about efficiency across the entire spectrum of care,” says Carol Geffner.

Geffner also pointed out the importance of matrix management. Traditionally, hospitals are vertically organized into departments: radiology, cardiology, etc. However, now that hospitals are changing, Geffner says that horizontal structures are being created as well. “Now that hospitals are becoming health systems, they have to have not only these vertical structures, they are creating horizontal structures,” Geffner says.

Resolving conflict is another vital skill, since change is constantly afoot in healthcare. Leonard J. Marcus, founding director of the program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, says that two steps are needed to change conflict to consensus. First, he says fears must be acknowledged and addressed as they crop up. Secondly, he says that it is important to find ways in which the organization can meet everyone’s common interests in some form or another.

Agile learning is another skill that all CEOs must have and it might very well be the most important skill. At Korn Ferry, the world’s largest executive search firm, learning agility is actually considered the leading predictor of success in leadership.

Finally, strategic vision is critical. While innovation and creativity ranked very highly, strategic planning and critical thinking were listed as the top skills needed to lead in the world of health systems in the coming years.

To learn more, visit the AHA’s online publication, Hospitals & Health Networks: http://www.hhnmag.com/Magazine/2015/June/cover-new-health-care-CEO
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry

After 21 + years in the career development business, I have seen the unique skill sets required for effective healthcare  leaders.  One key I have discovered is that effective leaders are continuous learners who never stop growing and  developing their skills and talents.

Recent blog posts
View this email in your browser

Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be
After 21 + years in the career development business, I have seen the unique skill sets required for effective healthcare  leaders.  One key I have discovered is that effective leaders are continuous learners who never stop growing and  developing their skills and talents.

I have found important learning traits that effective leaders require: 

  • New levels of perception and insight into the realities of the world and also into themselves
  • Extraordinary levels of motivation to go through the inevitable pain of learning and change
  • The emotional strength to manage their own and others' anxiety as learning and change become more and more a way of life
  • New skills in analyzing and changing cultural assumptions
  • The willingness and ability to involve others and elicit their participation
  • The ability to learn the assumptions of a whole new organizational culture
An essential part of effective leadership and growth is networking.  Wiederhold & Associates has developed the most in-depth premium network of senior healthcare professionals in the country. The Premium Active Network program was developed for individuals who see the value of networking, gaining visibility in the industry and building mutually beneficial relationships.

At Wiederhold & Associates, we are a leading provider of career development, transition services and executive coaching to the healthcare industry. We help individuals and organizations with the tools and resources to develop and sustain exceptional leadership performance.  
Through networking and coaching, we are always focused on relationship building with a personal touch.

Throughout the year, I will be sending periodic communications through email and social media that will keep you informed of topics on leadership effectiveness and managing your career for a lifetime.
Connect with us to learn more about our Premium Active Networkand other resource services at 
www.wiederholdassoc.com  and  LinkedIn
Here’s to your success!
  Jim Wiederhold
  Wiederhold & Associates
  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  
“Executives in transition can count on Jim Wiederhold & Associates to provide guidance and encouragement and instill confidence. They help executives explore new opportunities and career alternatives. We strongly recommend their services.” 
Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN), a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA), featured an article this month on the traits needed to be a successful CEO in today’s environment. This week, in the first part of a two-part blog post, we’ll begin looking at some of the new challenges and new skills needed for success.

For decades, Jon B. Schandler acted as CEO of White Plains Hospital in Westchester County, just North of New York City. In 2010, seeing retirement on the horizon in just a few years, Schandler worked to create a seamless transition of leadership as his hospital sought to develop more specialized services and find physicians to provide them.

Schandler ultimately found a worthy successor in Susan Fox, an MBA and an RN. Not only had Fox worked as a pediatric intensive care nurse, but her time as senior manager of consultants at Ernst and Young gave her over a decade of experience in strategic planning and managing integrated physician operations.

Fox came to White Plains Hospital as senior vice president of administration in 2010, and spent the next five years honing her skills. Her background in nursing led her to introduce multidisciplinary rounds, coordinating care with everyone from therapists to case coordinators. Today, Fox is CEO and revenues are up while the average length of stay is down at White Plains Hospital.

