Recruitment in rural healthcare has always been challenging, made even more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what happens when the focus is moved to developing and retaining the talent that is already in-house? This week we are talking with Kim Bourne, the Chief Executive Officer at Taylorville Memorial Hospital. Kim will discuss her transition into rural health and how she was able to decrease employee turnover by almost half within a year.
“The focus really has to be on retention and servant leadership.”
Kim Bourne has been in leadership positions with Memorial Health for over 30 years. Starting with clinical nutrition and food service roles, Kim has also had opportunities to lead in patient transport and entrance attendants, patient safety, and regulatory compliance prior to her current role as hospital Chief Executive Officer at Taylorville Memorial Hospital.
Kim has been trained as a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt within her organization. She recently completed a several-phase project to replace an aging hospital with a newly constructed facility. She is married with 3 adult children and one grandchild.
In rural communities keeping care local can be a challenge. Many rural hospitals have begun to contemplate integrating into larger health systems to address this longstanding battle. This week we are talking with Bernie Jore, the Chief Operating Officer for Corewell Health Pennock & Zeeland. Bernie will discuss the impact integration has had on his organization and how they could keep care local for the community.
“If you have a great team, there’s not a whole lot you can’t accomplish in rural healthcare. We can keep healthcare local. We just have to work at it.”
Bernie Jore is the Chief Operating Officer of Spectrum Health Pennock a critical access hospital in Southwest Michigan. Prior to coming to Pennock, he worked 28 years for Ascension Health in Saginaw Michigan serving in many different leadership roles. The positions he held there included, Vice President of Business Development and Joint Ventures, Chief Nursing Officer, Director of Nursing, Manager of Human Resources, and associate health and wellness, Manager of Nursing and nursing supervisor for off shifts.
Before health care, Bernie was in the Army where he served in the first Gulf War and was assigned to a Saudi Air Force hospital and then as an NCO in an infantry unit as an aid evac medic. Life with his family includes a wife of 25 years, a 15-year-old son, 14-year-old and 12-year-old daughters who believe they run the place but in truth, their house is ruled by a 12-pound tyrant of a dog.
Many rural hospitals are facing struggles when it comes to maintaining their independence and financial stability. How did this pharmacist-turned-administrator manage to become one of the top revenues generating critical access hospitals and maintain their independent status? Find out this week when we talk to Chris Laman, the Vice President of Strategy with Columbia Memorial Hospital. Chris will discuss the rural collaborative advantage and how his organization increased its total operating revenue.
“It's a real focus on strategic growth, and not just growing to grow but growing service lines, one that can generate revenue that has some profitability, but also that the community needs.”
Over the last 16 years at Columbia Memorial, a CAH in Oregon, Chris has served many roles. Starting as a staff pharmacist and working his way to VP of Strategy. Over this time, he has led several major projects including the construction of a new cancer center and leading the county vaccination program during COVID. Chris has just completed the NHRA Rural Hospital CEO Certification Program. He is a very passionate leader committed to meeting the unique needs of this rural community.
Remain independent or integrate with a large system? This has been a hot topic in rural healthcare, especially when considering its impact on reimbursement, organizational culture, community engagement, and more. This week we are talking with Jose Alba, the President for CentraCare–long prairie in central Minnesota. Jose will discuss the care structure his facility is transitioning to and share his perspective on hospital systems.
“We've really worked together to try to not only leverage the resources of our large healthcare system but how do we do things right in rural health and partner and work together and collaborate and innovate.”
Jose has more than nine years of healthcare leadership experience. He has spent his whole career in rural care delivery and for the past six months, he has been the President of CentraCare Long Prairie. He has also held leadership roles with Astera Health, Sanford Health, and Catholic Health Initiatives.
He received his Bachelor of Science in Health Services Administration from Minnesota State University Moorhead and earned his healthcare MBA from the University of Mary, Bismarck, ND. He currently holds Fellow status through the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the boards of two local non-profits. Jose is also certified as a rural hospital CEO through the National Rural Health Association.
Jose and his family currently reside in Wadena with his wife Katie (10 years), Kids (Mia 6, Andre 4, Sofia 4 months), and his mom. He enjoys being competitive when he can and traveling with his friends and family. Originally from the Staples-Motley area, he considers central Minnesota home.
