May 5-7, 2017 | San Diego, CA

Call for 2017 speakers!

Are you interested in impacting physicians and the health care community through engaging presentations, instructional design and thought-provoking content, with the ability to attain continuing medical education credits? Please send an email to with your name, topic, and link to video or sample of your presentation. 

2016 Conference Agenda

The 19th Annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy, held in 2016, continued its mission of providing the information and tools needed to succeed in today's rapidly changing health care environment. Attendees heard from experts and leaders of change, and attended a comprehensive slate of practice management seminars and workshops to position their practices for success. New to the 2016 Leadership Academy were dedicated conference tracks covering a variety of topics.

Thursday, May 12

5-7 PM
Grand Ballroom
Early Registration

Friday, May 13

7-8 AM
Grand Ballroom
Registration and Continental Breakfast
7 AM - 4 PM
Grand Ballroom
Exhibit Hall Open
Franciscan AB 1a. How to Recruit a Top-Tier Candidate in Today’s Health Care Environment*
Kathy Jordan, Founder and President, Jordan Search Consultants, and Regina Levison, Vice President, Client Development, Jordan Search Consultants
It’s no secret that as the economy recovers and more executive and health care positions are created or vacated, professionals are on the move. In fact, a recent U.S. labor data study revealed that health care jobs turn over at an annual rate of 28 percent, and the cost for replacing these health care professionals can be more than 20 percent of that person’s annual salary. In addition, a recent report released by the Association of Staff Physician Recruiters disclosed that 45 percent of searches are to replace a departing provider. Health care professionals can afford to be mobile; jobs are plentiful and organizations are competing for top talent.
Franciscan CD 1c. Speaker's Bureau and Media Training: Handling the Media
Jason Kinney, Principal, California Strategies, LLC
Whether you’re prepping for a primetime interview with CNN or presenting some of the current health care issues to your local Rotary club, there are tips and tricks to help ensure you get the right messages across for the audience you’re addressing. This session will guide you through some of the frequently asked questions on health care topics today and best techniques for answering them. General information along with interview role play make audience participation helpful to round out the training.
Imperial A 1e. Challenges for Women as Health Care Leaders
Susan F. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®
This program will discuss issues faced by women as they become leaders of their medical society, their hospital or their medical group. Strategies will be presented to overcome obstacles and stereotypes that limit women leaders’ effectiveness.
9:30-9:45 AM
Grand Ballroom
Break with Refreshments in Exhibit Hall
Imperial B 2a. Maximize the Potential of Your Practice Success*
Susan Childs, FACMPE, Founder, Evolution Healthcare Consulting
We must be confident that the most up-to-date care is offered on a continual basis with each patient encounter – most efficiently and with compassion. Your manager is in the vital position of steering your practice every day – and, as a result, is accountable for every level and nuance of patient care. We will approach issues that are challenging and necessary, such as how you can trust and verify your manager’s actions and accountability to the practice, staff members and patients. Presenting a united front, role definition and accountability are the foundation of your success. We will discuss all of these elements and offer tips that add momentum to an incredible approach and in fact heighten your standards of care. We will look at leadership roles and how you may be most effective in promoting staff initiative. This session will also cover time management tips that can help create some predictability within your day.
Franciscan AB 2b. Stem Cells and Their Impact on Health Care
Jan A. Nolta, Ph.D., Director, UC Davis School of Medicine Stem Cell Program, and Maria Millan, M.D., Senior Director of Medical Affairs and Strategic Centers, California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
The fields of stem cells, immunotherapy, gene therapy and regenerative medicine are poised to change the face of health care. Immunotherapy is giving terminal cancer patients a second chance at life; gene therapy can cure rare diseases; and living stem cells are beginning to be prescribed for certain indications. This changes the field of medicine, nursing and pharmacy, since the new generations of students will need to learn how to handle drugs that are not liquids or a powder in a vial, but rather are living biological medicines.
Franciscan CD 2c. Government Relations and Advocacy for Organizational Leaders*
Janus Norman, Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Political Operations, California Medical Association, and Donald Waters, Executive Director, Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association
Often described as balancing on a three-legged stool, county advocacy should be composed of three essential elements: local grassroots strategies, coordinated government relations activities with the California Medical Association, and local support of statewide CALPAC fundraising and candidate recruitment. This session is designed to provide you a broad overview and introduction to government relations and the significant role it plays in your organization’s growth and effectiveness.
Imperial A 2d. Communication Intelligence with Challenging Employee and Patient Encounters: Essential Keys to Leading Through Effective Communication
Judith C. Holder, Ph.D., Director, Duke Occupational Mental Health Programs
Understanding the finer nuances of communication and what triggers snafus in communication with employees and patients is paramount to increased employee and patient satisfaction and in handling conflicts, miscommunications and suboptimal behaviors. This experiential workshop focuses on providing essential “skill” tips for effectively communicating through understanding your interpersonal style, hidden triggers, affective plasticity and the social neuroscience of communication.
