Governance Programming


Sessions for trustees focus on the information and skills that will help move a rural hospital board from good governance to great governance.

Pre-Conference Workshops


Building Better Board Leadership in a Time of Crisis
Sunday, February 11 | 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM

Pre-Conference Intensive – Fee $199

Pamela Knecht, President & Chief Executive Officer, ACCORD LIMITED
Jamie Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., National Advisor on Governance and Leadership to the American Hospital Association, and health care governance expert

Registration for this session is only open to board chairs, incoming board chairs and their CEOs of AHA member hospitals and health systems. CEOs and board chairs or CEOs and incoming board chairs should plan to attend this session together. Seating is limited for this session. Lunch will be served.

Hospital and health system board leadership are under extreme pressure and stress, and face unprecedented challenges and time demands. Hence the growing reports from the field of boards that are unable to identify members willing to step up to a board leadership role and current chairs who are looking for guidance on how to perform this changing role well. To address all these challenges, the AHA has designed this interactive session with two health care governance experts to explore the unique challenges of the chair position and outline specific and practical strategies to strengthen the efficient and effective performance of this important job. It will also address the crucial cultural and personal nuances associated with the role, including building a trusting and productive board chair/CEO partnership, leading effective meetings, having difficult conversations and planning for chair succession.


Creating Harmony in Health Care: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships with Vital Stakeholders
Sunday, February 11 | 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Benjamin Anderson, VP for Rural Health and Hospitals, Colorado Hospital Association
Todd Linden, Partner, Linden Consulting
Bill Menner, President, The Bill Menner Group
Jennifer Riley, Chief Executive Officer, Memorial Regional Health, Craig, Co.

Fostering strong relationships with key stakeholders is paramount to the success and sustainability of any hospital or health system in the dynamic and ever-evolving governance landscape. Achieving this goal is easier said than done, however. This panel will explain the critical importance of building and nurturing connections with various key stakeholders, including the C-suite, employees, medical staff and the community. Gain insights into why cultivating trust and collaboration with each stakeholder group is pivotal for achieving organizational goals. Learn the communication skills required to effectively engage leadership and how to integrate stakeholder perspectives into strategic decision-making. Presenters will share best practices and case studies while inspiring participants to adopt a collaborative and proactive approach to governance that drives success.

Plenary Sessions


Washington Update
Tuesday, February 13 | 9:15 AM – 10:00 AM

Travis Robey, Vice President, Political Affairs, American Hospital Association
Shannon Wu, PhD, Senior Associate Director of Payment Policy, American Hospital Association

Join American Hospital Association leaders for a discussion on the latest from Capitol Hill. Learn what policies Congress is considering and what it means for rural community hospitals.


Rural Hospitals at the Tipping Point
Tuesday, February 21 | 1:45 PM – 3:00 PM

Jamie Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., National Advisor on Governance and Leadership to the American Hospital Association, and health care governance expert

“Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got till it's gone?” Rural hospitals are closing services, and some are closing their doors; fewer than half of rural hospitals have maternity units, and more than 2 million women of childbearing age live in rural maternity deserts. The list goes on. Rural hospitals and the entire U.S. health care system are at an unprecedented inflection point with a presidential election, demonization of hospitals, economic stresses, and more all looming on the immediate horizon. This presentation will review these trends and address how rural hospitals, health systems and their boards might deal with the immediate pressures and raise their gaze to pursue sustainability.




Engaging Boards in Quality and Patient Safety
Monday, February 12 | 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Jeannie Cross, Trustee Emeritus, Adirondack Health, Saranac Lake, N.Y.
Kathy Leonhardt, Principal Consultant, The Joint Commission International
Kristin Troy, MD, MPH, Chair, Board of Trustees, Steele Memorial Medical Center, Salmon, Idaho
Sue Ellen Wagner, Vice President of Trustee Services, American Hospital Association

How well is your board meeting its quality responsibilities? The board plays a significant role ensuring that quality care is provided, and that the organization has processes in place to measure and deliver quality care. There are actions boards can and should consider taking to drive organizational change to improve the culture of quality and safety. Kathy Leonhardt, MD, MPH, principal consultant, The Joint Commission International, will highlight the importance of patient safety and quality and what the board’s role should be in quality improvement initiatives that must come together to make the organization stronger and better prepared to meet the demands of change in health care. Learn from fellow trustees how they prioritize quality and patient safety with their boards, what strategic processes they have in place for the board’s oversight around these areas, and tools and resources that helped them take quality and patient safety to the next level.


Leading Through a Revenue Cycle Crisis in a Critical Access Hospital
Tuesday, February 13 | 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Benjamin Anderson, VP for Rural Health and Hospitals, Colorado Hospital Association
Korrey Klein, Chief Executive Officer, Family Health West, Fruita, Co.
Erin Sullivan, Associate Professor, Suffolk University, Sawyer Business School

This interactive learning session for rural hospital board leaders presents a real-life case in which a new chief executive officer takes the helm of a community hospital and quickly uncovers serious business challenges. The CEO must work with the board to develop a plan to protect the viability of the hospital. Participate in small-group activities and large-group discussion to analyze the situation, propose solutions to the case’s key challenges, and develop an action plan for the CEO and the board. You’ll also gain an understanding of the phases of the revenue cycle, factors that impact revenue cycle performance, and how to use change management principles within an organization to improve performance. The session will conclude by identifying best practices and strategies that you can adapt and incorporate in your hospital or health system.


Leading Together: The Importance of Building Strong CEO and Board Chair Relationships
Tuesday, February 13 | 8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Annie Bass, Chair, Board of Trustees, Phelps Health, Rolla, Mo.
Jason Shenefield, President and Chief Executive Officer, Phelps Health, Rolla, Mo.

In today's rapidly changing health care landscape, the ability of organizations to be able to adapt quickly to new challenges and opportunities is more important than ever. This flexibility requires strong and effective leadership, and the relationship between the CEO and the board chair is critical. This session will explore building trust, communication and mutual respect between the CEO and board chair; how to work together to improve community perception and organizational culture; and how to drive organizational innovation and growth. Learn best practices for building strong relationships, and examine case studies of successful CEO and board chair partnerships.


It Starts at the Top: How Trustees Can Drive Health Equity
Tuesday, February 13 | 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

David Anfinson, Chairman, Board of Directors, Carris Health - Redwood, Redwood Falls, Minn.
Nikhil Baviskar, Program Manager, Trustee Services, American Hospital Association
Kathy Garrett, Board Director, Orlando Health, Orlando, Fla.

The role of board members in advancing health equity within hospitals is pivotal. For health equity to become a central mission, it must be a governance priority that receives the necessary focus and resources. In this engaging session, our panel of experts will share their insights and experiences on driving health equity within health care organizations. Whether you are just embarking on this journey or seeking guidance for further progress, this discussion will shed light on the path forward.


Interactive Governance Clinic
Wednesday, February 14 | 8:00 AM - 9:00 AMET

Jamie Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc., National Advisor on Governance and Leadership to the American Hospital Association, and health care governance expert

Bring your thorniest governance issues to one of the nation’s preeminent health care governance experts in this perennial favorite interactive session. You’ll gain practical solutions and proactive ideas for improving governance performance. This session will be very interactive and no issue is off the table, so come prepared to talk, to question and be challenged!