MHA Leadership Conference

The 2017 MHA Leadership Conference provides a practical, thought-provoking conference for leaders of Michigan's small and rural hospitals. The 2017 conference is scheduled for Feb. 23 and 24 at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City.


Evolent Health, a company that helps providers establish partnerships with insurers, predicts that, in less than five years, between 50 percent and 75 percent of Americans will be covered by some type of value-based payment structure. However, the logistics of implementing value-based practices are tricky. Defining value as outcomes relative to costs begs the question of which outcomes matter and how they should be measured, and convincing physicians to adopt a vague metric as a basis for reimbursement is even harder.

The value-based delivery model further complicates a hospital's strategic and financial success because the leadership has to adjust its perspective, acknowledging that it is not in control and what happens outside of the hospital walls is increasingly important. Inpatient care will always be needed, but it is high-cost care. If demonstrating value to payers and consumers is essential to long-term success, hospital leaders need to build a nonacute-care strategy that encompasses lower-cost services such as primary care, home health and long-term care – services that meet growing demand and naturally reside in communities.

The MHA Leadership Conference, designed for chief executive, financial, medical and nursing officers in midsize to small hospitals, will help you:

  • Evaluate your organization's best opportunities for value-based transformation.
  • Define a road map for achieving your strategic goals within fiscal parameters.
  • Identify changing market conditions and how to strengthen your market position and expand revenue.
  • Understand the partnerships needed to manage patients' total care, including prevention and wellness, disease management and behavioral health.

Face-to-face meetings are a powerful catalyst to align leaders, develop solutions and fuel collaboration. The Leadership Conference gives you the chance to:

  • Talk with people who are leading their hospitals through dramatic change.
  • Share challenges and victories with problems we all experience.
  • Engage in real-life, real-time thinking rather than just listen to lectures.
  • Spend meaningful time with Michigan colleagues.

Agenda At-a-Glance

Wednesday, Feb. 22

2 – 4 p.m.
MHA Member Financial Forum (MHA members only, preregistration required)
This session is offered in conjunction with the Leadership Conference as part of a series of financial forums to discuss trends that will impact hospitals and health systems and to learn from providers the challenges that are affecting their ability to provide vital services to their communities. Presented by Marilyn Litka-Klein, vice president, Health Finance, at the MHA; and Peter Schonfeld, senior vice president, Policy, at the MHA and chief operating officer of the MHA Service Corporation.

Thursday, Feb. 23

9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Conference Registration

1 – 2:15 p.m.
Keynote Session: Risky Business: New Payment Models and MACRA
Debra Ryan, vice president, Strategic and Financial Planning, Kaufman Hall, Chicago

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.
Panel Session: ACOs in Rural Areas: Finding Optimism amid New Realities
Steve Barnett, president & CEO, McKenzie Health System, Sandusky
Kathleen Dunckel, MD, Alcona Health Center, Harrisville
Robert LaBarge, president & CEO, Sturgis Hospital
Duke Anderson, president & CEO, Hillsdale Hospital

3:45 – 4:45 p.m.
General Session: Give Everything You’ve Got Today
Jerry Kill, former head football coach, University of Minnesota

4:45 – 6 p.m.
Welcome Reception

Friday, Feb. 24

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast and MHA Briefing

8:30 – 9:30 a.m.
General Session: Integrating Physical and Behavioral Health
Terri LaCroix-Kelty, LMSW, behavioral health director, Munson Medical Center, Traverse City
Valerie Harpel, MS, APRM, BC, manager, Mental Health Unit, Munson Medical Center, Traverse City
Rodney Nelson, CEO, Mackinac Straits Health System, Inc., Saint Ignace
Ken Ratzlaff, president and CEO, Beacon Specialized Living Services, Saint Ignace

9:45 – 11:30 a.m.
Roundtable Discussions

  • Straightforward Ways to Thwart Cybersecurity Attacks, Doug Dietzman, executive director, and Lisa Mroz, privacy & security officer, Great Lakes Health Connect, Grand Rapids
  • Solving the Strategic Problem: Making Decisions with Data, Michael Assink, vice president, Advance 360, Lansing
  • Creating a Culture of "Always," Gary Roth, DO, chief medical officer, MHA Keystone Center, Okemos; and Marla Bunker, vice president of Nursing/Operations, War Memorial Hospital, Sault Ste. Marie

11:30 a.m.

Day 1: Healthcare Leadership Academy: Business Strategy for a Changing Landscape (Module 1)
(Separate registration required)
The MHA, in partnership with the Michigan State University Eli Broad College of Business, the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Michigan Osteopathic Association, is offering Module 1 of the Healthcare Leadership Academy immediately following the conclusion of the MHA Leadership Conference. This two-day leadership program focuses on skill mastery related to influence, strategic conversations and building trust, as well as developing knowledge of innovative care delivery and financing models. It is designed for existing and emerging healthcare leaders, including physicians, clinicians and other healthcare professionals. Additional details and registration are available online.

Saturday, Feb. 25

Day 2: Healthcare Leadership Academy: Business Strategy for a Changing Landscape (Module 1)
(Separate registration required)


Keynote Session

Thursday, Feb. 23 – 1 to 2:15 p.m.

