MGMA19 | The Annual Conference


Why Attend

10/13 at 8:00 AM to 10/16/2019 at 12:00 PM

Welcome to The Fuse | The Annual Conference Blog

Light up your path to New Orleans with content curated from our 2019 session schedule, posing the big questions our speakers plan to answer this October, as well as conference news and updates.

September 19, 2019

In this episode, we’re joined by Cynthia Sharpe, Principal of Cultural Attractions and Research for the Thinkwell Group. Sharpe brings guest behavior, museum and education perspectives to her many projects, giving her unique insights on going beyond hospitality in healthcare and the lessons the industry can learn from experience design at theme parks and other attractions.

Don't quite have time to listen to the entire episode? No worries. We've compiled an assortment of highlights from Sharpe's interview for your convenience: 

  • (6:20) "Experience management looks at every touchpoint and every point on the path of a user's journey. And I use the word ‘user’ really carefully, because it's more than just the guest or the staffer. In the case of a museum, for instance, it's everybody who's involved in that space. And it's more than just the patient and the clinician in the case of a healthcare setting. It's the patient, it's the family or the caregivers, the community that surround them. It's the staff, and it's the clinician, and experience management looks at all of the places, processes and platforms that those people move through, and all of those touch points."
  • (10:44) “If we make the process less painful, patients are more compliant. They’re more likely to seek care. They’re more likely to follow up on clinician instructions. The research is really robust, that as patient experience improves, compliance improves, and then we see better outcomes. And ultimately, it’s not that we want to turn every hospital into a theme park — it’s that we want people to be healthier.”
  • (18:11) "We tend not to think in the healthcare setting about people engaging physically with information, with content. We speak it at them in the exam room, there are incredibly overwhelming posters with a ton of information and jargon on them in the exam room, but we don't necessarily think about spaces or materials in those rooms that allow people to basically chew through some pretty heavy stuff. And that's an ethos and a theory that we bring to it as well."
  • (30:02) "We’re not talking about putting rides in your waiting room. We're not talking about making everything filled with princesses and talking animals. Helping people understand that 75% of what you experience at a theme park or a museum, you never see the work that goes into it. You never see the planning that goes into ‘What do we do if things go wrong?’ In healthcare, things go wrong. Somebody has lab results that you weren't expecting, and the course that you thought they were going to go down takes a wildly divergent turn. The cancer patient blows a heart attack when they're in your office for their regular checkup. It happened to my dad. In theme parks, rides break. Lines get huge. People get angry. Hurricanes hit. Tornadoes hit. … Stuff goes wrong, and experience management considers not just the what's the optimal path when everything works right, but also the what are the likely paths of failure and how do you mitigate them? And that's a really hard concept sometimes to get across, that you can actually design for failure."

Here are some links and references related to this week’s show:
Along with co-presenter and former Insights guest Dr. Steven Merahn, Sharpe can be heard speaking at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference, Oct. 13-16 in New Orleans.

Did you miss early bird registration? Don’t worry, we have you covered! Use the code POD200 while registering and save $200. Visit for more info and to register.

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September 12, 2019 

The healthcare leadership toolbox at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference

Administrative leaders and executives in healthcare organizations require proven, practical tools for the issues their systems and clinics face — tools that deliver with immediate impact and a clear return on investment.

At MGMA19 | The Annual Conference, your role as a coach and leader in healthcare is a key focus, and access to top-notch educational sessions, expert speakers and peer learning will ignite your curiosity and prepare you to go back to your organization with a new toolbox to lead and inspire your team.