11-11:30 AM
Grand Ballroom
Break with Refreshments in Exhibit Hall
Grand Ballroom The State and Future of American Health Care
Karl Rove, Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, and Donna Brazile, Al Gore campaign manager and Democratic National Committee Vice Chair
Karl Rove, an iconic political strategist and one of the most sought-after political pundits of our time, is best known for his provocative and robust knowledge of the major political issues of the day. Veteran Democratic political strategist Donna Brazile is an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist, television political commentator, Vice Chair of Voter Registration and Participation at the Democratic National Committee, and former interim DNC National Chair as well as the former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute. Join them for commentary on the state of health care in today’s United States.
12:30-2 PM
Grand Ballroom
Roaming Lunch Inside Exhibit Hall
2-3 PM
Yosemite B
VIP LIMITED SESSION: "Up Close and Personal" with Karl Rove*
Academy VIP Upgrade registrants meet, ask questions and exchange ideas with keynote speaker Karl Rove. Attendance limited to VIP Upgrade badge holders.
Franciscan CD 3a. Yes, You Can Start a New Practice*
Debra Phairas, President, Practice & Liability Consultants, LLC
It is possible to start a new practice, either from training or leaving a foundation, hospital, single or multi-specialty group. Learn from an experienced practice management consultant who has assisted physicians in starting over 160 new practices, with an average of 8-10 per year in all specialties. Learn to assess demand for your specialty in your target area. Discover how long it takes for insurance credentialing from HMOs, PPOs and IPAs. Choose a location with the right amount of space for your specialty. Discuss the pros and cons of staff leasing or being the employer. Learn why operational policies and procedures are needed, including the must-knows about key financials and accounts receivable. Should you do your own billing or outsource the work? Hear about ways to set accounting controls to avoid embezzlement, as well as personnel and human resources essentials to running your own practice. Learn about defining your brand, marketing your practice and website creation.
Franciscan AB 3b. Telehealth: Trends and Recent Developments
Daniel Kurywchak, Chief Technology Officer, California Telehealth Network, and Jennifer Hone, M.D., FACE, Telemedicine Clinical Consultant, California Telehealth Network
Join experts in the field of telehealth, information technology, legal and credentialing for a discussion on hot topics in telehealth – and leave with strategies to tackle issues common to many telehealth programs today. This session will address themes such as incorporating telehealth technology with electronic health records, security, privacy practices, leveraging technology for new models of care, licensure, practicing across state lines, credentialing and more. Administrators, clinicians, IT specialists and operation managers are encouraged to attend.
Imperial A 3c. Counting the Money: Essential Business Fundamentals for Organizational Leaders*
Lance R. Lewis, MBA, Chief Operating Officer, California Medical Association
Every board member of a nonprofit organization is charged by law with minimum responsibilities of financial oversight for that organization. This workshop is designed to provide board members with the ability to understand the basic financial documents that they will encounter – and to know what types of reports and information to request from staff. This workshop will cover fiduciary roles and responsibilities, reading and interpreting financial statements, internal controls, audit reports, and how to analyze your organization’s fiscal health. Several handouts and unique resources will be shared with attendees to provide greater insight and understanding of nonprofit accounting and best practices for board members.
Plaza A 3d. How to Avoid Physician Burnout
Ruth Haskins, M.D., President-Elect, California Medical Association
Burnout is a long-term stress reaction characterized by depersonalization, including cynical or negative attitudes toward patients, emotional exhaustion, a feeling of decreased personal achievement and a lack of empathy for patients. By measuring and responding to burnout you will be able to reduce sources of stress, intervene with programs and policies that support professional wellbeing, and prevent burnout.
Imperial B 3e. Physicians – Your Active Leadership Has Never Been More Valued!
Susan Childs, FACMPE, Founder, Evolution Healthcare Consulting
Between the reduction of provider availability and the massive influx of new patient, it's true – a good doctor really is hard to find! Ironically, patient satisfaction is increasingly significant as millions of new patients self-select a physician. How does your patient really view the visit? As a physician leader, you will be setting new standards of care. How can we make the most of the potential offered in transposing challenging times into improved standards of health? We will look at how to affirm your voice and position among your peers, and within the community and other organizations in your area. Serving double duty, these same actions can assist you in educating your patients to make their own independent health care decisions.
3:30-4 PM
Grand Ballroom
Break with Refreshments in Exhibit Hall
Grand Ballroom Health Care, Remixed
ZDoggMD (Zubin Damania, M.D.)
Dr. Damania will delve into the ethical challenges of delivering compassionate health care in our flawed health care system, while proposing collaborative ways to revitalize it. He will examine, through humor and storytelling, the hope that the future of medicine is a bright one – provided that all of us work together for the common goal.
5-7 PM
Grand Ballroom
Leadership Academy Welcome Reception in Exhibit Hall