In rural communities, there are often barriers that can stymie the collaboration between healthcare stakeholders in enhancing healthcare for rural Americans. Our next guest seeks to break down those barriers by integrating clinical care and public health. This week we welcome back Dr. Phil Polakoff, the Chief Executive Officer for A Healthier WE. Dr. Polakoff will be discussing the work he was done through A Healthier WE to create healthier rural communities.
“Step up, be committed, do something with your passion and purpose, and make sure that your words are put to action and become reality for a better rural America.”
-Dr. Phil Polakoff
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. He has a wide range of experience in clinical services, product innovation, network development, care management, organizational and business enhancement, policy formulation, communications, and financing.
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, and an 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.
Rural hospitals have traditionally had less access to independent system review solutions than their urban counterparts. Dr. Pahuja and his team are changing that by offering affordable clinical advisory services geared toward rural hospitals. Our guests for this episode are Dr. Deepak Pahuja, Chief Medical Officer, and Dr. John Hall, Chief Regulatory Officer, at Aerolib Healthcare Solutions. They will discuss the future trends of rural healthcare and how the community can positively impact the viability of a hospital.
“The survivability of rural hospitals depends upon the survivability of their communities.”
-Dr. John Hall
“It's a combination of what your community needs, what your system can afford, the quality of the service being provided, and the back end.”
-Dr. Deepak Pahuja
In addition to being the Chief Regulatory Officer at Aerolib, Dr. Hall joined the Executive Team at Knox Community Hospital as the Chief Medical Officer in September 2021. Before joining Knox Community Hospital, Dr. Hall served in a wide range of hospital and university executive physician roles as well as general counsel for a compliance firm, Chief Clinical Officer for a nationally recognized compliance and revenue cycle firm, and CEO of a state medical board. In his role as Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hall oversees the activities of the medical staff office, anesthesia services, and hospitalist services.
Dr. Hall received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati, business degrees from Texas Tech University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and a law degree from Concord Law School. He is certified in anesthesiology, pediatric anesthesiology, legal medicine, and medical management. He is a member of the American College of Legal Medicine, the American Health Law Association, and the California Bar.
Dr. Deepak Pahuja is the Chief Medical Officer of Aerolib Healthcare Solutions LLC. He is Board certified in Internal Medicine and has a Master of Business Administration 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 https://physicianonline.org.
Dr. Pahuja is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Society of Hospital Medicine.
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.
To learn more about Aerolib Healthcare Solutions visit their website: Aerolib Healthcare Solutions – Home
Traveling outside of their community is necessary for many rural residents to receive appropriate healthcare. Our next guest was able to find innovative ways to connect with the community and expand services right in his own backyard. This week we are talking with Scott Blixt, the Chief Nursing Officer for Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital. Scott will discuss the community he serves and how he expanded the service line at his hospital through rural collaboration.
“I think if we work together, we will all make healthcare successful, but it's going to take all of us, not just one.”
Scott started his career in healthcare in the US Navy as a Corpsman. After 5 years of service, he attended Northern Michigan University to obtain his BSN while working at Marquette General Hospital. After 17 years of working in various locations within MGH, Scott began working for Upper Great Lakes Family Health Center (FQHC). The mission was to increase access to healthcare for the underprivileged. During this time, he completed his MHA degree from Walden University. Shortly after completing his degree, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital reached out to see if he would be interested in the Chief Nursing Officer position. Scott has now been with SCMH for 5 years and loves rural healthcare. Recently he completed the NRHA’s CEO Certification Program to increase his knowledge and hone his skills in Rural Healthcare.
Recruitment and retention have been notorious sore spots for rural hospitals, particularly through the pandemic. But what innovative solutions are available to combat this problem? This week we are talking with Laura Pemble, a Master of Health Administration candidate at University of South Florida and the Resident for the Center for Rural Health Leadership. Laura will discuss new research on staff retention and the benefits of executive coaching.
“The thing I'm most excited about is innovation and efforts on what we're going to do to improve recruiting and retention.”
Laura Pemble is currently pursuing her master’s in health administration at the University of South Florida. She has been working with the Center for Rural Health Leadership as a resident since May 2022. She also works for the ACHE WFC as a Programs intern. Following her graduation, she hopes to remain in the Tampa Bay Area and grow her career in healthcare management continuing to learn along the way.
Hospital CEO turnover has long been tracked by the American College of Healthcare Executives. But what about rural hospital-specific CEO turnover. This week we are talking with Raven Muse, a Master of Health Administration Student and intern for Rural Health Leadership Radio. Raven will discuss her research on rural hospital CEO turnover and the implications of this data.