Register for the Annual Conference today so you can get actionable insights on:

  • Succeeding as an independent practice: Cameron Cox III, MHA, FACMPE, chief executive officer, MSOC Health, explores the role of market research and consumer-focused approaches in a preview of PRE104: Independent Practice Preconference, Sunday, Oct. 13.
  • Evaluating potential transactions: Michele Madison, JD, attorney at Law, Manning & Martin, LLP, and Mark Reiboldt, MBA, senior vice president, Coker Group, will outline deal killers, areas of improvement and other key considerations in D04: Transaction Due Diligence, on Monday, Oct. 14.
  • Building efficiency into your clinic space: Adrienne Lloyd, MHA, FACHE, chief administrative officer, Duke Eye Center, shows how to use Lean and Six Sigma methodologies to optimize clinical flow. She’lls dig deeper into the topic during PRE105: Surgical Process Improvements and Pathways for Succession, a preconference session Sunday, Oct. 13.
  • Building professional intimacy with patients: Steven Merahn, MD, FAAP, chief medical officer, Centria Healthcare, will explore how to broaden the concept of care in engaging patients to improve satisfaction survey scores in G10: Humanizing Healthcare, on Tuesday, Oct. 15.
  • Proving your worth with board certification: If you’re already an MGMA member, you may want to take the next step in showing your value as a leader with pursuing ACMPE certification. Learn how PRE103: ACMPE Bootcamp helps prepare you as an adult learner in obtaining the gold standard for medical practice executives.

Need more on the ROI of attending the Annual Conference? Let’s crunch the numbers.

Ready to start setting your session lineup? Register today to join us in New Orleans.

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September 5, 2019

MGMA19 Session Spotlight: Utilizing social determinants of health data to achieve value-based care success

According to the World Health Organization, “Social determinants of health are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work and age, and the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances are in turn shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.”

Although many providers recognize the need to address SDoHs to improve care delivery, health outcomes and transparency, it’s often difficult to determine where to start. That’s where Shaheed Koury, MD, MBA, FACEP, vice president for quality and clinical transformation, CHSPCS-Community Health Systems, Franklin, Tenn., and Stephen Stewart, partner, CareHarmony, Inc., Brentwood, Tenn., come in. 

As Stewart says, making use of SDoH data is not only good for patients, it’s also a sustainable business model. He notes that his organization works with many accountable care organizations (ACOs) and hospitals, and it’s vital for everyone from chief medical officers to chief financial officers to understand how to leverage SDoH data to achieve value-based care success.

“The biggest myth we’re trying to debunk is that the social side of healthcare is something that can’t be solved,” Stewart says. “Every doctor we talk to expresses the need for this; they just don’t think there’s anything you can do about it.”

Part of the answer lies in looking beyond healthcare as a means to help organizations thrive. “By getting community-based organizations involved, you can actually deploy interventions that improve both clinical and financial outcomes,” Stewart contends. For patients, this could potentially lead to fewer trips to the emergency department, cheaper medications, easier access to transportation, etc.

“Nowadays with CMS [the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] adding all of these additional care coordination programs and … trying to get providers into risk to try to teach them to be more like a payer, whether that’s an ACO or bundled payments — that’s what we’re trying to disprove,” Stewart says of his desire to explain how SDoH data can be used effectively in value-based care models.  

“Whether you are a small solo doctor or a very large, multi-billion-dollar health system, these programs are available to you and you can help your patients immediately and really connect that community,” Stewart insists.

Join Shaheed Koury and Stephen Stewart for their session, “Leveraging Social Determinants of Health Data for Value-based Care Success,” from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference.

Register Today

August 27, 2019

Steps to success for women leaders in healthcare: A conversation with Linda J. Carpenter 

Recent studies by the University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management and the Peterson Institute for International Economics demonstrate there is clear evidence of the importance of women’s leadership to organizational success. 

While organizations understand the impact of skilled leadership, they sometimes struggle to quickly develop leaders throughout the organization and often overlook recruiting and developing women in the process, according to Linda J. Carpenter, PhD, chief executive officer, Carpenter Smith Consulting, who recently spoke to MGMA senior editor Daniel Williams on the MGMA Insights podcast. 

As leader of a consulting firm out of Portland, Ore., “a major focus of our work has been in healthcare and in healthcare transformation,” Carpenter said, “creating greater engagement, helping physician leaders grow and really helping to create a different kind of conversation between the administrative side and the physician leader side.”

One of the key components in that work, as Carpenter sees it, is bringing more diversity to healthcare leaders. It’s also the topic of her upcoming session, “Success Strategies for Women: Three Steps to Increased Impact,” slated for Oct. 15 at MGMA19 | The Annual Conference in New Orleans.

