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Rural Health Leadership Radio™

Over the last ten years, over 100 rural hospitals have closed their doors. Roughly one in three rural hospitals have been identified as “at risk.” If there was ever a need for strong leadership, that time is now. RHLR’s mission is to provide a forum to have conversations with rural health leaders to discuss and share ideas about what is working, what is not working, lessons learned, success stories, strategies, things to avoid and anything else you want to talk and hear about. RHLR provides a voice for rural health. The only investment is your time, and our goal is to make sure you receive a huge return on your investment. For more information, visit www.rhlradio.com or e-mail bill@billauxier.com.
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Apr 16, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about rural preparedness.  We’re having that conversation with David Barney, Business Development Manager at CHG Healthcare, Dr. Tara Haskins, Associate Professor at Louisiana Tech University, and Dr. Bishow Paudel, Chief Hospitalist at Holy Rosary Hospital.  David, Tara and Bishow were 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural preparedness, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress.

 “Cyber-security should be part of a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan.” 

David Barney describes himself as a fun, family man who likes to work hard and play hard.  He enjoys exercise, travel and spending time with his family.  With over ten years’ experience in healthcare staffing, he enjoys helping rural hospitals with their patient coverage needs.

“This approach of coming together is very ingrained in life in rural areas.” 

Dr. Tara Haskins is a registered nurse of 32-years and Associate Professor at Louisiana Tech University in North Louisiana in the Division of Nursing.  She has been in nursing education since 2007. Prior to that she worked in nursing in a wide range of areas: neurology, orthopedics, cardiac, surgical ICU, addiction treatment, emergency, recovery, etc.  Fun fact, her graduate education is in mental health and Forensics. She is co-director of the Parkinson Resource Center at Louisiana Tech and proud mother of three.

“The challenge in the rural community is the access and the communication from the incident site…” 

Dr. Bishow Paudel was born and raised in a rural community in Nepal, so he has a lifetime of experience in the warmth and the challenges of living in a rural community first hand. His move to Baltimore, Maryland, for his residency at the University of Maryland was a big cultural change, but not when he moved to Miles City, Montana, as an internist at Holy Rosary Hospital. It didn’t take much time for him to feel like he was part of the community. Dr. Paudel and his wife, Kamala, have been able to enjoy the outdoor activities and even learned a new skill, skiing.  Skiing is now one of their favorite things to do together.

FREE BOOK if you write a review!  I'd love to hear from you! If you would take the time to write a review, I'd appreciate it so much that I will give you a free book in return. 

To leave a review, visit RHLR on iTunes, click “Listen in iTunes,” then click “Ratings and Reviews,” then “Write a Review.”

If you want to write a review from your iPhone, simply open your podcast app, search for Rural Health Leadership Radio, then tap on “Subscribe.”  If you’re already a subscriber, you’ve already done this.  Next, tap on the “Library” icon at the bottom of your screen, select “Rural Health Leadership Radio,” and once that opens, scroll to the bottom where you will see where you can complete a rating and write a review.

Once you’ve done that, send me an email to bill@billauxier.com, and we’ll coordinate sending you a free copy of What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying.

What Rural Health Leaders Are Saying is a summary of the inaugural year of Rural Health Leadership Radio, filled with a collection of ideas and best practices from exceptional rural health leaders for rural health leaders.  And it’s yours for free, just for writing a review on Rural Health Leadership Radio.

Thank you!

Apr 9, 2019

This week on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we’re talking about rural Veterans and their families.  We’re having that conversation with Carter Florence, the Director of Strategy and Impact with Meals on Wheels America, and David Albright, the Hill Crest Endowed Chair in Mental Health with the University of Alabama School of Social Work.  Both Carter and David are 2018-2019 Rural Health Fellows with the National Rural Health Association (NRHA), where they focused on rural Veteran policy, culminating in a Policy Paper presented to and adapted by the NRHA Rural Health Congress. 

“When we really understand the complexity of the community, we can identify the levers that can be pulled to create opportunities for improving health holistically.” 

Carter is a problem solver and proficient in developing, implementing, and managing strategies and solutions that leverage community assets and readiness for health improvement.  With a strong record of forging and developing relationships with diverse individuals and strategic partners for system-level approaches to public health, Carter accomplishes community engagement by utilizing theory-based and evidence-informed practices while implementing solutions for dynamic population level health problems. She has an outstanding academic, professional, educational, and community-based practice background in the United States, with an emphasis in rural Appalachia. 

