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.