“Diversity is critically important to good decision-making and great leadership. If you think about it, women are 50% of the population but often far underrepresented,” Carpenter said, who also noted the importance of intersecting diversity that brings in a range of voices from different racial, economic, geographic and education backgrounds, especially at the top of organizations.

“What we know in healthcare is that women make 80% of the buying decisions, and they are about 65% of the workforce in healthcare, but they're very underrepresented leadership,” Carpenter noted. “Only about 30% are in the C-suite; about 13% to 15% are CEOs. … If we don't start helping women step into leadership, even if they're not yet in the role of leader, we're not going to see women step into leadership roles.”

Building skills, breaking habits

Though Carpenter acknowledges the relatively low number of women in healthcare leadership, she does not attribute it solely to discrimination. Instead, a mix of factors contribute to the trend.

Among decision-makers, women “tend to be less exposed to finance and contracting, so oftentimes, they're overlooked because they don't have that piece of the pie,” Carpenter said, noting the imperative to expand skillsets for women into financial aspects of the business. 

Carpenter also credits the healthcare industry for having more women in leadership roles than in general corporate entities in other U.S. industries, though there remains an inertia that inhibits more women entering healthcare leadership.

“What I often find is that in healthcare, it's not that people articulate bias against women, it's simply that everybody has certain habits and patterns that often elevate the authority and expertise of men over the authority and expertise of women,” Carpenter said. “I oftentimes see individual leaders, women and men, who are really promoting women, diversity, different voices and different perspectives; however, I'm finding that not very many healthcare organizations … are doing a formal plan to elevate the voices of women in the workplace.” 

Steps for success

Along with Samantha Beatty, FACMPE, director of operations, Womens Healthcare Associates LLC, Carpenter’s session at Annual Conference will explore three steps for women in healthcare to “help them change the way they show up in their world,” either as a leader or just having a voice in work conversations.

“The first thing we tell people is that they need to pause … The pause is an opportunity to ask yourself whether what you are about to say or do is in alignment with your goals,” Carpenter said. “If your goals are to invite others to leadership, your goals may be to ask better questions and then to be quiet and listen.”

Carpenter points to a range of research on leadership that “successful leaders know and understand themselves, and they understand the people they're trying to lead.”

Beyond the pause, Carpenter recommends a time to reflect, in which a leader can understand team members’ internal experiences and work to mitigate any fears about a given issue the team is handling. Finally, Carpenter stresses the moment to act.

These steps can be impactful not because it leads to decisions being led by others, but because the leader using the steps is mindful of the situation. “We say that a leader’s job is to stop being reactive and start being responsive,” Carpenter said. “When you think about women, who are trying to overcome stereotypes and norms, they really need to do things that are responsive to the situation and in alignment with their goals, rather than reacting to the old messages.”

A moment of opportunity

Healthcare remains an evolving and challenging industry for anyone in a leadership role, and Carpenter says she’s heartened by the fact that the culture of organizations is evolving, too. “Increasingly, there's recognition that having women in leadership roles often equals an increase in profitability in an organization,” Carpenter said. “I think it's increasingly part of the strategic planning conversation about how to attract the best and the brightest and what you need in place to do that.”

Part of that cultural shift is recognizing that giving a stronger voice to women is not a zero-sum game.

“The conversation should be how do we elevate the voices of all of the people in this organization,” Carpenter said. “I think that leaders are sometimes cautious about saying that they need to elevate women's voices. Leaders don’t want to make the men in their organization feel less valued.” 

To that end, women leaders in healthcare often are uniquely talented to structure conversations “so that we are respectful and caring and responsive,” Carpenter said, to ensure there is not a backlash from anyone who feels like their voice or influence is diminished.

“We need 100% of the voices in the room,” Carpenter said. “People bring different skillsets, and it's bringing those together that's really going to let healthcare be what we need it to be going forward.”

Hear Linda J. Carpenter talk about the importance of women's leadership in healthcare starting at the 9:08 mark of this MGMA Insights podcast