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


Navigating the Top 3 Threats Facing America’s Rural Hospitals
Sunday, February 19 | 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Jeffrey Adler, Chief Executive Officer, iProtean
Karma Bass, MPH, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Principal, Via Healthcare Consulting
Tom Mee, System Chief Executive Officer, North Country HealthCare, Berlin, N.H.
Rachelle Schultz, President and Chief Executive Officer, Winona Health, Winona, Minn.

America’s rural hospitals continue to absorb shock waves from the aftermath of a pandemic that has shaken its core at the most existential level. This session will deliver an up-tempo and highly interactive experience that invites attendees to participate in rigorous discussion on three key threats facing rural America today: financial challenges, workforce shortages and imminent external threats such as the rise of private equity, retail and technology giants, and large health systems absorbing independent hospitals and resources.
Gain insights from two rural hospital CEOs from different parts of the country, a national governance expert who has assisted several rural hospitals, and a virtual board education company serving hospitals in rural settings. Explore effective cost-saving and revenue-enhancing strategies to protect the viability and longevity of your organization, methods to address workforce shortages, ideas on how to inspire a culture of quality and care for both patients and the care team, and solutions to counter external threats facing your organization. Bring insights learned from this session back to your boardroom to impact decisions around budgeting, recruitment and strategic partnerships.


Workforce Mental Well-Being and Suicide Prevention: Engaging Trustees
Sunday, February 19 | 4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Rebecca Chickey, MPH, Senior Director, Behavioral Health Services, American Hospital Association
Sue Ellen Wagner, Vice President of Trustee Services, American Hospital Association

Governing boards are responsible for setting the strategy for their hospitals and/or health systems. This includes strategies to recruit, retain and sustain a culture of psychological safety for the organization’s health care workers. During this session, participants will discuss what might be needed to help boards be better prepared to help hospital and/or health system leadership support the mental well-being of their health care workforce, and, through this work, reduce the risks of suicide in the health care workforce.

Plenary Sessions


Washington Update
Tuesday, February 21 | 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM

Lisa Kidder Hrbrosky, Senior Vice President, Legislative and Political Affairs, American Hospital Association
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.


Powering Through the Super Storm: The Rural Governance Challenge
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

Challenging Mega Trends have threatened rural hospitals and health systems for years, such as the aging population, looming Medicare insolvency, approaching provider shortages, and growing rural hospital closures. The pandemic has both accelerated these trends and created others that have merged into a super storm that threatens the existence of rural hospitals and the U.S. health care system. This presentation will review these trends and the challenges they pose for rural hospital boards and leaders. Drawing on the just released 2022 AHA Governance Survey results, it will challenge boards to adopt extreme best practices to steer their organizations through the maelstrom.




The Board’s Critical Role in Enterprise Risk Management
Monday, February 20 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Lynn Falcone, Chief Executive Officer, Cuero Regional Hospital, Cuero, Texas
Pamela Knecht, President & Chief Executive Officer, ACCORD LIMITED
Faye Sheppard, RN, MSN, JD, Senior Associate Director of Payment Policy, Patient Safety Resources

Governing boards play a critical role in effective risk management. Boards should encourage and enable an enterprisewide view of risk management that actively identifies and addresses organizational risks and opportunities for value creation. This session will feature a case study on the implementation of enterprise risk management (ERM) approaches and frameworks. In a panel discussion, the CEO and a hospital board member from the same rural hospital will discuss the governance practices that support the strategic positioning of enterprise risk management. Walk away with a better understanding of how enterprise risk management differs from traditional risk management in hospitals, the appropriate role of the board in advocating for an ERM approach, and governance structures and practices that support ERM.


Engaging Your Board to Advance Value-Based Care
Monday, February 20 | 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

MODERATOR: Julia Resnick, Director, Strategic Initiatives, American Hospital Association

Rural health care trustees play an important role in catalyzing and supporting the transition to value-based care. Applying a value framework can help rural hospitals reach strategic goals for the organization — improving quality/outcomes, enhancing patient experience and reducing cost — now and in the future. By understanding how rural hospitals can benefit from the transition from volume to value, trustees can better partner with health care leaders to advance value for the patients and communities they serve. Join this conversation with rural trustees to gain insights into how rural hospitals are making the transition to value.


How a Rapidly Expanding Rural Health System Is Restructuring Governance
Monday, February 20 | 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Cindy Smith, MD, Senior Vice President Rural Health, CentraCare, St. Cloud, Minn.
Tim Wensman, Trustee, CentraCare, St. Cloud, Minn.

As rural health care organizations evolve, their governance structures need to evolve as well. But governance evolution is difficult. As small hospitals merge with medical groups, with other hospitals, or with larger health systems, each governing body struggles with being heard, listening, and moving past "the way we always did it" into something better suited for what the organization is becoming. Learn from leaders at CentraCare why and how the system is modernizing its governance to honor the past, look to the future and ensure local influence within its large, rapidly expanding rural health system.


Governance Best Practice — It Takes Practice
Tuesday, February 21 | 7:15 AM – 8:15 AM

Todd Linden, Partner, Linden Consulting; Chief Executive Officer Emeritus, UnityPoint Health - Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell, Iowa
Bill Menner, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Bill Menner Group

Boards come in all shapes, sizes and structures, yet they all have one thing in common — getting to “governance best practice” takes constant effort and time. Strong relationships between the board and administration are the keys to success. For exceptional hospital performance, the board and CEO relationship must be built by trust, transparency and a thoughtful game plan. This session will focus on the fundamental hallmarks strong boards constantly build upon when looking to fulfill their oversight, foresight and insight roles. Bill Menner (board member) and Todd Linden (hospital CEO), drawing on over 50 combined years of experience, will share clear and replicable examples, along with practical and proven strategies for building a culture of continuous improvement for hospital boards. They will explore the differences between governance and management, examine relationship optimization and investigate how to use various decision-making methodologies.


Interactive Governance Clinic
Wednesday, February 22 | 8:45 AM – 9:45 AM

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!