“I worry a little bit about rural health and rural veterans being overly politicized…” 

As Director of Strategy and Impact at Meals on Wheels America, Carter provides direction and organizational support for facilitation of strategic plans as well as evaluation of current programs.  She serves as a subject matter expert on in-home safety and fall prevention for older adults, and manages the Helping Homebound Heroes grant project.  Carter also oversees the development of internal data streams. 

David is a military Veteran and former research fellow with both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the RAND Corporation’s Center for Military Health Policy Research. Dr. Albright works to produce research that is useful for communities, Veterans Service Organizations, health care providers, and policymakers as they work to address and improve health and wellness-related determinants and outcomes among military personnel, Veterans, and their families.  

The Governor of Alabama appointed Dr. Albright to both the Alabama Executive Veterans Network, in which he serves as the Education and Research committee chair, and to the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council, in which he serves as the Community Engagement chair. He also leads a state task force to identify and develop recommendations for the Alabama Veteran population on opioid addiction and treatment, both within and outside of the Veterans Health Administration health care system.  

Dr. Albright holds an appointment on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on the Well-Being of Military Families, and currently serves both on the Rural Veterans Task Force and Health Equity Council. He serves as a rural social work consultant to the National Association of Social Workers; serves as the Delegate of the Delegate Assembly for the NASW, Alabama Chapter; and is on the Board of Directors for both the Alabama Rural Health Association and the Alabama Rural Health Coalition for the Homeless. 

Apr 2, 2019

The global budget is underway in Pennsylvania, but there is a lot more than that taking place. In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about Medicaid expansion, rural hospital budget transformation, medical student community orientation and other topics of interest to rural health leaders.  We are having that conversation with Lisa Davis, Director of the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health and Outreach Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Penn State.  

 

“Pennsylvania is considered to be one of the most rural states in the nation.”

 

In her role, Lisa is responsible for the overall direction and leadership of the state office of rural health, including ensuring that the office meets its mission of being a source of networking, coordination, and technical assistance to organizations focused on rural health care delivery; developing and sustaining linkages with state and national partners; and seeking ways to expand the office’s role in enhancing the health status of rural Pennsylvanians. 

 

“Medicaid expansion has been very important here in the state for a number of reasons.”

 

On the national, state, and university levels, Davis serves on a wide range of boards of directors, advisory committees, and task forces focused on rural health policy, rural health research, economic development, outreach and education, and vulnerable populations and specific health issues such as oral health and cancer.  She has extensive experience in the field of rural health research.

 

“They learned about what it means to be those individuals, what it means to live there, what the social structure is, what the economy is like in those communities.”

 

Davis is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health, an Outstanding Leadership Award from the Pennsylvania Rural Health Association, and an Award for Individual Contributions to Public Health from the Pennsylvania Public Health Association.  The Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health received the Award of Merit from the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health.

 

She holds a graduate degree in Health Administration from Penn State.

Mar 26, 2019

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about public health, HIV, immunization and billing.  We’re having that conversation with Phil Talley, Program Coordinator, and Jeffrey Erdman, Assistant Director for Programs and Compliance, both with the Illinois Public Health Association. 

“We know that definitely in rural areas and in particular in the southern part of the United States, HIV cases are more heavily concentrated than we see throughout the rest of the nation.”  

Philip Talley is a licensed insurance professional with more than 25 year of experience in various aspects of health insurance. He joined the Illinois Public Health Association in 2014 to help manage the Immunization Billing Project which has been featured on the CDC’s website as a “Billing Project Success Story”.  Mr. Talley is now focused on the IPHA’s HIV Third-Party Billing Project, assisting local public health departments and community-based organizations with building their capacity to bill third-party payers for HIV testing and other HIV prevention services.  

“Having an efficient successful billing system will also enable providers to expand and diversify their scope of services and be able to provide more valuable services, and reach perhaps communities that they’re not currently serving.” 

Jeffery M. Erdman, a nationally recognized HIV prevention specialist, evaluator, and behavioral researcher, currently serves as the Assistant Director for Programs and Compliance for the Illinois Public Health Association.  Mr. Erdman and colleagues have developed and implemented a nationally honored group HIV prevention intervention for young African-American men who have sex with men, “Very Informed Brothers Engaged for Survival (VIBES),” which has been presented at numerous conferences, including the 2005 United States Conference on AIDS in Philadelphia and the 2007 United States Conference on AIDS in Palm Springs, CA.   