While this particular hospital is a success story, hospitals all around the country struggle to find the crucial leadership and vision they need. CEO turnover rates are currently at record highs, averaging over 17 percent in the past five years. White Plains Hospital is just another example of the vital importance of finding skilled CEOs in a healthcare industry that is constantly evolving. And the ideal candidate will have a unique combination of skills.

First and foremost, an ideal CEO must be adaptable to change. A recent AHA survey found that over 80 percent of hospital executives see change management as one of the most critical of leadership skills. Carol Geffner, president of Newpoint Healthcare Advisors, says that bringing about change requires both imagination and flexibility. Geffer believes that healthcare is just beginning to move from volume to value simply because reimbursement often does not support value-based care.

Next week, we’ll explore some key traits in detail: the need for CEOs to be data-driven, financially focused, motivated to take action, adept at resolving conflicts, skilled in matrix management, and willing to gain a greater understanding of clinical competency.

To learn more, visit the AHA’s online publication, Hospitals & Health Networks: http://www.hhnmag.com/Magazine/2015/June/cover-new-health-care-CEO
Continue reading
Tagged in: career development
Rick Schooler is a man whose daily work hinges on his ability to prioritize different objectives. As Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Vice President of Orlando Health, he says he is occupied with as many as 100 or more projects in tandem ranging from his work in the supply chain to pharmacy retail. “I’ve been in healthcare for 24 years and I learn something new every day,” says Schooler.

Schooler’s top priorities at Orlando Health are those that are required by regulation. “We take care of what’s absolutely required first, and then those things that are ‘should dos’ or are a ‘nice to have,’” says Schooler. A formal IT governance process ensures that the flow of money and resources is first diverted to that which is mandatory, as well as things that are truly strategic for the organization. Only after those priorities are addressed can Schooler set to work on other tasks. He describes his management style as “transparent” and says his management team has a firm understanding of their business. Ultimately, he says that their time, money, and efforts must be spent on those things that will bring the most value.

Security is also vitally important in the role of CIO. Everything from data loss prevention to antivirus programs is Schooler’s responsibility. Data loss resulting from hacking is a very real threat that Schooler says can only be met by spending the money needed to combat it and having a team of intelligent and skilled IT professionals to defend against it.

According to Schooler, one of the greatest challenges he faces in his work is knowing that, with limited resources, there will always be someone who will be left unhappy. He says that the essence of demand management is working to ensure that his organization does not make the wrong person unhappy.

Finally, in looking to the future, Schooler says that CIOs will be forced to use demand management as a tool to assess offerings within the cloud, such as tech platforms. He sees the job of CIO as evolving into coordinating information management, rather than actually implementing it.

To learn more about Schooler’s priorities as CIO, visit: http://www.fiercehealthit.com/story/demand-management-biggest-challenge-orlando-healths-rick-schooler-qa/2015-05-12?page=full
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
Medicare recovery audit contractors (RACs) are costing hospitals significant sums in terms of expenditures related to managing audits, denials and appeals. Some hospitals report spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, even millions, addressing RAC audits. The hospitals say the money would be better spent on improving the healthcare provided to patients.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) conducted a RAC survey September 2014, which was answered by 402 hospitals; 311 hospitals completed all questions in the survey. As a result, the AHA is calling for a reform of the RAC payment structure. One problem: RACs are paid a commission—between 9.0% and 12.5%—on each claim they deny. Hospitals say the contingency fees should be eliminated so that RACs are no longer incentivized to deny claims.

The AHA cites evidence to support its conclusion, including the fact that “more than 70% of appealed hospital Medicare Part A denials are fully overturned at the third level of appeal, when the case is heard not by a contractor, but by an administrative law judge.” Additionally, it can take years to settle claims that are disputed.

