At the Helm

Insights for the C-suite

5 things providers should know about new HHS Secretary Tom Price

Eric Cragun February 10, 2017

Early Friday morning, the Senate voted 52-47 to confirm Tom Price as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Here's what providers should know about Price and how his time at HHS might affect their strategy.

Secretary Price now assumes leadership of a department that controls over $1.1 trillion in annual federal spending and includes CMS, FDA, and NIH, among other agencies. The Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing next week to consider the confirmation of Seema Verma, President Trump's nominee for CMS Administrator. The president has yet to announce his nominees for FDA commissioner and NIH director.

In his new role, Secretary Price clearly will have a significant impact on the health care industry. So what should providers know about Price and how his time at HHS might affect their strategy?

Read more »

Our vision for transforming health care: It starts with you

Robert W. Musslewhite February 2, 2017

All of us who work in health care are well-versed in change, and this year has ushered in a period of particular uncertainty—and opportunity—for our members. That's one reason why I'm eager to share with you the vision for our work in 2017 and beyond.

As always, your challenges are our challenges, and your goals are our goals—and now we are better positioned than ever to help you tackle them.

Read more »

How to interpret Trump's executive order regarding the ACA

Eric Cragun January 23, 2017

On Friday—in between the inaugural parade and inaugural balls—Trump issued an executive order that directs federal agencies to take steps to ensure the government's implementation of the ACA minimizes the burden on impacted parties (individuals, states, etc.).

The order instructs agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay implementation of provisions" that place a "fiscal burden on any State" or that impose a "cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden" on stakeholders including patients, providers, and insurers. Importantly, the order states that any changes should be made only to the extent "permitted by law" and should comply with the law governing administrative rule-making.

The order does not, however, provide specifics on next steps or provisions that will be reexamined. Predicting how agencies and their new heads will respond to this order is impossible at this point. The quick take is that the order is best viewed as a symbolic step reaffirming Trump's focus on repealing the ACA and an effort to show that he is keeping his campaign promise to deal with the ACA on his first day.

Read more »

Health policy outlook: What we know and don't know

Eric Cragun January 9, 2017

The 115th United States Congress convened last week, and President-elect Donald Trump will be inaugurated on January 20. In the two months since the election, there has been much coverage of Republicans' preparations and early steps to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

However, despite all the chatter, Republicans have not reached consensus or announced details on their plans, and the path forward is shrouded in much uncertainty. At this point, most reports are more speculative than substantive.

Even after Republicans start releasing legislative text in coming weeks, uncertainty will persist to some degree as Republicans continue to figure out process and details of repeal, and begin navigating the challenges of developing and passing a replacement plan.

In that light, below is a summary of what we know and what remains unknown at this point in the process. Many of the questions our Chief Research Officer Chas Roades proposed in the aftermath of the election remain open.

Read more »

Why the EHR is crucial to NYC Health + Hospitals’ mission

John Kontor, MD January 5, 2017

Early in my clinical career, my care team tracked and managed our diabetic patients using spreadsheets, and even then, it felt like we were using technology well to support our care goals.

However, it wasn't until the industry broadly adopted more advanced EHRs that I realized the vast opportunity for health IT to revolutionize health care, and transform a health system's core strategies to deliver on a mission of accessible, quality patient care.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the story of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health system in the country, as they embarked upon one of the biggest EHR implementations ever.

When NYC Health + Hospitals asked Advisory Board to help, we knew we had a deep bench of experts that could pull from years of experience in health IT and would take this work personally, like my colleague Ed Marx who is currently serving as NYC Health + Hospitals' interim CIO.

Advisory Board partnered with NYC Health + Hospitals through their Epic implementation, supporting their mission to provide care to all of New York City, with the first two facilities successfully going live in April 2016.

Read more »

Community hospitals: What's your long-term game plan?

John Johnston, CPA, MHA December 6, 2016

The volume of hospital M&A deals has doubled over the last six years, with fewer and fewer community hospitals still going at it alone. For the remaining holdouts, they are at an important juncture: Should they continue fighting for independence or join a larger system?

This heavily-debated question is at the core of many board meetings. While the answer is unique to each institution, in either scenario, the community hospital that proactively controls its own destiny—instead of losing that control to market forces—can come out ahead.

Whether the future holds independence or acquisition, here is what leadership needs to know to position their hospitals for future growth.

Read more »

How Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO's personal experience led him to call for a health care 'revolution'

by Eric Larsen, Managing Partner November 16, 2016

Welcome to the "Lessons from the C-suite" series, featuring Managing Partner Eric Larsen's conversations with the most influential leaders in health care.

In this edition, Jim Weinstein, CEO and president of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health System, talks to Eric about empowering patients, why D-H dropped out of the Pioneer ACO program but might consider NextGen, and his belief that transparency is key to improving health care quality.

Read more »

When pursuing our purpose helps you achieve yours

Robert W. Musslewhite November 11, 2016

Today is Veterans Day, and I can't think of a better time to pause in gratitude to those who serve our nation—and in this case especially, those who serve our nation's patients.

It's our honor to support organizations with a mission above commerce, such as health systems and universities. And we nurture the same service orientation in our staff, hiring individuals attuned to our members' mandates and empowering employees to pursue their purpose.

This summer, I shared a few examples of the inspiring things that happen when we partner with our member organizations to use best practices to their fullest. Continuing that discussion, I want to tell you about Edward Marx (incidentally, an Army veteran and the son of one, too) and what his leadership has meant for NYC Health + Hospitals.

Read more »