Mr. Erdman and colleagues have also conducted research into the use of new technologies and HIV/STD prevention among adolescents. This work has been presented at numerous conferences, including the 2011 United States Conference on AIDS in Chicago.  Currently, Mr. Erdman and colleagues are engaged in work to implement third-party billing for HIV and immunization services among local health departments and other healthcare providers.   

In addition to these accomplishments, Mr. Erdman has been honored with awards from the Illinois Department of Public Health, the American Association for World Health, and the Society of Professional Journalists, and he has been published in various journals and periodicals for work he completed as a research specialist at IDPH, Northwestern University and the Edward Hines Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital. 

To contact Phil or Jeff, please send an email to insurancebilling@ipha.com.  You can also check out their website they mentioned:  www.ipha.com 

Mar 19, 2019

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about staffing a Critical Access Hospital with Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners.  We’re having that conversation with Mark Zellmer, Ph.D., PA.-C, who has been a PA since 1983 graduating from the University Iowa PA Program.

“Having physicians is important and wonderful and necessary in rural communities, but there may need to be more than just physicians.”

Mark became a PA after serving as a volunteer EMT while teaching high school chemistry and biology in a rural Iowa community that previously had no ambulance service.  Mark subsequently becoming a paramedic.

Mark’s PA career has included practice in an Iowa county without a hospital or a stoplight, and in Minnesota in both primary care in Red Wing and later, a tertiary care practice at Mayo Clinic, Rochester.

As a PA educator, Mark was the founding director of rural oriented PA programs at the University of South Dakota and the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He holds a Ph.D. in Public Health, Epidemiology emphasis.

His current practice is as the lead hospitalist and an emergency room provider at a rural, Critical Access Hospital, Gundersen Tri-County, in Whitehall, WI.

Mar 12, 2019

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about several different aspects of rural healthcare with Farrell Turner, President of the Alabama Rural Health Association.  Farrell had the experience of a lifetime when he attended the State of the Union Address this year while he was in Washington, DC, at the NRHA Policy Institute meeting.   

 “There needs to be a sense of urgency because we can’t just sit back on our thumbs to make incremental changes.” 

 Farrell began his career with St. Luke’s Episcopal and Texas Children’s Hospitals in Houston.  After that, he was CFO at South Central Regional Medical Center in Laurel, Mississippi and has served as interim CEO and CFO in a number of small rural hospitals in the South. He most recently served as CEO of Community Hospital Corp’s Jellico Community Hospital in Tennessee and Interim CEO of Medical Center Barbour in Eufaula, Alabama for Alliant Healthcare Management. He is a subject matter expert in Rural Health Clinics, especially provider-based RHCs. 

He was educated in Alabama public schools, received a Bachelor’s degree at University of Alabama College of Commerce and Business Administration in Accounting and Health Care Management, and a Master’s in Finance at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. He is a CPA, a certified coder, and a Fellow with HFMA. He is President of the Alabama Rural Health Association and has been chapter President of the Anniston- Gadsden and Oxford Chapters of the American Academy of Professional Coders. 

He enjoys hunting and has taken up running. He completed his first half-marathon on his 60th birthday and did it again on his next birthday. He lives in rural Cleburne County with his wife Beverly. 

During our conversation, Farrell talks about an excellent tool for rural health leaders, the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps.  Hopefully you will find this a useful tool as well. 

Mar 5, 2019

In this episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking about the relationship of healthcare and agriculture with a special focus on mental health with today’s guest, Charlotte Halverson. Charlotte serves as the Clinical Director for AgriSafe.  

“Suicide is about the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and that’s just tragic.” 

Prior to this role, she worked for several years in hospital acute care settings and community education.  During those years, Charlotte developed and managed a Rural Outreach Health service and a Parish Health Ministry department serving nine counties in northeast Iowa.   

“Our rural counties consistently appear to have higher suicide rates than metropolitan areas.” 

A charter graduate of the University of Iowa agricultural occupational medicine course, she served as the agricultural occupational health services manager for the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety. Her primary role with AgriSafe involves development and dissemination of educational programs for health care professionals, agricultural businesses, and educators. 

