Monday, April 18, 2011

Notes from the San Antonio Annual Meeting

ACPE's Annual Meeting, held in San Antonio, ended this past week. The participants had an energy, enthusiasm and passion to improve health care that was noticeable to me and the ACPE staff. Here are some comments and observations from the meeting, in no particular pattern, that might be helpful in your daily activities. These thoughts might also help you put the current uncertainty of health care in perspective.

  • Kevin Fickenscher, long-time ACPE member and editor of Dell's Washington Report, noting in his Vanguard presentation that in 2009, the federal government collected $1.3 trillion in taxes; expenses for Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and service on the national debt totaled $1.2 trillion. We borrowed the rest.

  • David Nash, dean of Jefferson University School of Population Health, who has an uncanny knack for sound bites, shared his new four word summary of Accountable Care Organizations: "No outcome, no income."

  • Grace Terrell, CEO of Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, N.C., and Sue Freeman, CMO at Temple University in Philadelphia, both commented on facilitator Francine Gaillor's thought-provoking statement that "leadership is a stage." Everything a leader does is under a spotlight. Your words, actions, body language and moods are constantly on display. How does your performance come across to your audience?

  • Chal Nunn, CMO of CentraHealth in Lynchburg, VA, commenting in a break-out session on quality and safety: "A 99-1 vote is considered a tie by the medical staff."

  • One of the participants in the same break-out session commenting on the challenges in getting agreement by the medical staff, got a big laugh when he mentioned, "the 'silverback male' on the medical staff can derail the best laid plans."

  • John Kenagy -- surgeon, author, advisor and keynote speaker -- outlined his concept of Adaptive Design, which allows front-line workers to rapidly and energetically spot and solve problems on their own. No layers of bureaucracy and hierarchy needed! Several attendees commented on how useful the A3 Problem-Solving Report will be in developing operational plans to resolve problem areas in their workplaces.

  • Tom Royer, physician CEO emeritus of Christus Health System, gave a moving address to the new CPEs and Fellows at the Induction ceremony. Relating several poignant moments in his leadership career, he asked all of us to ponder why we're put on the earth, and to appreciate the opportunities we have to help others.

Now we're changing our focus to the Summer Institute in Boston, July 15-19. In addition to our Integrated Health Systems course, which covers everything from strategic considerations to physician engagement to financial integration, we're launching a new course on entrepreneurial thinking. This new course was developed in response to one of our ACPE Board Task Force's recommendations. It will be taught by the director of the Entrepreneur Program at the University of Southern California's School of Business.

Bostonians say the snow has melted and that summer is a great season to visit their historic city. If you haven't ridden the water taxi there, I can highly recommend the experience as a cool summer mode of transportation.


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