Legislation to improve the situation is pending; if passed, the law would “replace the RAC contingency fee structure with a flat fee to reduce the financial incentive for overzealous auditing practices; rationalize payments to RACs by lowering payments for poor RAC performance; fix CMS’s rebilling rules to allow hospitals to rebill claims when appropriate; and require RACs to base their inpatient claims decisions on only the information the physician had when treating the patient.”

In the meantime, hospitals are continuing to add new staff and hire consultants to process their appeals and manage the RAC audits. The burden is especially great on smaller hospitals. A seven-page report published by the AHA includes case studies and an overview of the various processes used during RAC audits. You can access the report at: http://www.aha.org/content/15/hospsurveyreport.pdf
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
While cost reduction efforts at hospitals and health systems typically emphasize internal cost structures, it’s important to look at other factors to address new payment models and evolving types of insurance plans. That’s the advice of Jim Blake, Managing Director at consulting firm Kaufman Hall, who has published a helpful overview on how organizations can use a more encompassing approach to cost-reduction efforts.

His view is that hospitals and health systems will need to use a “total cost” strategy in order to remain competitive in the new environment. Organizations that take a proactive approach to implementing a total-cost strategy will be able to navigate future developments from a position of strength. Waiting for external pressures to reach a boiling point is fraught with risk and will leave little room for error.

Blake suggests developing a roadmap that links needed investments to the benefits they are expected to deliver in terms of improving internal cost structures as well as reducing the total cost of care. A key area for potential new investments involves data analytics, which will help an organization more accurately quantify goals and benchmark their performance against specific metrics.

Key factors vary across different parts of the country. The article notes, for example, that “per capita health expenditures in Connecticut and Maine are far higher than those in Georgia and Arizona. Even more telling, research has shown striking variations in healthcare costs within small areas, variations that are not readily explained by demographic differences and are more likely associated with differences in how healthcare is deployed, used, and practiced.”

Approaches to reducing costs under fee-for-service models (e.g., better management of capital, labor, overhead and supply costs) can have little impact in value-based models that rely on total population health and care coordination with partners. Fee-for-service models also provided minimal incentives to improve clinical effectiveness, which is now critical. Other factors to consider include service-line distribution. It’s important to review operations to determine if a health system is providing similar services at multiple facilities that are geographically close in proximity.

To learn more about this holistic approach to cost-reduction efforts, you can access the article at: http://www.kaufmanhall.com/thought-leadership/resources/full-details/why-hospitals-should-tackle-the-total-cost-challenge
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
Hospitals & Health Networks (H&HN), a publication of the American Hospital Association, featured an article this month that helps executives stay on top of the critical issue of care coordination. With the increasing importance of value-based care models, knowing the relevant key factors will not only help you improve the quality of care but simultaneously enable increased efficiencies.

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are one element of this changing landscape, but other approaches to population health management are also in play. The AHA article provides C-suite executives with a helpful checklist that will ensure you have all the bases covered, including:

Assigning Accountability – The article lists five factors that executives should consider in terms of accountability, including the need to assign a dedicated team to be responsible for care coordination.

Improving Referral Systems – A list of six points will help you focus on ways to streamline the referral process, including the need to have a referral tracking system that combines all of the pertinent data in a single, easily accessible system.

Building Relationships and Agreements – It’s important to be clear about the scope of responsibilities for various partners, and equally important to document their responsibilities to help measure and ensure compliance.

Providing a Patient Support System – Increasingly, patients are being required to help manage their own care, and clear communication with patients is paramount to improving health outcomes.

Maximizing the Value of EHR Systems – Six items to consider about EHR systems, including how your organization can extract the greatest possible value from this data, especially in terms of sharing the data and making it available to the care team in “real time,” as it is entered into the system.

Improving Communication – Almost 50% of healthcare-related errors occur during handoffs among different providers; the article lists five items that will help you prevent errors due to poor communication.

Implementing Changes – Being slow to implement a comprehensive strategy for care coordination carries substantial risks in value-based payment models; make it a top priority to get ahead of the curve.