Feb 26, 2019

Mike Shimmens has over 20 years of experience in the recruitment of health care professionals through various organizations and roles.  He has served as the Executive Director of 3RNet (National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network) since 2012.  In this role he works with a nine-member Board of Directors and a staff of three to assist 54 non-profit and governmental member organizations in the recruitment and retention of quality health care professionals in rural and underserved areas of our country.   

“3RNet is a shortened title because our full name is National Rural Recruitment and Retention Network and rural is obviously right there on the title.” 

3RNet has over 20 years of experience in providing a quality, interactive job board and educational services to safety net facilities.   

Prior to coming to this position, he worked for 6 years at the Missouri Primary Care Association as Director of Recruitment and Workforce Development.  There he assisted 21 Community Health Centers and other Missouri hospitals and clinics in their health professional recruitment efforts through the Missouri Health Professional Placement Service. He also served as the Organizational Member of 3RNet for Missouri and was on its Board of Directors for 2 years before taking the role of Executive Director. 

Mike’s first recruitment position in health care was as Director of Medical Staff Development at St. Mary's Health Center in Jefferson City, MO. He served in this role for 9 years and recruited for all physician specialties and advanced practice nurses at this 167-bed hospital and affiliated clinics.  Additionally, he helped create medical staff plans for the organization and served as a liaison to a large, multispecialty clinic in the community.  He has maintained membership in ASPR (Association of Staff Physician Recruiters) continuously since 1997. 

Feb 19, 2019

Barry Mathis is Principal – IT and Advisory Services at PYA.  Barry has nearly three decades of experience in the information technology (IT) and healthcare industries as a CIO, CTO, senior IT audit manager, and IT risk management consultant.  He has performed and managed complicated HIPAA security reviews and audits for some of the most sophisticated hospital systems in the country.   

“The resources in a rural health situation are obviously at times challenged so your solutions have to be sharp.” 

Barry is a visionary, creative, results-oriented senior-level healthcare executive with demonstrated experience in planning, developing, and implementing complex information-technology solutions to address business opportunities, while reducing IT risk and exposure.  He is adept at project and crisis management, troubleshooting, problem solving, and negotiating.   

Barry has strong technical capabilities combined with outstanding presentation skills and professional pride.  He is a prudent risk taker with proficiency in IT risk management, physician relations, strategic development, and employee team building. 

Barry is a member of United States Marine Corps, Health Care Compliance Association, Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors, Healthcare Information Management Systems Society and Information Systems Audit and Control Association. He was an Honor Graduate in Systems Programming from the United States Marine Corps Computer Sciences School (MCCDC) in Quantico, VA. He is a Certified COBOL Programmer, a Certified Database Management Specialist, and a Certified Cyber Security Framework Practitioner. 

Barry L. Mathis 
Principal – Information Technology & Advisory Services 
bmathis@pyapc.com 
(800) 270-9629   |   www.pyapc.com 

Feb 12, 2019

Dan Neenan, MBA, joined the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) staff in August of 2002 as Director. Dan is a Paramedic Specialist, Firefighter II and EMS instructor. He currently chairs the Iowa Community College Fire Coordinators and is a member of the Iowa Propane board, Vice Chair of the Dubuque County Emergency Management Commission, and Treasurer of the Dubuque County EMS. 

“Agriculture is the most dangerous industry in the United States.” 

In his work at NECAS Dan has developed several OSHA approved training programs as well as Agricultural rescue programs. Safety programs include viticulture safety, enology safety, confined space-grain bin entry, Prevention of grain storage fire and explosions, chemical safety, confined space-manure pit entry. Rescue programs include tractor rollover, combine auger rescue, grain bin rescue, manure pit rescue, anhydrous ammonia emergency response. 

The National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) is a partnership in safety and health between the National Safety Council and Northeast Iowa Community College formed in 1997. Located on 12 acres in Peosta Iowa, NECAS provides safety training for Farmers, ranchers, agribusiness personnel and well as Ag rescue programs for Fire, EMS, and Law enforcement personnel. www.necasag.org 

To learn more about Grain Bin Safety Week click HERE. 

Feb 5, 2019

In this episode on Rural Health Leadership Radio™ we are talking with Nick Brady, HIV Care Connect Associate and Trauma-Free Illinois Coordinator, along with Michael Maginn, HIV Program Manager and Prevention Lead Agent, both who are with the Illinois Public Health Association. 

“Collaboration is the key to being successful.” 

