CEO Report: 2018 In Review

Posted on December 21, 2018

 "Change is inevitable. Change is constant." – Benjamin Disraeli

MHA CEO ReportChange is a fact of life and we at the MHA experienced our fair share in 2018. For those of you who have been engaged with our association over the past several decades, Clark Ballard and David Seaman have been familiar faces within our leadership structure. Recently we’ve hosted the retirement parties for each distinguished professional as they leave the MHA for the next stage of their lives. Words cannot fully convey my level of appreciation for both Clark and David, for not only their contributions to the MHA and Michigan healthcare, but also for our decades of friendship.

Yet with change also comes opportunity, and we are excited about the future. For the past several months, Sam Watson has taken on a new role as our senior vice president of field engagement, building on the foundation of superior member service that Clark established. Sam has already facilitated a first-of-its kind Chairman’s CEO Roundtable — which was well attended and well received — and he is bringing fresh ideas as we seek to deepen our engagement with an ever-broadening range of constituencies within the membership. Concurrent with this change, Brittany Bogan was promoted to the new position of senior vice president of safety & quality and executive director of the MHA Keystone Center. Her new role is intentionally named to ensure our focus broadens to include healthcare worker safety, in addition to our long-standing work in patient safety. Since that time, she has led the MHA’s efforts to launch the Midwest Alternative to Opioids (ALTO) program, a three-state opioid safety initiative for emergency department teams, and headed up a successful MHA Patient Safety & Quality Symposium and MHA Keystone Fall Workshop. And as we prepare for the future, Brittany has led the establishment of the Superior Health Quality Alliance (SHQA), a new, multistate organization that will broaden our work on safety and quality with funding from the federal government. You will hear much more about the SHQA in the year ahead.

Beginning Jan. 1, Chris Mitchell will assume the role of executive vice president, advocacy & public affairs. Under his direction as senior vice president of advocacy, we have established yet another new record-high fundraising total for MHA HealthPAC and have achieved numerous successful outcomes in the public policy domain on issues such as the Healthy Michigan Plan, Medicaid budget, auto no-fault insurance reform, and many others. He will preside over an MHA Capitol Advocacy Center that has become a true “healthcare advocacy hub,” with an expanding footprint that now houses the government affairs teams from a growing number of our member health systems. Amy Barkholz will assume the role of corporate board secretary, in addition to her continued role as MHA general counsel. And Nancy McKeague will assume the role of MHA chief operating officer, adding executive oversight of our Accounting & Finance division to her current role overseeing our Human Resources and Information Technology & Support Services. Under her direction, our Graphic Design & Print Services division is providing world-class services to a very large, diverse and growing customer base. Both Amy and Nancy wear multiple hats, providing their expertise on external policy issues related to Certificate of Need, human resources and much more. Each of these appointments speak not only to their abilities and track record, but also to the MHA’s culture of staff development and promoting from within when possible.

We remain on the cutting edge as one of a small number of state hospital associations with our own chief medical officer (Gary Roth, DO), who is building a strong network of physician leaders throughout the state. Dr. Roth was just honored with the 2018 Charles L. Ballinger Distinguished Osteopathic Surgeon Award from the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.

Peter Schonfeld is leading a modernization of the MHA Service Corporation (MHASC), working with Neil MacVicar to expand the footprint of our traditional Unemployment Compensation Program and with Jim Lee to continue our innovation in Data Services. At the same time, Peter and his team have successfully launched our new Endorsed Business Partner Program that features a growing number of best-in-class companies ready to meet the needs of hospitals and health systems. In 2018 we also established a new, dedicated MHASC Board of Directors, which will deepen the intellectual capital focused on this key sector of our operations.

Ruthanne Sudderth and her Communications team have done a superb job ramping up our social media presence and ensuring that we are on the leading edge of modern communications tools such as the MiCareMatters grassroots advocacy platform. They have also strengthened our relationships with our member communications leads, as evidenced by the 2018 MHA Communications Retreat, which enjoyed record attendance.

Erin Steward continues to produce outstanding conferences and educational offerings, including the MHA Annual Meeting on Mackinac Island, which is truly the gold standard for association annual meetings. The Excellence in Governance Fellowship and the Healthcare Leadership Academy continue to represent cost-effective, homegrown opportunities for professional development.

Charlie Johnson hit a home run with the completion earlier this year of the MHA’s Spencer C. Johnson Headquarters Building expansion, which has given us an exceptional office space for our staff and members alike, to carry out the business of the association with an eye to the future. If you have had the chance to see it in person, you know exactly what I mean. As part of this process, we have also greatly enhanced our physical and cyber-security profile, with a new employee and visitor badging system, 24/7 locked access to interior wings of the building, staff training and more. 

We are very fortunate to benefit from Laura Appel’s tremendous knowledge of the public policy arena — at both the state and federal level — which has been invaluable as we develop our thoughts on key advocacy and policy issues. In addition, Laura has taken ownership of the behavioral health issue, which will be a priority for the MHA in 2019 and beyond.   

We are also fortunate to have Marilyn Litka-Klein’s extensive experience on healthcare finance, as the MHA continues to provide rich information tools to our members on issues related to Medicaid, Medicare and private payers. In addition to her liaison role with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, she is deeply engaged in our evolving work with the Michigan Association of Health Plans.

And through all of this, Bill Jackson and Garry Macak have done an outstanding job ensuring that the finances of the association are protected and utilized prudently. Once again in 2018, our external auditors provided a clean audit and complimented the strength of our staff and structure — high praise considering that the scope and complexity of our organization has grown significantly over time.    

The people referenced here are the vice presidents of the MHA, and they are the people that I have the honor of working with every day. They are skilled, hard-working, and passionate about our members and our mission. And without a doubt, they would each readily describe their respective teams as exhibiting the same traits. Taken together, the MHA staff is the best in the association business and they are the principal reason that I am supremely confident that the association is well positioned for 2019 and beyond, as we confront the inevitable upheaval in American healthcare. 

Thank you for your support and engagement throughout this past year, and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!  As always, I welcome your thoughts. 


  • CEO Report: 2018 In Review

Tags: Brian Peters, micarematters, CEO Report, Advocacy & Public Affairs

Posted in: MHA Rounds

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