Current Report Articles
President's Perspective – AHA Hosts Regional Policy Board in Kansas City

AHA Logo (Mar. 22, 2024) – Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the American Hospital Association's Regional Policy Board meeting for Region Six in Kansas City. RPB Six includes Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. The hospital leaders from this region discussed many timely and significant issues confronting health care providers and hospitals across the country. As always, the AHA team did a fantastic job in preparing and facilitating the meeting agenda.

The meeting began with an update from AHA leadership on initiatives to enhance public trust and confidence. AHA has made a multi-faceted effort to preserve and enhance public perception of the value hospitals and health systems provide for their communities. The RPB members discussed the need to provide additional education and information to state and federal elected officials. In addition, a focus on sharing information with the media regarding patient stories and the challenges the insurance industry poses to hospitals nationwide was identified. Much of the work AHA is pursuing relates to the public perception campaign KHA is engaged in on the state level. If you missed last week's President Perspective, I encourage you to go back and read the work KHA is doing in this area.

The AHA team also provided an update on the latest advocacy efforts on the federal level, as well as the status of the Change Healthcare cyber-attack. AHA's priority issues include protecting hospital finances during the impending budget discussions, safeguarding the 340B Drug Discount Program and protecting health care workers from workplace violence through the SAFE Act. AHA's efforts would not be as successful if not for the thousands of hospitals, including those in Kansas, united in our advocacy efforts. We continue to encourage KHA members to join in our advocacy efforts and share personal stories regarding the effect public policies will have on your hospital and the patients you serve.

In addition to the advocacy update, the RPB meeting focused on several issues: 1) commercial health plan accountability; 2) impact of high-cost drugs and therapies; 3) engaging with employers on the local level; 4) current and emerging regulations of artificial intelligence and use in hospital and health systems; 5) hospital financial challenges; 6) AHA's strategic workforce initiatives; 7) unwinding the public health emergency; and 8) mitigating cybersecurity risks.

Kansas hospitals were well-represented at this week's RPB meeting by Melissa Atkins, Graham County Hospital, Hill City; Sherri Vaughn, MD, The University of Kansas Health System, Kansas City; and Larry Van Der Wege, Lindsborg Community Hospital, Lindsborg. Thanks to these hospital leaders for their representation of Kansas hospitals.
--Chad Austin