Michael Maginn began working in the HIV field in 2004 as the Executive Director for a community-based organization providing supportive services to people living with HIV. Ten years after he began working at FRIENDS, where he transitioned to a position with the Illinois Public health Association (IPHA), the oldest and largest public health association in the state, as their HIV Program Manager, Coordinator of the Illinois HIV Care Connect initiative and Illinois Prevention Lead Agent for Regions 1, 3, and 5. There are 98 affiliate organizations of IPHA, including local health departments, colleges and universities, and various public health organizations.  

Michael’s role as Prevention Lead Agent also brings him into contact with multiple public health programs that he oversees, including 1) HIV targeted testing, 2) CDC behavioral interventions, 3) targeted gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and hepatitis C testing, 4) hepatitis A and B vaccinations, 5) surveillance-based services, and 6) routine testing data collection.  

At the same time, he has also worn different hats in the HIV/AIDS community. He has been a Client Representative for the Ryan White Part B consortium. He is also a current member of the Illinois ADAP Medical Issues Advisory Board, Getting to Zero Campaign, Illinois PrEP Working Group, the Chicago Area HIV Integrated Services Council, the CDC/MMP Advisory Board member, and the Illinois HIV Integrated Planning Council, where he is the co-chair of the Epidemiology and Needs Assessment Committee  

Michael’s focus has always been to give back to his community and to give those in the community a voice and representation on a state and national level. In all of those regards, it is safe to say that he has succeeded. 

Nick Brady is a self-proclaimed strategic planning “guru” who has supported several initiatives on a local, regional, and state level in Illinois. He has worked with the Illinois Department of Public Health to revise the State Strategic Plan to Prevent Injury, Violence, and Suicide; participates in local and regional faith-based initiatives; served as the president of the Menard County Partnership for Safety and Wellness which has a focus area in substance abuse prevention; volunteers on the Illinois Diabetes Action Plan Group; and works as an HIV Care Connect Associate and the coordinator of the Trauma-Free Illinois Initiative at the Illinois Public Health Association .  

“Rural organizations are faced with some particular challenges such as having the resources…” 

When Nick is not working, he enjoys volunteering at his church, working at his family’s pizzeria, singing, riding roller coasters, and spending time with his family and friends.  

Jan 29, 2019

Dr. Deepak Pahuja is the Chief Medical Officer of Aerolib Healthcare Solutions LLC. He is Board certified in Internal Medicine and has an MBA in Healthcare Management from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst-Isenberg School of Management. Dr Pahuja specializes in innovations in healthcare and serves as the Founder of the Empowering Physician Advisor Show.  

“Small and rural hospitals are subject to the same level of regulations as big academic centers.” 

Dr Pahuja is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the Society of Hospital Medicine and member of the Audit and Risk Committee of the American Association for Physician Leadership. 

His company, Aerolib Healthcare Solutions, is a physician-owned physician-led consulting firm providing Physician Advisor Gap Coverage for hospitals, Clinical and Regulatory Education for providers, Healthcare Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for healthcare organizations. 

Jan 22, 2019

Phil Polakoff, M.D., M.P.H., M.Env.Sc. is the Founder and CEO of A Healthier We. He is a consulting professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and an affiliated scholar at Stanford University Bill Lane Center for the American West.

He has been in the healthcare industry for forty-five years and has a wide range of experience in clinical services, product innovation, network development, care management, organizational and business enhancement, policy formulation, communications and financing.

“Our current system with health and healthcare delivery is fragmented. We’re inefficient, ineffective, and it’s costly. “

In his first years of practice he was short listed as US Surgeon General. He has experience working with various industries as well which includes being a Senior Managing Director for publicly traded consulting firms, advisor to numerous payers, providers, investors, employers, labor organizations and public entities. He was the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Total Health Advocacy Partners (Thap!).

Dr. Polakoff holds degrees in Medicine/Healthcare Policy Study from Oxford University, an M.P.H in Epidemiology from UC Berkeley, a Medical Degree from Wayne State University, an M.S. in Environmental Sciences from The State University of New Jersey, and a Bachelor’s Degree from Cornell University.

He has published five books, over two hundred articles, and has written a weekly nationally syndicated health column.

“Leadership is both a skill set as well as a personality set to motivate yourself and others to accomplish a purpose that has both a return on investment as well as hopefully, socially meaningful results.”

A humble and effective leader, Dr. Polakoff has produced numerous health-related media productions including videos being aired as “Phil Polakoff MD - Thrive Global.”

