April 11-13, 2014 | San Diego Convention Center

Conference Agenda

The 17th Annual Western Health Care Leadership Academy continues its mission of providing information and tools needed to succeed in today's rapidly changing health care environment. Hear from the experts and leaders of change, and attend a comprehensive slate of practice management seminars and workshops to position your practice for success. 

See below for detailed agenda.

Thursday, April 10


10 am - 4 pm

Preconference Workshop


Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification

Owen J. Dahl, FACHE, CHBC, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group

Building on the baseline training provided at the 2013 Leadership Academy, this seminar continues the presentation of Lean and Six Sigma management approaches to the business and clinical sides of medical practice. Working with case studies and in small groups, participants in this session will improve their ability to communicate Lean Six Sigma concepts; indentify improvement projects within their medical practices and relate practice goals to Lean Six Sigma concepts; develop or refine a project charter; gain understanding of root causes of issues and key tools for improvement in the medical practice environment; and more. Presented by California Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), this program requires separate registration and fee. Click here for more information.


3 – 6

Earlybird Registration


6 – 7

VIP Reception (by invitation only)


Open to VIP upgrade registrants, invited physician leaders and Academy corporate partners.


Friday, April 11


7 am – 4 pm

Exhibit Hall Open


7 – 8

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8 – 10

General Session 1


Strange Bedfellows: The Changing Dynamics of the Health Care Marketplace

Presentations, panel, audience Q&A

The vertical integration of health care delivery continues apace as providers and payors seek to thrive – or simply survive – in an era of evolving health care financing and delivery models emphasizing quality and cost accountability. Consolidation of the health care marketplace is giving rise to strange bedfellows as onetime adversaries align to meet the challenges of the marketplace, raising concerns about the future of independent medical practice and patient-centered decision making.


10 – 10:30

Break with Refreshments


10:30 – 11:30

General Session 2


Keynote Address

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

Live via satellite teleconference, remarks by the former Secretary of State, former U.S. Senator, former U.S. First Lady and the Chair of the President’s Task Force on National Health Care Reform during the 1990s.


Noon – 1:30 pm

Luncheon with Presentation


The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care

T. R. Reid, Correspondent and Reporter, NPR and PBS

Wondering how other free-market industrialized democracies provide high quality health care for all while spending far less on health care than the United States, T. R. Reid circled the globe (twice) to find the answer.  His reporting led to the national best-seller The Healing of America and two documentaries for PBS Frontline.  He found that it's not all "socialized medicine" out there and that many countries provide universal coverage through private doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies.  In this presentation, Reid will discuss how these nations cover everyone and the underlying moral commitment he believes the U.S. has been unwilling to make.


1:30 – 4

Refreshments in Exhibit Hall


1:45 – 5



1:45 – 2:45

1a. Leading Change

Susan Reynolds, MD, PHD, President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

This session will provide an overview of new leadership challenges and opportunities in the era of health reform and new roles for physician leaders in organizational systems and structures that are emerging. Strategies for leading change and motivating physicians within an organization to embrace change also will be presented.


1:45 – 2:45

1b. Relationship Building Blocks in the New Era of Health Care

Owen J. Dahl, FACHE, CHBC, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group

In today’s rapidly changing and hectic health care environment, often there is little time to talk to people – to stop and share, to feel and demonstrate empathy for patients. This session, for managers and physicians, discusses a model that can be applied in daily operations to develop and maintain relationships that foster trust, mutual commitment and compliance with the objectives that form the basis of these relationships.


1:45 – 2:45

1c. Taking the Risk Out of E/M Coding and Documentation

Nancy M. Enos, FACMPE, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, CPC, Independent Consultant, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group

A high level of error in medical practice Evaluation and Management (E/M) coding has resulted in widespread audits by Medicare carriers. This session will help attendees minimize the risk of an audit and takeback by ensuring that documentation supports the level of service billed and that only the medically reasonable and necessary services at the time of the patient encounter as documented are considered when selecting the appropriate level of an E/M service.


1:45 – 2:45

1d. Getting Heard: Caring for Patients Beyond the Exam Room*

The Honorable Brian Maienschein, California Assemblymember; Dustin Corcoran, CEO, California Medical Association

As the landscape of medical practice undergoes rapid transformation in the era of health reform, individuals and organizations untrained in medicine are using the political process to make sweeping changes that will profoundly affect the lives of patients and the practice of medicine for years to come. To preserve the science of medicine, physicians must be heard not only inside the exam room, but inside the state house as well. In this session, a sitting legislator and a seasoned advocate will discuss how physicians can use their collective voice to positively influence state political, legislative and regulatory outcomes. 


2 – 3:30

2a. Conflict Resolution/Dealing with Disruptive Behavior 

Leonard Randolph, Jr., MD, CPE, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Caduceus; Faculty Member, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

As the health care industry undergoes rapid and often tumultuous change, key skills necessary for physician leaders include resolving interpersonal conflicts and dealing with disruptive behavior in institutional and organizational settings. This session will present conflict resolution strategies and teach skills necessary to modify unwanted behavior. Use of physician "compacts" as a tool will be discussed.


2 – 3:30

2b. Women Physicians Leadership Forum

More than one third of practicing physicians in the U.S. are women, a proportion set to increase as more physicians in training, half of whom now are women, enter practice. Women physicians are significantly underrepresented, however, in the leadership ranks of health care organizations, including leadership roles within organized medicine. In this session, a panel of women physicians who are among the relatively few to serve in higher leadership positions will identify the challenges and obstacles women physicians encounter in aspiring to leadership roles and discuss ways these barriers might be surmounted. Invited panelists include the first (and to date only) woman president of the AMA, one of two women (and the only in the past half century) who have served as CMA president, the first woman chief executive officer of MGMA, and others.


