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Tieman Presents VAHHS Strategic Plan

September 24, 2017

Tieman Presents VAHHS Strategic Plan

Jeff Tieman, CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Care Systems (VAHHS), presented the Association’s strategic plan at the Association’s annual meeting in Jay, Vermont on September 21.

His remarks began with the VAHHS vision--a vibrant, healthy Vermont.

“It sounds simple,” he said—and it is.  “But it also encapsulates a lot. ‘Vibrant’ means a strong economy, healthy people and cities and towns, strong communities. It means hard work and active engagement—and the role we as providers can play in that,” he explained.

“Creating a healthy state means delivering primary care smartly and routinely--and focusing on prevention and coordination,” he added.

Tieman described his experience shadowing an opthamologist at UVM Medical Center as part of the hospitals community rounds program. While the doctor used drug therapy to treat patients with eye problems, he also talked to them about nutritional changes that could help with the diabetes that caused the eye problems.  The expensive drug therapy would not be needed if we could prevent so many cases of diabetes from happening in the first place, Tieman related.

“Connected to our vision,” he said, “is our mission, which is: ‘As a collective voice and trusted partner, advance initiatives to support providers and patients and build healthy communities.’”

He explained the “collective voice” in the statement as the hospitals speaking together.

“Every hospital is on the VAHHS Board,” he stated. “All of them participate in our policy development and association committees. That’s not true in every state, not even true in most,” he added.

“Trusted partner,” he said, “means VAHHS and our members operating and being perceived as honest brokers. “Interviews we did for the strategic plan showed that VAHHS is already viewed as a valued voice and trusted partner. This part of our mission speaks to making sure that continues to be true.”

He relayed that the final part of the mission this ties back into the vision of a vibrant, healthy Vermont.

“As an association of health care providers and collective voice of advocates, we will help build stronger, healthier, more future-oriented communities by advancing initiatives to support providers and patients and build healthy communities,” he explained. “What work could be more important than that?”

Tieman then laid out the four strategies noted in the plan:

  • Advocate and lead health reform.
  • Tell our story (about the value of hospitals and their contributions).
  • Improve quality outcomes and the value of health care.
  • Enhance stakeholder engagement.

Teiman reminded the audience that what fuels this strategic plan is the work that every hospital explained in its recent budget presentation, noting the presentations were part of the toughest regulatory structure in the nation—and tha every single one of our hospitals shined.

“Collectively, hospitals reported low revenue growth that meets state expectations for reform,” he stated. “And this is in an environment that also includes, just ot name a few: major federal uncertainty, a mental health crisis, continued need for our public health investments, risk we are taking under health reform, the opioid epidemic, workforce challenges, labor issues, etc.

“The bottom line is we are doing the right things in the right way and collaborating, in the Vermont spirit, to do it. And I believe with this strategic plan as a path forward, we can do even better,” he added.

Attendees responded enthusiastically to the plan and offered input on themes that struck most by condensing them into possible taglines for the organization.