To learn more, you can access the article and its checklist at the H&HN website: http://www.hhnmag.com/display/HHN-news-article.dhtml?dcrPath=/templatedata/HF_Common/NewsArticle/data/HHN/Daily/2015/May/royer-readmissions-EHRs
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
A report published last month by the Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) details payment cuts to hospitals in the state, which are projected to reach almost $7 billion by 2024. While the report lauds the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the expansion of Medicaid in the state for expanding health coverage (400,000 people have gained insurance), related changes have also “resulted in hospital staff layoffs and threaten to reduce the availability of hospital care, especially in rural areas.”

The report notes that the expanded health coverage could be compromised if hospitals end up reducing services, which could also impact the quality of care that is available. Some key factors noted in the report include the following:

>> Medicaid and Medicare are reimbursing significantly below the cost of providing care; Medicare is paying 86% and Medicaid is paying 82% of the actual cost of care.

>> Hospital readmission penalties have increased to 3% in 2014, and the penalties are levied against hospitals even when the readmission was unrelated to the patient’s original stay or was not preventable.

>> Even if the rate of increase in hospital-acquired conditions, such as infections, is small, 25% of all hospitals in the country will see their Medicare payments cut as a result.

>> Payments to offset costs related to uncompensated care, so-called disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, are being cut significantly even though hospitals will continue to incur costs related to uncompensated care.

The report notes that “bad debts accounted for 43% of all uncompensated care costs in 2013 and have grown by nearly $200 million over the past three years as more privately insured patients have moved to plans with higher deductibles and co-payments they cannot afford.”

For more information and other key data points, you can download the 15-page report at: http://assets.fiercemarkets.com/public/healthcare/code-blue-report.pdf
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
Chris Van Gorder, CEO of Scripps Health, has reduced turnover by half while leading a financial turnaround at the $2.6 billion health system that employs 14,000 people. He engages with staff during “Friday leadership rounds,” when he visits one of the system’s five hospitals or 28 outpatient clinics. He has also implemented a program called “Employee 100,” which provides front-line staff with opportunities to regularly meet with him and share their thoughts on the business.

Scripps Health was on the verge of bankruptcy and losing $15 million per year when Van Gorder took over. Employee morale was low and turnover was nearly 20 percent. He implemented an on-boarding process for new employees that helped increase their comfort level when joining the organization. As part of a year-long training program for new employees, he meets with each new manager joining the organization, and he views front-line managers as key individuals who have “the most difficult management job there is.”

He says that making “the rounds” to meet with employees is all about building relationships, and that executives should schedule time to do it otherwise it can get overlooked as a key priority. Being accessible during the Friday visits with staff makes people more comfortable with raising issues and asking questions, he says, and his unconventional approach to meeting with employees has resulted in significant benefits, including major improvements in patient safety.

Van Gorder wrote a book about his leadership and management style which has received positive reviews from editors and consumers alike. “The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up,” also details his career development, which included positions as a clinical laboratory manager, hospital emergency room clerk and even a hospital security guard.

During a chance encounter 35 years ago with a hospital CEO – while Van Gorder worked as a security guard – he was hoping to exchange a brief word with the CEO or even just get a handshake (it was the middle of the night when the two crossed paths in the hospital’s basement). The CEO didn’t even acknowledge his presence, which led Van Gorder to think that if he ever became a manager he would be sure to acknowledge employees and their work.

You can read more details in the articles linked below:



Continue reading
Tagged in: career development
What are the four traits of a successful change leader? What are the seven phrases you'll never hear come out of a successful leader’s mouth? What are the nine irrevocable office sins?

Last week Becker’s Hospital Review published a round-up of ten articles on leadership—all providing insights and interesting angles on how to succeed at the top of your organization. Here’s a quick rundown on some of the advice:

>> Show that you are open-minded and can collaborate across different levels of the organization.

>> Surround yourself with people who have different backgrounds and then ask questions fearlessly.

>> Don’t be afraid to hire people who are smarter than you.

>> Learn to prioritize critical responsibilities ahead of time-consuming activities that can be delegated or even eliminated.

>> Keep looking to the future and don’t be afraid to make bold decisions.