Saturday, May 14

7:30-9:15 AM
Yosemite Ballroom
Registration and Networking Breakfast
Franciscan AB 4a. What's Culture Got to Do With It?
Kathy Jordan, Founder and President, Jordan Search Consultants, and Regina Levison, Vice President, Client Development, Jordan Search Consultants
Because cultural fit is paramount to both landing and retaining the best candidates, assessing cultural integration and aptitude during the recruitment process is a requirement. However, to do this effectively, you must have a comprehensive understanding of your organization’s culture. After all, to know if a candidate will fit in with the culture that drives your organization, you must first be cognizant of it. Learn 10 ways to better identify and define the culture that exists at your organization.
Imperial B 4b. Will Physicians Be Seen as Mere Technicians? How Can Patients Remain Engaged as Others Share the Role?
Susan Childs, FACMPE, Founder, Evolution Healthcare Consulting
Paradoxically, in the age of endless compliance requirements, many patients still do not expect continuity of care on any level. In comparing instant clinics, self-reporting wearables, virtual interviewers and nurses' increasing scope of care, how will future patients view the significance of the actual physician? Will they be numbed down to “take a number” health care, or will they ask for more? How do we pair patients who are seeking the most expert care and want to be avidly engaged in their health with the physician who wants to reflect the true worth of the care offered? A provider who used to come to your home can now care for you via a screen. We must continue to reflect the specific and unique worth that only a physician can offer! This session offers real-life examples of how patients can actually affirm the physician’s substance and value, while helping you meet the requirements and criteria of our value-based world.
Franciscan CD 4c. The Art of Planning and Running a Board Meeting*
William C. Parrish, Executive Director/CEO, Monterey County Medical Society and Santa Clara County Medical Association, and Tanya Spirtos, M.D., OB/GYN, Trustee, California Medical Association
Understanding the art of how to properly plan and conduct a meeting is a key part of running an effective board. Developing the ability to clearly frame an issue that the board is asked to consider, ensuring that all points of view on an issue are efficiently heard, and fostering the expression of the will of the majority of the group at the end of the deliberations is the true sign of successful planning and execution. A basic understanding of parliamentary procedure will be shared in this session, along with helpful resources.
Plaza A 4d. How to Avoid Physician Burnout
Ruth Haskins, M.D., President-Elect, California Medical Association
Burnout is a long-term stress reaction characterized by depersonalization, including cynical or negative attitudes toward patients, emotional exhaustion, a feeling of decreased personal achievement and a lack of empathy for patients. By measuring and responding to burnout you will be able to reduce sources of stress, intervene with programs and policies that support professional wellbeing, and prevent burnout.
Imperial A 4e. Working Across Generations: Mentoring, Coaching and Sponsoring
Susan F. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®
Generational differences between Baby Boomers, Gen Xers and Millenials will be discussed in this session. The session will also present ways to involve all generations in organizational development through mentoring, coaching and sponsorship.
10:45-11:15 AM
Franciscan/Imperial Foyers
Break with Refreshments
Franciscan CD 5a. Merging Practices – Strategies to Remain Independent*
Debra Phairas, President, Practice & Liability Consultants, LLC, and Frank Gamma, Founding Partner, Kessenick, Gamma & Free, LLP
In this new era of health care, consolidating practices can result in economies of scale, reduction of overhead, increased power in contracting, increased net income, and the ability to recruit new partners and retire partners. But as in a marriage, good communication and shared values are key to compatibility and long-term success. This workshop covers practical strategies to manage a successful merger. Topics will include defining partner mission, goals, philosophy, impediments and “sacred cows”; income distribution or expense share formulas to reduce potential for conflict; buy-in and buy-out formulas – tangible assets, accounts receivable and “good will” (included or not?); structuring vesting in the event of an external group purchase; decisions on death, disability, slowing down and governance; and staff restructuring, team building, operations changes and economies of scale principles.
Plaza B 5b. It’s About Life and Death: Systematic Approaches to Advance Care Planning
Karl Steinberg, M.D., CMD, HMDC, Chair, Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, and Lael Duncan, M.D., Medical Director of Consulting Services, Coalition for Compassionate Care of California
Advance care planning (ACP) is recommended for all adults over 18, but many people never do it, leaving their families to make decisions in a time of crisis. Medicare now reimburses for ACP discussions, including completion of important documents like Advance Health Care Directives and POLST forms. This session will discuss nuances of ACP, from simple execution of a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care all the way to requests for physician aid-in-dying, which becomes legal in California on June 9, 2016, under the End-of-Life Option Act. Discussion of strategies to incorporate ACP discussions and documentation into your organization will help attendees chart a path to ensure their patients receive the medical treatment they want to receive, and avoid receiving treatments they do not.
Imperial B 5c. Developing a Strategic Membership Recruitment and Retention Plan*
James Peterson, CEO/Executive Director, Orange County Medical Association, and Mike Steenburgh, Vice President, Membership, Communications and Component Relations, California Medical Association
