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Some news and notes from last week and looking to the week ahead

September 04, 2017

Dear Friends,

Some news and notes from last week and looking to the week ahead:

  • Hurricane Harvey  Our health care provider colleagues in Texas continue heroically to manage illness and injury from the devastating storm. The American Hospital Association is working closely with the Texas Hospital Association (THA) and the federal government to coordinate response efforts. The THA has established a Hospital Employee Assistance Fund to help hospital employees who experienced significant property loss or damage because of Hurricane Harvey. You can donate to that fund at https://www.tha.org/Harvey/ReliefFund; please also share the link on social media. FEMA is asking individuals and organizations interested in volunteering or donating supplies to register through the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster using this webpage. Hospital employees, doctors and other health care professionals interested in volunteering also should register so that officials can optimize resources. For physicians and other health care providers . . . Texas Governor Greg Abbott has temporarily suspended all pertinent rules to allow health care providers employed by a hospital and licensed in another state to practice in Texas to assist with Harvey response. See specific instructions for hospital-affiliated providers and non-hospital affiliated physicians and providers on this webpage. For nurses, see the licensing procedures from Texas Board of Nursing.  
  • Big News From Tom Huebner  Rutland Regional Medical Center’s President and CEO, Tom Huebner, announced last week that he will retire this coming March. As a leader in his community, in Vermont and nationally, Tom is a visionary in health policy and reform and a real gift to our state. With seven months until he plans to leave the hospital he has successfully led for more than 20 years, there is plenty of time to offer tributes and congratulations. For now, on behalf of VAHHS, I thank Tom for his years of service to health care and the people of Vermont. Tom is a wicked smart guy and a great mentor and friend to so many including myself. Read VT Digger story here. More to come. . .For now we can all be glad that Tom is at Rutland’s helm, chair of the VAHHS Legal and Legislative committee and chair of the AHA’s Regional Policy Board for New England (see next item). And I have a feeling he won’t stop working once those duties officially conclude. The RRMC Board has begun a search process to identify Tom’s successor.
  • American Hospital Association Regional Policy Board (RPB) – Starting this coming weekend in Washington, D.C., the AHA’s nine regional policy boards will gather together for the first time in many years. Each of the policy boards consists of hospital, clinical and association leaders. The RPBs provide policy guidance to the AHA and offer an opportunity for sharing best practices and ongoing dialogue. On the agenda for the national meeting are topics such as stabilizing ACA insurance markets and identifying health care priorities for infrastructure funding. With all that is on Washington’s plate in September—from Hurricane Harvey disaster relief to raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government open—it will be an important time to visit Capitol Hill to make sure health care provider voices are heard as major budgetary and health policy decisions are made.  At the meeting, I will be joined by RPB Chair Tom Huebner and North Country Hospital’s Claudio Fort. This meeting also provides the opportunity to connect with my counterparts from hospital associations across the country, which is always informative.Thanks for all you do; see you at Annual Meeting!  VAHHS’ annual education and networking meeting begins on Sept. 20 at Jay Peak Resort.  Don’t miss it!