Wednesday | Thursday

Check back as we continue to add sessions!


Wednesday, February 17


STORY SLAM | 11:45 am – 12:30 pm CT
COVID-19 Highlights the Value of Value in Rural Communities

Many hospitals that were implementing value-based care delivery prior to COVID-19 are recognizing the importance of those strategies during the pandemic. These value-based care delivery strategies - telehealth, hospital-at-home, age friendly care, interdisciplinary care teams and those that address health equity - have enabled hospitals to better serve their patients and communities throughout the pandemic. As we rebuild and reimagine the health care system, these strategies will continue to improve value for patients. In this story slam, hear examples from five innovative rural hospitals implementing strategies that highlight the value of value during COVID-19 and beyond.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm CT
Preserving Local Access to Care in Rural Communities

Members of the AHA’s The Future of Rural Health Care Task Force. Moderated by Joy Lewis, VP, Strategic Policy Planning, American Hospital Association

The AHA’s Task Force was charged with providing strategic thought leadership on the transformation of care delivery in rural communities and the future financing of rural health care. In this session, members will share the Task Force’s bold, promising solutions that resulted from an 18-month long process to create sustainable care delivery and financing models.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm CT
Is Your Rural Board Prepared for Constant Disruption?

Kimberly Russel, Russel Advisors

Rural health care has been inundated with payment system reform, public policy changes, new competitors, consumerism, the digital revolution and now a pandemic. Rural executive teams have been focused on operational adjustments and financial survival. What is the impact of this volatile environment on boards? This session will open the eyes of the C-suite and trustees about the unrealized potential of boards in the force of constant disruption. To thrive amidst turbulence, change must be initiated at the governance level. You’ll learn specific techniques for deeper and permanent board engagement at the strategic level and gain tools to accelerate the board’s utility to the organization and to the senior leadership team. An outcome of the session will be a road map to shift a rural board into a strategic and future-oriented force.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 12:45 pm – 1:30 pm CT
How Rural Hospitals Can Revive Revenue, Manage Cost and Be Prepared for the Future

Anthony F. Oliva, DO, MMM, FACPE, VP & CMO, Nuance Healthcare

As rural hospitals look to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they are seeking creative ways to do so while preparing for additional waves. Ensuring that rural hospitals have strategies to protect and preserve revenue volumes while maximizing their limited resources is crucial to their survival. Learn how rural hospitals can balance these demands as they navigate into this new normal as well as strategies and best practices to optimize resources to improve bottom-line performance and remain profitable. We’ll dive into the crucial role documentation capture plays in revenue recovery and explore how AI technologies can improve efficiency and burnout. Sponsored by Nuance Healthcare.


The #1 Governance Unmentionable: Succession Planning for the Rural Board

Kimberly Russel, Russel Advisors
Rebekah Mussman, CEO, RuralMed Management Resources

The rural environment poses special challenges for leadership succession planning. Boards often avoid this topic until CEO turnover (either planned or unplanned) is apparent. This places boards in a reactionary mode. The realities of the pandemic have also served as a recent illustration of the need for succession planning at health care organizations. Come discuss how working as partners, the board and CEO, can share joint responsibility for succession planning.


Preparing Your Culture for an Unforeseeable Future: Culture as a Strategic Imperative

Joel Beiswenger, President & CEO, Tri-County Health Care
Joe Tye, CEO & Head Coach, Values Coach Inc.

In 2018, Joel Beiswenger and his team led a cultural transformation that had a significantly positive impact on employee engagement, patient satisfaction, quality and safety, and other key operating parameters. What they could not have predicted was how this work would also make the organization, and individual members of the hospital team, more resilient in the face of the COVID-19 crisis and economic fallout. Join this engaging discussion on why hospital leaders should see culture as a strategy. You’ll learn how to overcome the knowing-doing gap that always exists between ideal and actual culture, and explore how to build a spirit of personal resilience, initiative, personal improvement, and fellowship into your hospital’s cultural DNA.