For a society that is reliant on member dues revenue for sustainability, a successful membership plan is critical and must have significant support from staff and physician leadership. In this fast-paced session, we will explore a number of successful strategies used by many of our fastest growing component societies over the past few years. Strategies will be shared for recruiting various segments of membership, including solo/independent physicians, strategies for medium and larger groups, and specific ideas for niche membership segments such as ethnic physicians, medical students and residents. Bring your county membership staff member or executive director and leave with some fresh ideas on membership recruitment and retention that can be implemented immediately.
Franciscan AB 5d. EHR: Do These Systems Help or Hurt Quality Improvement and Patient Safety?
David Ginsberg, Co-Founder and President, PrivaPlan Associates, Inc.
Recent Medicare payment reform legislation also establishes new requirements for quality reporting and use of electronic health records (EHR). After a decade of EHR adoption, there are many lessons for physicians that reiterate the need for “people and processes” – rather than just technology – to support patient engagement and safety. This session reviews the lessons we have learned and frames future systems' role in patient safety, such as wearable diagnostic devices and monitoring.
Imperial A 5e. Success Factors for Physician Leaders
Susan F. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®
This session provides an overview of the major changes in the health care industry and why there is an increasing need for physician leadership. It gives an outline of the core competencies physician leaders now need and presents key tips for how physicians can become more successful leaders.
1-2:30 PM
Yosemite Ballroom
Will MACRA and its Alternative Payment Models Really Bring Greater Value?
Robert D. Doherty, Senior Vice President of Governmental Affairs and Public Policy, American College of Physicians
Franciscan CD 6a. Closing a Medical Practice*
Debra Phairas, President, Practice & Liability Consultants, LLC, and Frank Gamma, Founding Partner, Kessenick, Gamma & Free, LLP
This session will cover some of the major practical and legal issues that may arise when closing a medical practice, and will assist physicians who are retiring or otherwise leaving their practices. Issues that will be addressed include legal and ethical duties to patients when retiring, requirements for disposal of controlled substances, medical records retention/ownership, notifying patients and more.
Franciscan AB 6b. Key Technology Risks Every Physician Should Know
David Ginsberg, Co-Founder and President, PrivaPlan Associates, Inc.
Is your practice vulnerable to cybercrime or ransomware? Would you pass a HIPAA audit? This session reviews key technology risks that affect California physician practices and provides a realistic view on HIPAA compliance. New compliance issues such as meaningful use audits will also be reviewed.
Plaza B 6c. Organizational Strategic Planning and Visioning*
Gustavo Friederichsen, CEO, Los Angeles County Medical Association
Understanding key metrics of your organization is the first step to developing a strategic plan. This session is designed to share with leaders a variety of resources and methods to ascertain the health of the organization by measuring these key metrics. Some of the metrics discussed will include membership growth, composition and trends; financial health; developments in organizational relationships with other organizations; programmatic, committee activities; and membership feedback through surveys, individual correspondence, readership of organization publications or traffic on the website. Several sample strategic plans will be shared as well to provide attendees an overview of what other component societies have done and how they maintain these plans.
Plaza A 6d. Palliative Care Challenges in California: Managing Pain Safely
Robert L. Moore, M.D., MPH, Chief Medical Officer, Partnership HealthPlan of California
Physician leaders have played a key role in Partnership HealthPlan of California’s Managing Pain Safely initiative, leading to a greater than 50 percent drop in opioid use among the Medi-Cal population of 14 Northern California counties. Learn about the interventions used, the challenges faced and the role of physician leadership in successfully addressing this important public health issue.
Imperial A 6e. Conflict Resolution: Dealing with Difficult People
Susan F. Reynolds, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®
This program begins by defining disruptive behavior and looking at its causes. It then discusses how coaching can be effective in some cases, emphasizing the importance of finding and fixing the trigger of the undesired behavior. The program also presents strategies for dealing with difficult personality types.
4-4:30 PM
Grand Ballroom Foyer
Break with Refreshments
Grand Ballroom "Being Mortal" with Dr. Atul Gawande*
Atul Gawande, M.D., MPH, surgeon, writer and public health researcher
Dr. Gawande is a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship winner, a New Yorker columnist and an author – but, most of all, he is a physician, with a practitioner’s grasp of the everyday challenges of health care delivery. Dr. Gawande explains that medical practice and philosophy have not kept pace with the changes in health care over the last hundred years. We need reform – and he is on a lifelong search to discover what shape that reform should take. What does an effective health care system look like in the 21st century? How can we improve quality, manage risk and measure performance more effectively? Dr. Gawande brings an eloquence and an intellect to these questions that allow him to offer deeply considered and beautifully expressed solutions with implications for health care and beyond.
5:30-6:30 PM
Yosemite B
VIP LIMITED SESSION: "Up Close and Personal" with Dr. Atul Gawande
Academy VIP Upgrade registrants meet, ask questions and exchange ideas with keynote speaker Dr. Gawande. Attendance limited to VIP Upgrade badge holders.