Dr. Polakoff has faculty appointments at Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and UC Irvine.

Click here to learn more about the Healthier Rural West summit.

Jan 15, 2019

Lori Zindl is the President of efficientC, a comprehensive, software-as-a-service (SaaS) that provides healthcare organizations a single solution with unmatched performance.   

“Beside your physical building, account receivables are your largest asset.” 

Lori began her revenue cycle career in 1985 as a medical bill collector. She was amazed at the amount of bad debt sent to collection agencies which were still owed by third-party payers. She wondered why healthcare providers couldn't get paid by the insurance themselves, a question that ultimately led her to a revenue cycle consulting role.  

In 1993, Lori founded her first company OS inc., to support revenue cycle services at hospital’s struggling with their collections.  Never one to shy away from innovation, in the late 2000s she spearheaded the development of efficientC – a state-of-the-art claim processing and denial management software used by her own staff and rural hospitals across the country.   

When Lori isn’t busy managing the day-to-day operations at efficientC and OS inc., she enjoys spending time on the speaking circuit educating healthcare leaders on revenue cycle best practices.  

Jan 8, 2019

Diane Calmus is Regulatory Counsel for the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).  Diane joined the NRHA staff in 2015. She is one of NRHA’s federally registered lobbyists.

“We really saw the voice of rural Americans saying how important healthcare is to them.”

She previously worked as a legislative assistant to Rep. Kevin Brady, the chair of Ways and Means, where she handled a variety of health care issues with a focus on Medicare policy. She also worked as a health policy fellow at the Heritage Foundation. 

Diane earned a J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law and bachelor’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Lake Superior State University and psychology from Central Michigan University.

Diane will be part of the NRHA Rural Health Policy Institute February 5-7 in Washington, DC.  Act by January 11 to take advantage of discounted registration. You can register by clicking HERE.

Jan 1, 2019

Lauren S. Hughes, MD, MPH, MSc, FAAFP, is a practicing family physician and Deputy Secretary for Health Innovation in the Pennsylvania Department of Health. In this role, she creates and leads statewide strategies to improve health and health care delivery for all Pennsylvanians, with a focus on initiatives combatting the opioid and heroin epidemic and transforming rural health care delivery.

“The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model is designed to provide greater financial stability and predictability for rural hospitals.”

Prior to joining the Department, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan where she studied health services research.

“(The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model) also provides rural hospitals with a volume to value pathway to transform how to deliver care to better meet the community’s health needs.”

She holds degrees in zoology and Spanish from Iowa State University, an MPH in health policy from The George Washington University, and a medical degree from the University of Iowa.

Dr. Hughes served as the national president of the American Medical Student Association for one year prior to completing her residency at the University of Washington in Seattle.

She has volunteered through AmeriCorps in a federally qualified health center, worked for Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, and studied medicine and health systems in Brazil, Sweden, Tanzania, and Botswana. Dr. Hughes has also been a visiting scholar at the Robert Graham Center, ABC News Medical Unit in New York City, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and The Commonwealth Fund.

In 2015, she was named a regional finalist in the White House Fellows program, and in 2016, a recipient of the Women Leaders in Medicine Award from the American Medical Student Association and the Early Career Achievement Award from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. In 2017, she was elected to a five-year term on the American Board of Family Medicine Board of Directors, and in 2018, as a Presidential Leadership Scholar.

Dec 25, 2018

Rolland “Boomer” Bojo is the Administrator of Grover M. Hermann Hospital, and also the Vice President of Patient Care Services and CNO of Catskill Regional Medical Center. 

Grover M. Hermann Hospital was recently recognized as a Top 20 CAH by the NRHA for the 4th time in the last 5 years. 

“Our secret sauce is that we strongly believe in the community.” 

Boomer joined Catskill Regional Medical Center in 2004, where he has held several leadership positions including Administrator of Patient Care Services and Emergency Manager, Grant Director, Clinical Director of the Emergency Department and Director of Infection Control. 

As Vice President of Patient Care and Chief Nursing Officer, Mr. Bojo is responsible for providing nurse leadership throughout the hospital as well as oversight for nursing practice, nursing standards and patient care delivery. 

Boomer holds a BS in Nursing and earned his Master’s degree in Nursing from Norwich University.  He holds certifications as a NYS EMT, Professional Development Emergency Department, Fire Fighter 1, Haz Mat Technician and ICS 400.  He is also the Deputy Coordinator of the Delaware County Office of Emergency Services and Chief of the Hancock Fire Department and a founding member of the Town of Hancock Ambulance Corp. 

