SEP/EP Innovation Winners Share Solutions to Today’s Healthcare Challenges

lradick March 22, 2018
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As the professional society for healthcare leaders, ACHE is committed to helping executives address important challenges to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care.

Designed exclusively for healthcare executives, ACHE’s Senior Executive Program and Executive Program invite healthcare leaders to learn, share and grow together during three intensive sessions.

These invaluable professional development programs are facilitated by highly respected thought leaders and expert faculty through case-study discussions and interactive panel presentations. Each program also features multiple site visits to local industry organizations. Additionally, participants are asked to complete a thought-provoking improvement project to share and be evaluated by their peers during one of the three sessions. The top three winners are invited to present their innovations at ACHE’s Congress on Healthcare Leadership.

Here, three members of the 2017 class of ACHE’s Executive Program and Senior Executive Program will discuss the “home-grown” improvement projects they developed as a preview to the presentation they will deliver during Seminar 63X (1.5 credit hours): “ACHE Senior Executive Program/Executive Program Innovations.”

Rick A. Dodds, president, Soin Medical Center/Greene Memorial Hospital, Beavercreek, Ohio, and Luis Chanaga, vice president, finance and operations, Grandview Medical Center, Dayton, Ohio, participated in the 2017 Senior Executive Program. Sun C. Lee-Such, PharmD, FACHE, director, pharmacy, Franciscan Health Hammond (Ind.) Hospital, participated in the 2017 Executive Program. Chanaga participated in the Senior Executive Program as a 2017 Thomas C. Dolan Executive Diversity Program scholar.

The EDP is another program offered by ACHE that addresses the well-documented gap between diversity of the C-suite and the diversity of the communities being served by preparing mid- and senior-level careerists for advancement to the highest ranks of hospital, health systems and other healthcare organizations. EDP scholars receive full tuition to attend Congress as well as the Senior Executive Program or Executive Program, among other benefits.

ACHE: This session will explore “home-grown” improvement projects developed by members of the 2017 Class of ACHE’s Executive and Senior Executive Programs. How and why did you decide to tackle the particular challenge you’re addressing in your presentation?

Rick A. Dodds

DODDS: In my presentation, I’ll be sharing our journey on how we narrowed the focus on the patient experience. The patient experience is the core of our mission and our desire was to create an enhanced framework that drives elite patient outcomes while refreshing our team’s clarity on what matters most for our patients.

LEE-SUCH: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services implemented the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in 2012 that penalizes hospitals with excessively high 30-day readmission rates by reducing CMS payments. Studies have shown that disproportionate-share hospitals, which have higher proportions of uninsured and underinsured patients, are more likely to have 30-day readmission rates above the national average. Franciscan Health Hammond is a DSH hospital with one of the highest 30-day hospital readmission rates in the 14-hospital system and CMS has been assessing penalties yearly. The department leaders were tasked to establish programs to achieve a 30-day hospital readmission rate of less than 10 percent to reduce CMS penalties.

CHANAGA: Labor is for most hospitals a third or greater of the expenses, and one that speaks to the culture of stewardship and efficiency within an organization. When you are surrounded by innovative caring leaders who want to make the best use of knowledge and results, you easily want to be part of that journey. I wanted to share their story and provide some examples of how they created improvements and sustainability in productivity.

ACHE: What can attendees expect from your session? Are there key takeaways you’d like to share in advance?

DODDS: I’ll be sharing two hospitals’ journeys on implementing a framework that places patient experience as the most important operational focus, while discussing integrating into a sustainable structure to create a culture of patient experience excellence. Our team’s understanding of what’s most important and their involvement in developing solutions matters the most.

Sun C. Lee-Such, PharmD, FACHE

LEE-SUCH: To outline the elements of a comprehensive pharmacy transitions of care program to reduce 30-day hospital readmissions, and to explain lessons learned from our demonstration project.

CHANAGA: This session will share the story of a hospital team that was challenged, created opportunities for results and maintained the impact of the results. This journey is not about specific “home runs” but rather more about finding triggers within cultures that can fuel results.

ACHE: How do ACHE’s Executive Program and Senior Executive Program help healthcare leaders in achieving healthcare management and organizational excellence?

DODDS: The ACHE Executive Program and Senior Executive Program bring key learnings that are required to drive excellence in today’s healthcare environment. Learning from the best in the industry in pertinent subject matter drives great discussions and incredible networking opportunities. I’d highly recommend these programs to every senior healthcare leader.

LEE-SUCH: ACHE’s Executive Program and Senior Executive Program help healthcare leaders to apply the principles in healthcare management and organizational excellence and develop tools to deliver successful outcomes. Some of the principles applied are: Break down silos of each department, instill collaboration, align goals with key stakeholders and establish connection with the team members to gain their full support.

Luis Chanaga

CHANAGA: The Senior Executive Program allowed me to collaborate with amazing leaders in healthcare who face all too similar challenges while developing deeper connections with these leaders who genuinely want to make a difference. The speakers for this program also provided relevant topics and thought-provoking presentations. This entire program helped me to recognize areas that needed calibrating within our hospitals to adjust to opportunities and get us results.

To find out more and to apply for a scholarship to either the Senior Executive Program or Executive Program, please visit

Scholarships for the Senior Executive Program and Executive Program are supported by contributions to the Fund for Healthcare Leadership. Established in 2006 to bring innovation to the forefront of the healthcare management profession, the Fund now works to strengthen the field of healthcare leadership by providing scholarships to robust programs that inspire tomorrow’s leaders.

To learn more about the Fund for Healthcare Leadership, please visit

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