Improving Access to Behavioral Health Services – The Important Role of a Trustee

Bill Menner, Founder, The Bill Menner Group, and Executive Director, Iowa Rural Health Association
Jennifer Havens, CEO, UnityPoint Health-Grinnell Regional Medical Center

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from COVID-19 – but the impact of the pandemic doesn’t end there. Suicide rates are up, substance use is increasing, and more Americans are reporting depression, anxiety, even post-traumatic stress due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, even before COVID-19 the demand for behavioral health services was greater than the supply. So what is the role of the trustee in meeting their community’s need for behavioral health services? This roundtable will focus on this important question. Hear and discuss how to use your role to improve access to behavioral health care. Identify steps you can take to learn the facts about behavioral health issues in your community, understand the preventive practices and interventions in place, and support the administration in addressing your community’s behavioral health challenges.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 3:30 – 4:15 pm CT
Rural Hospitals Teaming Up for Shared Expertise, Resources and Scale

Konnie Martin, CEO, San Luis Valley Health
Steve Simonin, CEO, Iowa Specialty Hospital
Kelley Evans, CEO, Beartooth Billings Clinic
Todd Linden, President, Linden Consulting and CEO Emeritus, Grinnell Regional Medical Center

With significant changes in health care delivery and worsening financial pressures due to COVID-19 and the associated economic downturn, many rural hospitals are considering some form of affiliation with other organizations. Some rural hospitals look to a relationship with a larger health system or management company, while others consider teaming up with similar hospitals in their region. This session will explore examples of rural hospitals successfully affiliating with both health systems and with other rural hospitals in an effort to keep their missions strong. Ultimately, it comes down to finding the right affiliation approach for securing the resources, expertise and scale necessary to thrive during uncertain times.


Thursday, February 18



Each of our rural experience Affinity Groups will offer roundtable discussion sessions during this time. Attendees are welcome to join any session.

  • Rural Maternal Health

  • Resilience in Ongoing Crisis

  • Rural Behavioral Health: Challenges and Solutions

  • Rural Community Health Investment and Improvement

  • Innovation and Digital Transformation

  • Pathways to Recovery

  • Governance Excellence: What Went Wrong? - A Governance Case Study
    Benjamin Anderson, MBA, MHCDS, Vice President for Rural Health and Hospitals, Colorado Hospital Association
    Todd Linden, MA, FACHE, President Linden Consulting and CEO Emeritus, Grinnell Regional Medical Center

    One of the most reliable indicators of a rural hospital’s vitality and performance is the quality and competence of its governance. This session will introduce the true story of a hospital board scenario that went terribly wrong. It only takes one rogue board member, even well meaning, to derail an entire organization. You’ll learn from the all too common leadership traps boards and administrators can fall into in hopes that it will mitigate the chances of something similar happening with your institution. After laying out the case, participants will engage in discussion about ways to address the issues and lessons learned.



CONCURRENT SESSION | 11:00 – 11:45 am CT
Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Rural Hospitals

Jason Cohen, MD

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are rapidly changing almost every aspects of healthcare – from predicting illness to providing clinical decision support, individualizing patient engagement to managing the health of populations, and optimizing operations to driving new models of care delivery. At first glance, it may seem like only large health systems have the expertise and resources to take advantage of the big data revolution. But, rural hospitals offer something that larger systems can’t – flexibility, less complexity, and lack of bureaucracy. These qualities are highly attractive to health IT startups looking to develop and prove their new products in a stable environment. While they might not have big budgets, rural hospitals are ideal laboratories for innovation. This session will explore some of the most exciting use cases for AI in health care, and consider ways that rural hospitals can find the right partners to leverage AI to improve the lives of both their patients and providers.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 11:00 – 11:45 am CT
Improvements in Care Management and Chronic Disease Self-management, Stress and Social Isolation

Cindy Esser, BSN, MBA, MHA, Director Emerging Technologies and Knowledge Management, Butler Health System
Kathy Selvaggi, MD, Medical Director, Division of Palliative Care, Butler Health System
Erin Stewart, BSN, Program Director HRSA Grant, Butler Health System

Managing chronic disease and finding alternative delivery methods to care for vulnerable populations that might be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is a major concern in rural communities. Learn how one rural health system made improvements in care management and chronic disease self-management education through a virtual collaborative design while addressing the stress and isolation brought on by COVID 19. Explore opportunities to create and sustain high performance telehealth services, and leverage partnerships both locally and remotely, within and across communities and organizations. You learn approaches that do more with less, addressing safety and resource constraints.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 11:00 – 11:45 am CT
Pivoting in a Pandemic with Value-Based Care Strategies

Tim Gronniger, CEO & President, Caravan Health
Marcus Lewis, CEO, First Care Health Center
Naomi Clancy, MD, Medical Director, Gila Health Resources

With a focus on preventive care and population health revenue, accountable care organizations have proven to be the most reliable approach for many providers seeking stability, sustainability and a predictive path forward in the wake of the public health emergency. This session will explore how rural providers have leveraged value-based care strategies to quickly respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. By harnessing the power of ACOs, First Care and Gila Health efficiently tracked patient history, identified gaps in care, and utilized a population health infrastructure already in place to quickly pivot to providing virtual care services. Attendees will learn about current value-based payment opportunities, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' new Community Health Access and Rural Transformation (CHART) model. Presenters will share actionable steps to improve care for patients, protect revenue streams, and minimize future risk using value-based payment strategies. Sponsored by Caravan Health.