Risky Business: New Payment Models and MACRA

The drumbeat for value-based healthcare has been with us for decades and is growing considerably faster and louder. Early this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its goal of moving at least 50 percent of its payments into value-based mechanisms by 2018 and, just two days later, a task force of influential providers and payers announced its goal of moving 75 percent of its business under value-based payment by 2020. The new CMS Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) reforms, which take effect Jan. 1, demonstrate that all providers, including physicians, have to shift from volume to value reimbursement.

Value-based contracting is compelling your organization to accept greater financial risk by agreeing to deliver defined services to a specified population at a predetermined price and quality level. You must develop a contracting and corresponding care delivery strategy that involves careful planning, skill development and a phased approach.

To assist with these transitions, the keynote session will explore:

  • Factors to consider when evaluating value-based payment arrangements, including risks and rewards, contract terms and capabilities
  • Your organization’s role in the emerging population health environment and whether it should be a full-continuum provider or part of a network of providers
  • All forms of risk that should be considered in value-based contracting
  • Ways to support your physician partners with MACRA, such as helping them understand the different government and private insurer models

Deborah RyanDebra Ryan, vice president, Strategic and Financial Planning, Kaufman Hall, Chicago, specializes in assisting hospitals and health systems nationwide with the development and implementation of physician integration and other value-based initiatives. Prior to joining Kaufman Hall, she was the CEO at Chicago Health System, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vanguard Health System, where she implemented clinical integration and shared savings programs for its affiliated independent practice association physicians and facilities and administered insurer-offered risk programs to those networks of physicians.

Panel Session

Thursday, Feb. 23 – 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.

ACOs in Rural Areas: Finding Optimism amid New Realities

When leaders are evaluating what the hospital aspires to be, there are only a few levers to pull: build it, buy it or partner. In rural areas, the most viable option is partnering. Two Michigan accountable care organizations (ACOs) in the National Rural Accountable Care Consortium consist of more than 20 hospitals and five practice transformation networks. A panel of leaders from these ACOs will share how they are building a healthcare delivery strategy that not only meets the needs of their communities, but also helps people manage their health in the most affordable, appropriate way.

Panelists: Steve Barnett, president & CEO, McKenzie Health System, Sandusky; Kathleen Dunckel, MD, Alcona Health Center, Harrisville; Robert LaBarge, president & CEO, Sturgis Hospital; and Duke Anderson, president & CEO, Hillsdale Hospital.

General Session

Thursday, Feb. 23 – 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Give Everything You’ve Got Today

Retired head football coach Jerry Kill’s medical issues stopped him from being on the field, but it’s not stopping him from making a big difference in the world. For several years, Kill coached at various high schools and NCAA Division II schools, including a head coach position at Saginaw Valley State University. Kill was the head football coach at Northern Illinois University when the team played in the 2010 Mid-American Conference Championship game and was named head coach of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Dec. 7, 2010. During his tenure, Kill took the Gophers to heights not seen in years. In his last season as coach, Kill led Minnesota to a bowl game for the first time since 1962 and coached the Gophers to wins against Michigan and Iowa, which had previously not happened in the same season since 1967. 

Coach Jerry KillCoach Jerry Kill is intimately familiar with healthcare as a cancer survivor and epileptic. Kill was able to push through these hardships by adopting philosophies that apply to everyone: overcoming adversity, engaging in leadership and succeeding in business. Kill will share the important lessons learned in his 32 years of coaching and how these experiences have helped him tackle his health challenges head-on.

General Session

Friday, Feb. 24 –– 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.

Integrating Physical and Behavioral Health

Mental health disorders create a significant personal burden for affected individuals and their families, as well as a significant economic and social hardship for communities. Despite mounting evidence of substantial mental health problems, providers are not making measurable progress — which is not only contrary to our mission, but costly. A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that costs for treating patients with chronic medical and comorbid mental health/substance use disorder (MH/SUD) conditions can be twice as high as those who don’t have the conditions.

Very often, patients with MH/SUD are undiagnosed, resulting in “frequent flyer” behavior and readmissions. The establishment of evidence-based collaborative care models integrating physical and mental health would likely identify individuals with behavioral disorders who have been previously undiagnosed and allow them to get the holistic care they need. How can leaders think outside the box to integrate physical and mental health, effectively treating both? This session will outline two providers who are tackling this challenge by:

  • Giving emergency department staff the tools and training to assess the severity of a possible mental health condition and take the next steps
  • Identifying people to serve as the patient’s liaison between medicine and psychiatry
  • Involving primary care providers to enhance access and allow patients to get treatment where they and/or their families live
  • Establishing a multidisciplinary team that can deliver joint physical and mental assessments
  • Creating a culture that offers peer support through sharing concerns and learning from each other

Each of this session’s presenters are leading efforts to increase mental health access and reduce cost through practical methods and partnerships. Terri LaCroix-Kelty, LMSW, is the director of behavioral health and Valerie Harpel, MS, APRM, BC, is manager of the Mental Health Unit at Munson Medical Center, Traverse City. Rodney Nelson is the chief executive officer at Mackinac Straits Health System, Inc., Saint Ignace. Ken Ratzlaff is president and CEO at Beacon Specialized Living Services, Saint Ignace.

