A Note From Todd Ahrens
It was certainly my honor to become the Chairperson of the MHA Board of Trustees on the day that my friend and colleague, Jon Doolittle, began his tenure as MHA President and CEO. By the time this newsletter hits your inbox, I’ll be finishing my sixth month as chair, which means Jon will be finishing his first half-year leading MHA. And at that point, we’ll be into the second quarter of MHA’s 100th year of helping hospitals take care of the citizens of Missouri. We have a lot to be thankful for as an organization.
Of course, things are very different than they were six months ago when we stood in a much different place related to the pandemic. Being somewhat superstitious, the preceding sentence will be the last sentence in this article intimating, whether positively or negatively, about the status of surges or variants in this pandemic.
Our challenges as an industry persist, and the one I find myself thinking about and working on the most involves the unprecedented workforce challenges we all face. If you would have told me when I started as the President and CEO of Hannibal Regional Healthcare System nine years ago that there would be a period of time when my largest daily focus would be on the staffing and labor expense challenges we face now, I would have looked at you skeptically.
The other challenge I think of regularly is our need to push our advocacy efforts to the next level. Like many of you, I don’t have a government relations team within my organization. And that means that I have found myself calling and emailing members of the legislature more than usual, as there are an abundance of health care policy discussions taking place at a time when there is so much divisiveness in government. Please continue to do what you can to advocate for those policies that are important for our industry.
And as I reflect on the reputation of hospitals during the two-plus years of the pandemic, one oddity that struck me was how we have gone from a position of being held in the highest regard, to now something less than that. I appreciate the recent talking points MHA staff sent out to rebut the variety of assertions that are being made to tarnish our good names. But make no mistake, regardless of who says what about our industry now, I am a big fan of each of your institutions for what you have done and continue to do during these challenging times. I’m proud to be the CEO of my organization, I’m proud of each of you and the organizations you lead and I’m proud to get the opportunity to lead such a fine organization as MHA through the end of the year.
Uncompensated Care And Total Community Benefit Increase In Missouri Hospitals
MHA Contact: Mary Becker
In 2020, Missouri hospitals provided more than $3.5 billion in total community benefit — an increase of nearly $100 million from 2019, and a 16% increase throughout the last decade. Providing a safety net for care is an essential part of hospitals’ value to the communities they serve. In 2020, hospitals provided $1.8 billion in total uncompensated care — an increase of more than $93 million over 2019.
“Missouri hospitals are always essential,” said Jon D. Doolittle, MHA President and CEO. “Their commitment to patients and communities is steadfast. Even in the most uncertain and challenging times as the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, hospitals continued to provide lifesaving care regardless of a patient’s ability to pay.”
The report outlines several ways hospitals contribute to strong, healthy communities by providing a safety net for Missourians without insurance or the ability to pay, as well as engaging in health and wellness activities in the communities they serve.
Call For Submissions — 2022 MHA Awards
2022 Trustee of the Year Award
The Trustee of the Year Award honors up to two trustees who currently serve on a Missouri hospital or health system governing board for their dedication and engagement in their hospital’s activities.
Nomination Deadline: 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 1
2022 Aim for Excellence Award
The Aim for Excellence Award recognizes Missouri hospitals’ innovation and outcomes related to the Triple Aim approach, in which hospitals can improve the individual experience of care and the health of populations, and reduce per capita costs of care.
Application Deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, May 6
2022 Visionary Leadership Award
The Visionary Leadership Award recognizes outstanding achievements in clinical and health outcomes and will be awarded to a hospital or health system chief executive whose organization has demonstrated sustained improvements.
Nomination Deadline: 5 p.m. Friday, May 6
Hospital Visitation Policy and Practice
On Feb. 23, MHA regulatory and legal staff provided a review of state and federal patient visitation regulations and how those practices are evolving with stabilizing COVID-19 cases. MHA continues to monitor the visitor reintroduction process, and future technical assistance will be forthcoming.
Board leadership succession planning is a critical aspect of effective governance. The American Hospital Association published four key considerations to ensure a smooth transition to a new board chair.
May 5-6 — 2022 Leadership Forum
Join Missouri health care leaders in person at Lake Ozark, Mo., for two days of high-impact, inspiring speakers who will share their wisdom and practical perspective. Learn more and register.
May-Oct. — Trustee Training: Six-Part Virtual Series
It is imperative that health care board members understand the health care landscape, and more importantly, how to properly govern and lead an organization. This six-part series provides an overview of some of the most pressing topics guiding hospital boards. Learn more and register.
The MHA Health Institute offers cost-effective learning opportunities for both members and nonmembers to help them understand and address emerging issues, learn and share best practices, and comply with legal and regulatory requirements. Learn more.