“The need to have rural health-specific CEO turnover data is really important because of the implications it has on the community.”
Raven Muse is currently a candidate for the Master of Health Administration degree at the University of South Florida. She completed her undergraduate degree at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in Tallahassee Florida. While still being a new careerist, Raven has already developed a desire to better understand the avenue of rural healthcare and its leadership.
She has experience in monitoring and observing rural healthcare leaders through her internship involvement with The Villages Regional Hospital. Exposure to this kind of health system along with her upbringing in the small rural city of Wildwood, Florida gave Raven the ambition to pursue further knowledge in all things rural healthcare-related. Moving forward, she hopes to be a vital part of the upstart of additional rural healthcare centers within Florida.
Gaps in collaboration exist between healthcare organizations and the communities they serve. How do we bridge that gap? With a Community Champion! This week we are talking with Selena McCord, the Community Program Manager for the National Rural Health Resource Center. Selena will be discussing how she incorporated community champions into rural communities through the delta program and how other leaders can implement similar programs.
“You may not have a community champion that's funded, but I can guarantee that there is somebody or someone in your community that's already doing a lot of the work of a community champion.”
Selena McCord joined the National Rural Health Resource Center in June 2018. As a Community Program Manager with the Center’s Delta Region Community Health Systems Development Program, Selena is responsible for providing leadership and directing community care coordination program goals. This involves managing the delivery of technical assistance (TA) services to support participating healthcare organizations (HCOs) and their communities in adopting best practices to improve health outcomes.
One critical TA service encompasses the identification, onboarding, and training of the facilities’ Community Champion. The Champion is trained to serve as a community liaison and is essential to the foundation of care coordination planning and capacity building to sustain post-project gains.
Prior to joining The Center, Selena worked with local and nationally recognized organizations to identify and address the needs of underserved and disaster-affected populations, to develop and implement training curricula and professional development workshops, and to recruit over 200 health workers from the Northern Gulf Coast region to serve as program participants.
Selena has a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern Mississippi and a Bachelor of Science degree from The University of Alabama with a concentration in Healthcare Management.
Selena enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys.
A rural hospital’s closure dramatically affects the overall health of the community it serves. Our next guest has first-hand experience with how detrimental these closures are, and a strong ambition to keep rural hospitals open. This week we are talking with Kyle Kopec, the Chief Medical Compliance Officer for Braden Health. Kyle will discuss his work to restore rural hospitals and the lessons learned along the way.
“The fewer hospitals that closed, the more likely we are going to be able to help preserve the system and then build it into something that we would be proud of for future generations.”
Kyle Kopec has established himself as a healthcare innovator. Currently, the Chief Medical Compliance Officer and Vice President of Government Affairs for Braden Health, his prior experience includes an internship through the White House Internship Program in addition to holding a Branch Chief position in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He worked through college at Braden Health clinic in Ave Maria, Florida, and became a protégé of Dr. Beau Braden, the company founder.
The Pennsylvania Rural Health Model was created as an innovative structure to improve outcomes and maintain access to healthcare for rural residents in Pennsylvania. This model is supported by the Rural Health Redesign Center which seeks to support the expansion of this vision to other areas in rural America. This week we are talking with Janice Walters, the Chief Operating Officer for the Rural Health Redesign Center. Janice will discuss the impact of the Pennsylvania Rural Health Model and how the dedicated work from her, and her team have led to continued growth within the Rural Health Redesign Center.
“I always say to my team, our job is not to tell a hospital that is what they should do but help facilitate it.”
Janice has been leading rural health transformation efforts at the Rural Health Redesign Center since May of 2020. She has been leading the efforts of the PA Rural Health Models since 2018. In this role, she is responsible for its overall implementation including recruitment of stakeholders, methodology development, transformation planning, and oversight of technical partners. Janice is now serving as a project officer to the Rural Emergency Hospital Technical Assistance work awarded to the Rural Health Redesign Center.
Prior to leading rural health transformation in Pennsylvania, she spent twelve years in healthcare leadership positions primarily in rural Pennsylvania. Her experience includes financial oversight of the rural health system’s business activities as well as its population health activities. Prior to healthcare, her experience includes the communication industry as well as manufacturing. Her formal education includes an MS in Healthcare Administration and two undergraduate degrees.