Roundtable Discussions

Real-time, organic learning among peers

Friday, Feb. 24 | 9:45 - 10:30 a.m. and repeated from 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.
(Pre-register for one of these cutting-edge topics during each timeframe)

Straightforward Ways to Thwart Cybersecurity Attacks

What's a realistic budget for today's environment?Last winter, some healthcare systems experienced attacks from ransomware computer malware. Although most did not pay a ransom, it took several weeks for staff to make important systems functional again. Kevin Fu, who directs the University of Michigan's Archimedes Center for Medical Device Security, said in a CNBC interview, “Pretty much every device that has a computer in it is breakable.” What are your duties for increasing security awareness and employee training, and what is a realistic information technology security budget in today’s threatening environment? These questions and more will be considered.

Doug Dietzman is executive director and Lisa Mroz is the privacy & security officer at Great Lakes Health Connect (GLHC) in Grand Rapids, Michigan’s largest health information organization. Covering hospitals, provider organizations and other healthcare stakeholders across the state, GLHC’s mission is to further the collaborative development of care-connected communities in each local setting to advance the health of Michigan’s citizens.

Solving the Strategic Problem: Making Decisions with Data

If you use the right data, connect the dots properly and lay out a plan, your leadership is in a position to use predictive modeling to increase your hospital’s market share and make financial gains. However, building the robust analytics capabilities to harness the data is a challenge. What are the best data sources? How do you know if the hospital can consistently deliver a competitive service? Are there enough staff and space to offer this service long-term? These are the types of questions Michael Assink, vice president for Advance 360, Lansing, will help you answer by outlining data sources, the analytics skills required to interpret data, and how data allow you to maximize your strengths and market your hospital.

Creating a Culture of “Always”

There’s no question that the healthcare industry’s intense focus on high reliability is warranted. Being committed to “always” means there is consistency in keeping every patient safe from harm every time. What has been learned to date in the MHA Keystone Center high-reliability project is important, but only scratches the surface. For the MHA Keystone Center’s Tier 2 Project, a small group of hospitals has committed to developing the skills needed to execute high reliability both nimbly and consistently.

Leaders involved in the Tier 2 Project will outline how they are creating transparency, providing resources and removing harm. Gary Roth, DO, is chief medical officer of the MHA Keystone Center, Okemos, and leads its high-reliability project. Marla Bunker is vice president of Nursing/Operations at War Memorial Hospital, Sault Ste. Marie, which is participating in the Tier 2 high-reliability project.

Things to Know

Attendance Policy

Attendance at MHA conferences is open to MHA members, conference sponsors and invited guests only. Contact MHA Member Relations & Education, with questions regarding membership.

Continuing Education Credit

The MHA Health Foundation will award 7 hours of continuing education credit to participants attending the conference. The MHA Health Foundation is authorized to award 7 hours of pre-approved ACHE Qualified Education credit (non-ACHE) for this program toward advancement or recertification in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Participants in this program wishing to have the continuing education hours applied toward ACHE Qualified Education credit should indicate their attendance when submitting application to the American College of Healthcare Executives for advancement or recertification.


Confirmation of your registration will be sent within three weeks of our receipt of your registration form with payment. No confirmation of registration will be made without advance payment. Contact Erica Leyko at (517) 323-3443 if you have not received confirmation five days before the program.

Cancellation Policy

Fifty percent of the registration fee will be returned if notice is given by Feb. 17, 2017. No refund will be issued after this time. Registrants may send an alternate.

Winter Weather Policy

Very rarely has the MHA canceled a conference due to inclement weather, but severe weather conditions can prevent registrants from attending a conference. If the MHA conference is not canceled, it is our policy to offer a voucher worth 50 percent of the paid registration fee to those who submit a request in writing. The voucher can be used toward payment at a future MHA conference by the individual who could not attend.

Spouse/Guest Fee

Guests who are not employees, governing board members, or medical staff of registering organizations are welcome to attend the meeting and networking functions for $75.

Venue and Overnight Rooms

An overnight room rate of $117 for hotel guest rooms and $147 for tower guest rooms has been secured for MHA Leadership Conference attendees (rooms subject to state and local taxes and resort fee). Room rates can be honored before and after the conference, based on availability. Room reservations can be made online by going to Enter code “MHA0217” on the Book Here button on the home page. You may also call (800) 968-7352 to make a reservation. Mention the MHA Leadership Conference to receive the discounted rate. After the cut-off date of Feb. 2, room reservations and rates will be confirmed based on availability.

Special Needs

If you have any special needs or concerns regarding program site access, dietary restrictions, or your participation in the program, call Erica Leyko at the MHA at (517) 323-3443. Inquiring in advance will enhance our ability to respond to your individual needs!

Conference Attire

Business casual dress is appropriate for the conference. Please dress in layers, as the room temperature may vary.

This event may be photographed and/or videotaped. Your attendance will indicate your consent for the use of such photographs or videotapes for educational and/or promotional purposes.


2017 MHA Leadership Conference brochure

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