>> In-person meetings may be time consuming, but they reduce the chance for miscommunication.

>> Showing compassion instead of competitiveness fosters the collaboration needed for effective problem solving and organizational success.

What are the nine irrevocable office sins? telling lies; gossiping; complaining about your job; emotional hijacking; accepting credit for another person’s work; bragging; betraying a colleague; ruining relationships; and bringing a stinky lunch.

See the list and links to all ten articles at Becker’s Hospital Review: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/10-notable-reads-on-strategic-leadership-management.html
Continue reading
Tagged in: career development
A team of researchers from the University of Washington has been analyzing seven value-based payment programs with an eye toward how the payment landscape may evolve. They’ve published an article on their findings as well as an overview at Health Affairs (link below), which provides a sampling of how some initiatives are playing out.

An analysis of pilot programs implemented in six states (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington) found a mixed bag of successes and failures in terms of “payment reform.” Their report attempts to address reasons for varying success and failure rates. Among those factors that seem to facilitate a movement toward value-based models are:

>> Strong, trusted leadership that effectively knows how to balance competing interests between providers and payers.

>> Well-organized payers, particularly at the state level, which are able to sustain market pressures on providers.

>> Access to databases such as an all-payer claims database (APCD) as well-functioning health information exchanges (HIEs) to enable sharing of data.

Factors that appear to facilitate the maintenance of fee-for-service (FFS) payment structures include the following:

>> Lack of ongoing engagement by major purchasers, such as self-insured employers, union groups and consumer groups.

>> Inability to implement a standardized claims adjudication process, which would otherwise enable accurate comparisons across different treatment plans.

>> Competing priorities among different stakeholders, even within a single insurer, for example, when an insurer’s nationwide priorities conflict with those at the state and local regions.

Other factors influencing these dynamics include the costs involved in changing FFS billing processes and payment transactions; healthcare delivery systems that are unable to assume responsibilities for population health (both financially and clinically); and a lack of interest from patients as well as groups that represent patients. You can learn more at the link below.

Heath Affairs: http://healthaffairs.org/blog/2015/04/14/implementing-value-based-payment-reform-learning-from-the-field-of-practice/
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
Interviews recently conducted by Becker’s Hospital Review highlight the advice that CEOs wish they’d received prior to starting their job.

Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego remarked, “Nobody ever told me that being CEO really was a 24/7 job, 365 days of the year, with little privacy in an environment where every decision is scrutinized.” Steven Goldstein, CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, said, “The constant need for problem solving is an inherent part of the business.”

One common thread in many comments is that there is a lot of on-the-job learning that takes place in the C-suite. Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY, stated, “First of all, nobody told me much of anything before I became CEO in 2002.”

Career development is all about taking responsibility for the future and being proactive in terms of where you’d like to be in the coming years. Taking the initiative to learn from others will prepare you to be better able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

Another key takeaway: future developments in the healthcare industry are relatively unpredictable. Mr. Downing summed up his sentiments, saying, “We all knew healthcare was changing as we entered the new millennium, but nobody understood the degree to which healthcare would evolve.” But, on a positive note, he indicated that navigating new complexities in the industry has been one of the most rewarding challenges of his career.

When Mr. Van Gorder, began his job as CEO, the hospital was already in default on its bonds and he agonized over having to initiate layoffs and let many people go who he had worked side-by-side with over the years. However, over the past 15 years as CEO, he has been able to sustain a “no layoff philosophy” even though it has been sometimes difficult to find ways to reduce costs.

To learn more, you can read their advice and comments in the article at Becker’s Hospital Review: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/the-advice-nobody-gave-me-before-i-became-a-ceo-3-chiefs-weigh-in.html
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
Technology is transforming the healthcare industry at an accelerating pace, and the annual HIMSS conference is one of the best venues to learn about current trends and future outlooks. HIMSS is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to health IT education and networking opportunities.

Next week’s conference runs from April 12-16 in Chicago, and highlights at the show include new areas of focus on cybersecurity, building value in health IT, and using innovative non-EHR technologies to improve care delivery, clinical workflow, collaboration and patient satisfaction.

