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2017 annual meeting re-cap

September 24, 2017

Education, engagement at 2017 VAHHS Annual Meeting

More than 200 health care providers, advocates, policy makers and others attended the 2017 Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS) Annual Meeting, entitled “Positive Disruption: Opportunities Ahead.” Held in beautiful Jay, Vermont, the meeting focused on the association’s new strategic plan, along with educational sessions covering a range of topics from accountable health communities to telemedicine and the Affordable Care Act.

“Here in Vermont, hospitals and other providers are boldly and bravely leading the way in payment and delivery system reform,” said VAHHS CEO Jeff Tieman in his opening speech. “You are taking on new financial risk to move into population health. You are building connections with one another, and with patients and partners, to create value-based care.”  

Tieman then presented the Association’s strategic plan. Attendees responded enthusiastically to the plan and offered input on themes that struck most by condensing them into possible taglines for the organization.

Regardless of the changes and challenges we face, Tieman said, ““What does not change is our shared commitment—as the hospitals and health systems of Vermont—to provide the best possible care and comfort to the people we serve: to do it more affordably, more effectively, more efficiently and more compassionately than we ever have before.”

Next Bruce Siegel, MD, MPH, CEO of American’s Essential Hospitals led the first general session. He reinforced the theme of the meeting by discussing the journey of America’s health care system and describing the “positive disruptions” he thinks we can expect.

“Healthcare 1.0 is episodic, non-integrated care,” he explained. “Health care 2.0 is managing people in the optimal setting, reducing unnecessary care, providing the right care in the right intervals at the right time.”

He asserted that we are on our way to health care 3.0—integrated health care. To get there, we must address the food, housing and other social determinants of health, building environments that can support prolonged improvements in health.

“Housing can be a threshold issue,” he noted. “If families don’t have a secure roof over their heads, they can’t think about how to manage their health.” 

Thursday afternoon, participants split into three groups for break-out sessions. We will feature information from these sessions in next week’s “VAHHS Update.” 

Friday’s agenda began with a panel on mental health care sponsored by the American College of Healthcare Executives. Next week’s issue of “VAHHS Update” will include more on that too, as well as a summary of the meeting’s concluding panel, which was a discussion about health care and the media with local and national reporters and editors.

The other general session on Friday, was led by Chip Madara, a motivational speaker and performance improvement consultant.

While Madara had the VAHHS crowd in stiches, it was clear that his true goal was to help hospitals and physician practices improve their patient satisfaction and employee engagement scores. 

“Lead in the midst of constant uncertainty—when there’s so much turbulence that it’s hard to see change,” Madara charged.

He urged his audience to become “chief disruption officers,” exuding confidence, eschewing negativity (especially in themselves) and striving to create excellent service to every patient every time. 

He hypothesized that perhaps nationally, hospitals close when they don’t have leaders who are passionate enough to be disruptors.

Reminding participants of the dictionary definition of passionate, “deeply stirring and ungovernable,” Madara quoted E.M. Forste:

“One person with passion is better than 40 people merely interested.”