(June 9, 2023) – Last week, the Kansas Hospital Association Board of Directors had its annual retreat and board meeting. This event is an opportunity for the board to delve deeper into health care issues affecting Kansas hospitals and our industry.
To kick off the meeting, the board had the opportunity to hear first hand from Stacey Hughes, executive vice president for government relations and public policy for the American Hospital Association. Her comments regarding the future of the hospital industry and the current political landscape came on the heels of Congress' agreement to raise the debt ceiling. Hughes highlighted several pressing policy issues facing the hospital industry including site-neutral payments, 340B Drug Pricing Program, drug manufacturers' pricing and health insurer accountability. Protecting the financial stability of rural and urban hospitals is a significant advocacy priority for AHA.
The board also received an environmental assessment regarding the Kansas health care system. The changing demographics of the population in Kansas, as well as continued financial pressures and workforce challenges, are front and center for Kansas hospitals. Information was shared regarding the latest economic impact of the health care sector on the Kansas economy. Kansas hospitals continue to be an economic anchor for many communities as the industry employs more than 72,000 Kansans and creates an additional 52,560 jobs in other industries within Kansas.
In addition to the board's discussion on workforce initiatives, highlighted in last week's President Perspective, the board focused on measuring the public and political perception of health care in Kansas. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care industry has been front and center on the national and state stage. As a result, the public and political perception of the health care industry has been polarizing.
The board received the results of a public opinion poll conducted in May 2023 to better understand the current perception, strengths and weaknesses of the health care industry. Further, the board delved into the political realities as the national and state political environments continue to be divisive. Board members heard from a panel of former elected and political observers to better understand the current political dynamics and consider new approaches to build upon the political image of Kansas hospitals and the health care system. I would like to personally thank former Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle, Kansas Representative Kathy Wolfe Moore and Ed O'Malley, president and CEO, Kansas Health Foundation, for their participation in this discussion. The results of the public opinion poll indicated that while portions of the Kansas health care sector was perceived favorable by the public, the industry were viewed more negatively by the younger respondents (18-34-year-olds), especially as a potential career field. The KHA team will be reviewing the results of the poll in more depth to develop strategies to promote the health care industry and raise the overall perception.
To cap off the retreat, the board held its official meeting to discuss several upcoming events and emerging issues. A few of the highlights of the June board meeting are bulleted below:
- Reviewed the results of the 2023 KHA Board self-assessment.
- Appointed David McCorkle, president and CEO, Citizens Medical Center, Colby, to the KHA Board of Directors.
- Approved two new associate membership and sponsorship applications from Molina Healthcare of Kansas and United Healthcare Community Plan.
- Received the latest updates on federal and state advocacy efforts. KHA staff highlighted the 2023 Kansas legislative session including issues related to the protection of health care workers, workforce initiatives and state budget allocations for the health care industry. On the federal level, KHA staff reported on the latest activities regarding the debt ceiling, Medicare Advantage, 340B Drug Discount Program and the disproportionate share program. Staff also discussed the FY 2024 inpatient prospective payment system proposed rule and the development of an All-Payer Scorecard.
- Adopted the KHA financial and investment report.
- Appointed Tina Pendergraft, CEO, Satanta District Hospital, to the Kansas Healthcare Collaborative Board of Directors.
- Received information on the KHA Political Advocacy Committee fundraising activities involving golf, pickle ball and several other events.
- Heard an update from the KHA Education Department on preparations for the 2023 KHA Annual Convention and Trade Show.
- Received information on several workforce and physician leadership activities, including the planning of a joint virtual physician leadership program with the Kansas Medical Society to occur later this year.
Thanks to KHA Board Chair Carrie Saia, CEO, Holton Community Hospital, for leading us through some important yet challenging discussions. And, thanks to the entire KHA Board for their excellent leadership!