Keynote speakers include George W. Bush, who helped drive the development of health IT by establishing the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) for Health IT when he was president. Karen DeSalvo, the current National Coordinator for Health IT is also a keynote speaker, along with Medicare & Medicaid Services Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. Other featured speakers include Humana CEO Bruce Broussard and Walgreens President Alex Gourlay.

An important topic at every year’s HIMSS conference is technology interoperability—the ability to combine and integrate systems from various vendors to achieve the greatest possible value from IT resources. In part, the ONC is dedicated to helping address these issues, but the pace is slow. In January, the ONC published its 10-year plan to help foster interoperability (link below), but much remains to be done to transform the plan into reality.

When this year’s HIMSS conference kicks off on Sunday, the first topic for discussion will be interoperability, with a presentation by Erica Galvez, the ONC’s Interoperability Portfolio Manager, who will discuss how the government is planning to work with industry to improve interoperability. Visit the resources below to learn more about the conference and the ONC roadmap.

HIMSS Conference: http://www.himssconference.org/

ONC Technology Roadmap: http://www.healthit.gov/sites/default/files/nationwide-interoperability-roadmap-draft-version-1.0.pdf
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
As healthcare payments are increasingly linked to value-based models, population health management is becoming more important as a means to reduce financial risks. A report recently released by the Academy Huron Institute provides some valuable background on the evolving trends within population health management. Three key factors noted in the report include the following:

Increasing prevalence of risk-based programs—the report provides an analysis of how healthcare providers are taking on greater risks through commercial incentives, partnering with health plans, and participating in accountable care organizations (ACOs).

Greater emphasis on population health management—health systems are planning to allocate a “significantly greater level of investment” in population health management, with ROIs anticipated within three years to four years.

The need to utilize new infrastructure—the infrastructure needed to improve population health management is mainly tied to data analytics and related information technology systems such as electronic health records. The key to maximizing ROI here involves the ability to collect large amounts of this data and then transform it into actionable intelligence through the use of data analytics.

The report notes that 2015 may be a pivotal year marked by a “dramatic shift toward the use of risk-based agreements and execution of population health management.” In 2014, approximately 15% the revenue generated by the nation’s leading health systems was earned through value-based or at-risk alternative payment models, but that percentage is expected to increase to 21% this year and then grow substantially throughout the remainder of the decade.

You can learn more by downloading the 10-page report at: http://www.huronconsultinggroup.com/Insights/Report/Healthcare/Population-Health-Collaboratives-2015-Agenda-Based-on-Evolving-Trends
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
A recent survey of over 1,700 executive managers, including the C-suite but excluding CEOs, found an extensive relationship between the CEO’s reputation and that of the company itself. Of the executives surveyed, 87% said that a positive reputation for the CEO was important in attracting investors, 83% said it was important in garnering positive media attention, and 77% said it was key to attracting employees.

The survey was conducted by KRC Research in partnership with the PR firm Weber Shandwick. KRC performs quantitative and qualitative research, and this survey included an analysis of responses gathered across companies with annual revenues of at least $500 million.

Survey respondents indicated that they attributed 45% of the company’s reputation to be based on the CEO. Fifty percent of the respondents said this link between the CEO’s reputation and that of the company will increase in the coming years. Other data collected include the following:

>> 58% of senior management said the CEOs reputation was responsible for keeping them at the company.

>> 50% of executives indicated the reputation of the CEO impacted their decision to accept a position with the company.

>> 44% said that senior management personnel (other than the CEO) had a great deal of influence on the company’s reputation.

Respondents noted that “it is important for CEOs to partake in external relationship-building and shine spotlights on their companies.” When asked which activities are most important in this regard, 76% indicated speaking at industry or trade conferences, 71% said it was important to be accessible to the news media, and 68% indicated the importance of being visible on the company’s website.