INTERACTIVE ROUNDTABLE #1 | 12:00 – 12:45 pm CT
Setting and Achieving Organizational Goals: The Role of Governance and Leadership

Jane McLeod, Principal/Co-Founder, Capstone Leadership Solutions, Inc.
Sue Tetzlaff,Principal/Co-Founder, Capstone Leadership Solutions, Inc.

Defining strategies can be hard. Executing on them, even harder. The cadence and activities of a robust goal cycle will foster accountability, ownership, and alignment, which will engage everyone to contribute to advancing your important strategic priorities. It's with a razor-sharp focus on strategies and aligned goals, that board members and leaders (and even employees!) discover the pathway to success. This roundtable will explore the key elements of a goal cycle, the two operating systems that work in parallel during the goal cycle, and the roles of trustees and leaders in setting and achieving organizational goals.


INTERACTIVE ROUNDTABLE #2 | 12:00 – 12:45 pm CT
Managing Cybersecurity Risk in Health Care: The Leader’s Role

John Riggi, Sr. Advisor for Cybersecurity and Risk Advisory Services, American Hospital Association

Protecting health care organizations from cyberattack is a growing challenge. Health care data is highly attractive, the tactics used by potential hackers are constantly evolving, and significant information sharing within our environments places you uniquely at risk. And yet protecting your organization’s data extends beyond technical systems and processes; leadership from the top of the organization is critical to establish a culture of cybersecurity. Join us to share your own experiences and explore best-practice leadership behaviors to reduce the likelihood and impact of a cyber event.


INTERACTIVE ROUNDTABLE #3 | 12:00 – 12:45 pm CT
Governance Clinic

James E. Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc.

Bring your thorniest governance issues to one of the nation’s preeminent health care governance experts. You’ll gain practical solutions and proactive ideas for improving governance performance. No issue is off the table, so come prepared to talk, to question and be challenged!


CONCURRENT SESSION | 2:00 – 2:45 pm CT
The Pursuit of Professionalism: Every Day and Especially During a Crisis

Cindy Baldwin, Senior Associate, Department of Pediatrics, Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Gerald B. Hickson, MD, Joseph C. Ross Chair of Medical Education and Administration, Professor of Pediatrics, and Founding Director of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Delivery of safe, high quality care requires intentionally designed systems and accountable professionals. While attention has focused on how organizations prepare their systems for facing crises, less attention has been paid to understanding and supporting nurses, physicians, and others during difficult times. An individual’s commitment to model all elements of what it means to be a professional may be taxed while navigating equipment and supply shortages, the never ending need to doff mask, gowns, and gloves, and having to explain why visitors are not allowed, all while experiencing isolation from their family and dealing with personal fear that they themselves may become infected. This session will examine best practices to support the pursuit of professional accountability and well-being before, during and after a crisis, and explore strategies to address the special needs of clinical team members who may face symptoms of burnout.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 2:00 – 2:45 pm CT
Leadership in Crisis: A Case Study of St. Charles Health System Stepping in to Fill the Covid-19 Information Void

Joe Sluka, President and CEO, St. Charles Health System
James E. Orlikoff, President, Orlikoff & Associates, Inc.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, St. Charles Health System in Central Oregon quickly learned that having a strong, consistent, factual and local voice is critical to influencing public behavior. Join us for this session where you’ll hear how one health system worked closely with its Board of Directors to mitigate the COVID-19 information crisis for the communities it serves.


CONCURRENT SESSION | 3:00 – 3:45 pm CT
Improving Patient Care and Reducing Health Disparities through Cultural Competence

Candy Canga-Picar, Chief Nursing Officer, St. Charles Hospital Madras
Rebecca Dobert, Program Manager, Oregon Office of Rural Health
Salamatu Barrie, Public Health Analyst, Health Resources and Services Administration, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy

Evidence suggests that providing cultural competence training for health care professionals may positively affect a reduction in the disparities in quality and outcomes among persons from varied cultures. However, evidence-based cultural competency programs to help rural providers develop training appropriate for different languages, cultures, and populations have been sparse. The St. Charles Hospital Madras developed a cultural competence initiative targeting improved patient satisfaction and experience for their NAI patients. In this session you’ll hear an overview of the program, and gain insights on challenges and best practices such as how to develop and collect measures on cultural competency. Learn how the use of cultural competence can be a building block for measurably improved patient satisfaction and care.