Dec 18, 2018

Joe Lampard is Vice President and partner at HPSA Acumen.  With over 15 years’ experience in analyzing areas with health professional shortages through HPSA Acumen, Joe has extensive knowledge about the underserved communities in the US. 

 “The truth is in the data.” 

Joe’s professional focus is on increasing access to care for the marginalized and underserved.  This is accomplished through Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designations, Medically Underserved Area/Population (MUA/P) designations, and Rural Health Clinic establishment which provide benefits to encourage clinicians to relocate and remain in underserved areas.  

“Knowing the exact supply of medical services in your community and region is the first step to addressing your shortages.” 

Joe attended the University of Stony Brook in Long Island and has since relocated to Western New York, where Acumen is based.   

To learn more about HPSA Acumen, click here. 

Dec 11, 2018

John Roberts was appointed Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Health Association on February 1, 2004. He has been involved in the association since its inception, and served on its board of directors for six years prior to becoming Executive Director.

“Really successful leaders truly are able to articulate a clear vision for their organization, for their hospital and for their communities.”

With over 38 years of professional experience in both healthcare and leadership development, John brings great value to rural health leaders.

“The most effective leaders have a great self-awareness of their own leadership.”

He currently serves as President of Midwest Health Consultants, Inc. a position he has held for the past 18 years. The firm has considerable expertise in the areas of healthcare administration, rural health care policy, strategic planning, association management and the implementation of hospital performance improvement activities such as the balanced scorecard, lean healthcare and values-based leadership. John also serves on the National Rural Health Association Board of Trustees.

“Effective leaders have really worked on developing. They just don’t leave it to happenstance.”

John received his designation as Lean Sigma Black Belt in 2009. He serves as a Lean Coach supporting clients through the implementation of the Lean concepts and tools in healthcare settings. John has developed leaders and managers in Lean Management concepts and tools, including the development and delivery of education and training to hospitals staff.

Prior to starting his own consulting firm, he was a lobbyist with the Nebraska Hospital Association for 12 years, was a Cancer Control Administrator with the Nebraska Department of Health and served as assistant administrator of a small rural hospital in western Nebraska for six years. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Health Services Administration and earned a Master’s Degree from Liberty University in Leadership Development.

Dec 4, 2018

Brant Couch is President of HealthSure, where he provides leadership for business development, programs and strategic account management. HealthSure is the program manager for RHIA, the Rural Hospital Insurance of America. For nearly 15 years Brant has worked closely with community hospitals to develop new and better ways to ensure their success.

“Leadership is one word, and that word is grit.”

Brant grew up in a small town in Central Texas, about an hour North of Austin. He is a fifth generation Texan, and most of his family is still resides in the area. Brant’s mom was a school teacher and his dad had a small insurance business. The Couch family was very involved in the community. In fact, Brant’s dad was mayor.

Brant majored in accounting at Texas State University, and upon graduation, went to work for Ernst & Young as a CPA. Along the way, he interned at a local hospital in the accounting department and worked part-time for the Texas Senate. After eight years with Ernst & Young, he was recruited by his father to help grow his independent insurance consulting and brokerage firm called HealthSure. 14 years later, HealthSure is a national firm that specializes in a program developed for rural hospitals in their hospital associations.

Brant has been married for 17 years. He and his wife have two beautiful daughters, ages 14 and 11.

Nov 27, 2018

Amy Yauk is the Director of Nursing at Harper County Community Hospital (HCCH), in Buffalo, OK. HCCH was recently recognized by the National Rural Health Association as a Top 20 CAH.

“We pretty much always know all of our patients so it’s real easy to care for them like they’re family.”

Amy started her career at HCCH in 1999 as an LPN. She had identified nursing as a good career path for a single mother and her grandfather also pushed her in that direction. Enrolled in the Oklahoma University BSN program, after three years in the program, she was eligible to test for the LPN license, which she successfully did. Simultaneously, she continued her education to finish her BSN in 2000. Amy became the Director of Nursing 3 years ago.

Amy grew up in a small town, Kiowa, Kansas. In 1999 she moved to Buffalo, OK, where she started her nursing career at HCCH.

Amy has worked in several areas of nursing, including the ER, Med-Surg, OB, Critical Care and Home Case Management and In-Home Nursing Visits.