You can learn more by downloading the full 20-page report at: http://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/ceo-reputation-premium-executive-summary.pdf
Continue reading
Tagged in: executive coaching
Last week CMS announced a new Next Generation ACO Model, which asks providers to agree to take on greater risks related to their performance in return for potentially sharing in a greater proportion of savings. In return for accepting more risk, CMS is providing a “predictable benchmark and flexible payment options that support ACO investments in care improvement infrastructure.”

A key aspect of the new model involves a greater level of care coordination between providers and beneficiaries. CMS is offering additional coverages for tele-health services as well as post-discharge home services, and beneficiaries will be financially rewarded for receiving their healthcare from the ACO’s staff; however, participating beneficiaries will retain the freedom to engage any Medicare provider.

The new model features two “risk tracks,” one of which is a 100% “Full Performance Risk” while the other involves more shared risks. The stated overarching goal of the ACO approach involves “paying providers based on the quality rather than the quantity of care they give patients;” and with increased financial incentives for providers, CMS believes the approach has the potential to simultaneously decrease costs while improving health outcomes.

Interested organizations will have two opportunities to apply, one this year and one next year, and participation in the new ACO model is expected to last up to five years. Providers are required to submit a Letter of Intent by May 1, followed up with a formal application by June 1, 2015. The second round of applications will be accepted next spring, 2016. For more information, see the links below.

HHS Press Release: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2015pres/03/20150310b.html

CMS Next Generation ACO Model: http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Next-Generation-ACO-Model/

Frequently Asked Questions: http://innovation.cms.gov/Files/x/nextgenacofaq.pdf
Continue reading
A web-based search tool provided Billian’s Health Data provides access to a large database of hospital news, including mergers and acquisitions, renovation plans, facility openings, health technology rollouts, RFPs, c-suite hires and more.

An easy registration process (just name and e-mail address) allows you to search by region of the country or state, and then select a category such as:

● Mergers/Acquisitions
● Construction/Renovation
● Facility Openings
● Facility Closings
● Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
● Certificate of Need (COA) Announcements
● Health Information Technology
● Medical Equipment

“DBA Announcements” are also searchable, which includes hospital transitions in ownership, partnerships, name changes, rebranding, and new designations such as those involving hospitals that have changed trauma center certifications.

The information can be sorted by Date, Region or State, and all of the data is searchable by specific facilities as well as by free-form keywords, which allows easy filtering.

Billian’s is a market-research firm that sells industry information to vendors and providers, but it also provides free access to this database, which can help executives learn more about facilities of interest, including recent investments, divestitures, executive moves, etc. You can learn more by accessing the database at the link below.

Billian’s Hospital News and Vital Statistics Search: http://www.billianshealthdata.com/News/Vitals/Search
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry
A recent analysis of popular hospital rating systems revealed wide discrepancies. The research results were published this week by Health Affairs Journal and focused on four popular rating systems: U.S. News & World Report, Consumer Reports, Leapfrog, and HealthGrades. The study found that the rankings can confuse not only patients but providers and payors as well.

Some of the issues involve lack of consistency on how quality is measured and a lack of transparency in how the ratings are conducted. A key takeaway is that hospitals could use the data to help focus on improvements but are unable to do so until standardization and transparency issues are addressed.

While Consumer Reports and Leapfrog do provide “full methodological transparency” they fall short by using “judgment-based weighting schemes as opposed to approaches that incorporate information about measure reliability and validity.” Likewise, “U.S. News and HealthGrades do not make their proprietary risk-adjustment models fully transparent.”

Key findings in the study reveal that no single hospital was rated as a “high performer” by all four of the ranking systems. Additionally, only 10 percent of the 844 hospitals that were rated as a high performer in one system were also rated as a high performer in any of the other three systems.

Access to the full report is limited to subscribers of Health Affairs Journal but news articles on the report are available at the links below.

Fierce Healthcare: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/best-and-worst-hospital-rankings-often-conflict-confuse-consumers/2015-03-03

New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/03/business/hospital-rating-systems-differ-on-best-and-worst-facilities.html?_r=0

Heath Affairs Journal: http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/34/3/423.full.html
Continue reading
Tagged in: healthcare industry