Sunday, May 15

8-9 AM
Grand Ballroom Foyer
Registration and Networking Breakfast
Grand Ballroom A Morning with Bennet Omalu, M.D.
Bennet Omalu, M.D., physician, forensic pathologist and neuropathologist
As the biggest disrupter in the history of sports and medicine, Dr. Omalu and his work have revolutionized the scientific and medical study of sports worldwide. Dr. Omalu will share the challenges he faced taking on the NFL and other top sports and medical organizations on his mission to ensure that the truth about chronic brain damage is known. He will also tell the story of how he single-handedly changed American football and sports around the world, and how he changed the way we perceive brain injuries.
10-10:30 AM
Grand Ballroom Foyer
Break with Refreshments
10:30 - 11:30 AM GENERAL SESSION 5
Grand Ballroom Finding a Path to Value: Medicare and MACRA
Ashby Wolfe, M.D., MPP, MPH, Region 9 Chief Medical Officer, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Big changes are coming to Medicare in the form of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). This major health system transformation is part of an effort by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to shift from volume to value-based payments – as well as to emphasize continuous quality improvement and patient safety. Learn all about the new physician-focused alternative payment models, as well as the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and find out more about the Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) – and how all of these tie into providing quality and safe health care to millions.
11:30 AM Academy Adjourns

 * Presentation not eligible for CME credit