Earlier this month, I had the privilege of serving as moderator for the Health Forum’s National Rural Health Leadership Conference in Phoenix. With a record attendance and stellar presentations, the meeting was a smashing success. Laura Woodburn, executive director of education for Health Forum, and her team hit another one out of the park this year.
We started with an amazing keynote from Dr. David Auerbach regarding his experience in Haiti immediately following the devastating earthquake. His courage, resilience, skill, and compassion saved thousands of lives as he led the effort to re-establish the hospital in Port-au-Prince. It set the tone for the conference by reminding us all what a privilege it is to serve others, even in the most trying of times.
We ended the conference with Robert and Rebecca Bluestone. Their wonderful story, “Woven Harmony,” tells how the arts can help to create an optimal healing environment. Her truly extraordinary silk weaving and his masterful classical guitar playing left us all with a sense of renewed passion and creativity in returning to our hospitals to advance our mission of service. Tom Atchison, Dr. Clint McKinney, Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, Tom Morris, Lisa Kidder Hrobsky, Jamie Orlikoff, and Dr. David Blumenthal rounded out our keynote speakers
During the conference, participants did a lot of heavy lifting. We discussed what healthcare reform really means for rural hospitals. What is an Accountable Care Organization and will it work in our rural communities? What about physician integration? What’s new in Washington, D.C., and what does the National Advisory Committee for Rural Health and Human Services do to support our activities back home? We also heard several presentations about “meaningful use.” Sessions on governance were also popular since more than half of the conference participants were hospital trustees.
Although the weather in Phoenix was unseasonably cold, the high temps for the day were actually record-setting it was that cold for Phoenix, it beat the extreme cold and blizzard-like weather elsewhere. Check out the ice on the fountain in the courtyard of the hotel… icicles should not be in the desert! One of the largest winter storms in history disrupted travel home for many of the participants, and a few even got an extra day or two in the desert.
Despite the chilly temperatures, the speakers and the conference were a great educational opportunity. We headed home with new information and ideas to meet the challenges ahead for our mission to healthcare for rural communities.
If you are a rural healthcare trustee, administrator, physician, or vendor and have not yet experienced this conference, I highly recommend it. The venue, sponsors, speakers, and interaction with others make this a worthwhile and great event. It would be fun to have over 500 next year. Save the dates, February 5-8, 2012, on your calendars and plan to join us!
Friday, February 18, 2011
Friday, February 4, 2011
Everyone is welcome to an open house this coming Monday, Feb. 7, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. to view our new Magnetic Resonance Imaging unit. Join us in the Tomasek Conference Center at GRMC. Staff will take guests on tours of the new MRI suite, answer questions, and provide information about this incredible diagnostic imaging equipment. Please come help us celebrate. More than 430 people donated $322,000 to help make this possible and that's pretty cool. Magic happens when a community makes an investment like this for the greater good. My thanks to all those who supported the effort to make this MRI available for GRMC patients.
As you might imagine, I have been watching the installation of our new 1.5 tesla magnet with great interest. This wonderful new piece of technology is already being used by our patients.
With the extreme winter weather we've had lately, it is especially wonderful to have the MRI inside. Patients have had to be taken outdoors in all kinds of weather to get to the mobile MRI unit and now, they can stay indoors.
A few weeks ago, our MRI technicians were learning the new equipment and needed a volunteer to work with. I've had an MRI on my back, so we had a previous scan to compare with from several years before. Not only was the scan itself a piece of cake, the difference between the images was impressive. Even to my untrained eyes, the difference was unbelievable.
It's great to have the magnet in the house!