She describes herself as “a normal person living out here in Oklahoma.” She has two children and one grandson. Her husband coaches boy’s football, basketball and baseball, so if she’s not at the hospital, you can probably find her at a ball game.

Nov 20, 2018

Marc Ringel grew up in Chicago, went to college in New Orleans and Madrid, and did his medical training back in Chicago.  He even drove a Chicago Transit Authority bus one summer. Nevertheless, his life led him to serve with the National Health Service Corps as a general practitioner in Yuma, Colorado, a prairie town of 2000 people.  And the die was cast. Marc fell in love with country people, country ways, and rural family practice.

“Science is but one avenue of understanding.”

-Digital Healing:  People, Information, Healthcare, p. 10

Dr. Ringel has been a rural family doctor in Wisconsin and in Colorado ever since, and has been a teacher to medical students, nurse practitioner students, residents and practicing physicians.  

“Why do you crave a person to talk to?  Because if given some latitude, a person can still solve problems that a computer cannot anticipate.  Just as importantly, because a person can, in the space of a few sentences, form an idea of who you are and respond to you.  That interpersonal connection is one of the things that makes us human beings tick.”

-Digital Healing:  People, Information, Healthcare, p. 55

He has written several books and a number of medical articles, as well producing regular columns in the lay press and commentaries on Colorado Public Radio.  

Ringel’s abiding interest in healthcare informatics stems largely from his understanding, acquired firsthand, that information and connection are the keys to the success of any medical practice, especially a rural one.  

His latest book, Digital Healing:  People, Information and Healthcare, was published this year by Taylor&Francis.  

Marc has been sort of retired since last summer.  He has three children and two grandchildren. He lives in Greeley, Colorado.  

Nov 12, 2018

Happy National Rural Health Day!  To help us celebrate, we’re having a conversation with Kristine Sande.

“It’s really great to focus on what makes rural communities great!”

Kristine Sande is an Associate Director at the University of North Dakota Center for Rural Health.   She also directs the Rural Health Information Hub, formerly known as the Rural Assistance Center, which serves as a national information portal for rural health.  

“The people who provide healthcare within those rural communities are so important and it is great to have a day to celebrate that.”

Prior to the launch of RHI Hub in 2002, she served as the Project Coordinator of the North Dakota Flex Program and worked at two different rural electric cooperatives. 

Kristine was raised on a family farm 20 miles outside of a North Dakota town of 1,200 people. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Dakota.

Nov 8, 2018

In this special episode of Rural Health Leadership Radio™, we honor our Veterans. Veteran’s Day is right around the corner, and to recognize our Veterans living in Rural America we’re having a conversation with Hilda Heady.

Hilda has 50 years of experience as a rural health leader, Hilda has had a variety of roles serving rural America including being a direct service professional, a health professions’ educator and as an advocate for rural families and rural women’s health care. Hilda is also a strong advocate for Veterans.

“I began to notice this pattern of a number of veterans who lived in rural areas that we served.”

Hilda Heady’s work and advocacy is focused on how best to inform policies and practices which impact rural people and the service institutions in their communities.

“Not everyone has a sense of service, is as patriotic and believes in service to family and community like rural people do.”

She served as a charter member of the VA Secretary’s Rural Health Advisory Committee from 2008 to 2013 and as the 2005 President of the National Rural Health Association. For 18 years, she was the associate vice president for rural health at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at WVU, and for seven years the senior vice president with Atlas Research, a service disabled veteran owned small business.

Hilda is a frequent national speaker on rural culture and resilience, and issues faced by rural veterans and their families.

Oct 29, 2018

David Conejo is the CEO of Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) in Gallup, New Mexico.  He has been running hospitals since the time Richard Nixon was President, with more than 30 years of experience in the position of CEO for multiple healthcare facilities throughout the United States.  He has worked in hospitals in South Dakota, Texas and New Mexico.

 “Somebody coming to see us may have 100-mile trip, of which 80 is on muddy roads.” 

 “We’ve been able to acquire a bus that we’re going to be taking out to the reservation to different locations.” 

 He was exposed to working in healthcare while in high school, where he worked as a volunteer in a psychiatric hospital where is mother was employed.  After high school, he served in the Marine Corps for a few years.  Once finished with his military service, he returned to healthcare where he worked his way up, advancing his career into supervisory and leadership roles.

David was educated at Columbia Pacific University in Novato, CA.

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