2 – 3:30

2c. Secret Service Revealed: Customer Service Tips From an "Undercover" Mystery Patient

Meryl D. Luallin, Partner, SullivanLuallinGroup, Inc.

Patient satisfaction surveys may provide good data, but they don’t always tell the complete story about a patient’s experience. A 20+ year "mystery" patient who has seen it all – from a physician reaching out to shake hands while wearing rubber gloves, to a staff member refusing to return the unused portion of her cash deposit – will describe pits and peaks in the lives of patients and present service strategies and tips from high-scoring medical practices to help make a patient’s experience not only satisfactory, but good and even great.


3:15 – 4:45

3a. Effective Communication for Physician Leaders

Susan Reynolds, MD, PHD, President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

Successful physician leaders must be skilled and effective communicators, whether speaking to a large audience, such as a hospital’s medical staff, or engaging one-on-one to coach a colleague. Skills and techniques learned in this workshop will help physicians provide more impactful presentations to groups large and small and more effectively impress, persuade and motivate their peers.


3:15 – 4:45

3b. Countdown to the ICD-10 Transition

Nancy M. Enos, FACMPE, CPMA, CPC-I, CEMC, CPC, Independent Consultant, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group

This session will present an overview of the differences between ICD-9 and ICD-10, discuss how ICD-10 will affect workflow and processes in every department of a health care organization, and provide training strategies and examples, comparing ICD-9 to ICD-10 to demonstrate the impact of the change in documentation requirements. Attendees will understand the impact the ICD-10 transition will have on their practices, learn how physician documentation requirements will change, and learn how to plan training for each department.


3:15 – 4:15

3c. Effective Laboratory Utilization: The Imperative within New Health Care Models*

John Daly, MD, Chief Medical Officer, COLA Inc.

A recent study from Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center found that 30 percent of all clinical laboratory tests are overused or medically unnecessary. As cost control and quality of care become imperatives in evolving health care delivery models that increasingly base provider reimbursement on the value of care delivered, physicians need to understand not only “Why am I ordering this test?” but more importantly “What is the test going to tell me about my patient?” In this session, the chief medical officer of a laboratory accreditation body will discuss tools laboratories are introducing to assist clinicians in determining the appropriateness of ordering laboratory studies that inform a high percentage of treatment decisions in modern medicine.


4 – 5

4a. Improving Quality and Patient Safety in Your Organization

Michael Appel, MD, Patient Safety Officer, Northeast Georgia Health System; Faculty Member, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

In this session, an anesthesiologist who left medicine to work as a Delta Connection airline pilot and later returned to medical practice will present lessons learned from the aviation industry about quality improvement and risk reduction. These insights will help medical practice and health care organization leaders develop strategies and programs to improve quality and patient safety.


4 – 5

4b. Staff Engagement Made Easy: 21+ Strategies for Improving Patient Experience and Staff Satisfaction

Meryl D. Luallin, Partner, SullivanLuallinGroup, Inc

Practices scoring high in MGMA patient satisfaction surveys have staff members who do more than show up and collect a paycheck. Top practices have employees who are proud of their organization and are enthusiastically engaged in their work. Achieving extraordinary service quality isn’t difficult; it simply takes the right approach. This session will present more than 21 practical and proven no-cost or low-cost strategies used by practices nationwide for improving both patient experience and employee satisfaction.


4 – 5

4c. Hot Topics in Employment Law

Jonathan F. Light, JD, Partner, LightGabler LLP

This session will cover the most recent heartburn-inducing topics affecting health care employers including meal and rest break changes, avoiding discrimination when terminating employees, misclassification of employees as exempt from overtime, new disability leave regulations, new EEOC "green rules" on hiring, background checking rules, and the latest legal decisions affecting your workplace. Dozens of topics will be addressed in a fast-paced presentation with Q&A.


5:30 – 7

Leadership Academy Gala Reception


Saturday, April 12


7 – 10:30 am

Exhibit Hall Open


7 – 8 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast


8 – 11:30 pm



8 – 9:30

5a. Collaboration and Teamwork in the Health Care Environment

Susan Reynolds, MD, PHD, President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

Payment reform and market consolidation occurring in the health care industry make the ability to work collaboratively with others as a team more important than ever. This experiential session will teach teambuilding skills to help physicians be more collaborative in their approach and interaction with other providers and administrators in a variety of health care settings, increasing the arsenal of tools needed to succeed as a leader in the new environment.


8 – 9:30

5b. Meaningful Use: Understanding the Phases, Regulations and Audits

Nancy R. Babbitt, FACMPE, Practice Management Consultant

Whether just beginning with the EHR Incentive Programs or moving on to Stage 2, knowledge of the latest regulations will help ensure successful receipt – and retention – of incentive payments. This session will review the latest requirements for CMS Stage 2 meaningful use and discuss changes and differences from Stage 1. Lessons learned about the changes and challenges of the new regulations will be presented, along with best practices to help avoid or survive meaningful use audits.


8 – 9:30

5c. Practice Options: Self-Employment v. Group Affiliation? Strategies for the Future

Debra Phairas, MBA, President, Practice & Liability Consultants, LLC

Is solo or small group practice viable for the future? Is the concierge model right for a practice? Should a practice merge with others, and will a merger reduce expenses and increase net income, help maintain independence, and increase contracting clout? Will merging position a group for future acquisition? Should a practice join a foundation, affiliate with a university, or become part of a hospital outpatient clinic? What impact would these changes have on a physician’s autonomy? In this workshop, a consultant experienced in advising physicians on critical practice transitions will address these and other questions that physician practices face in an era of health care delivery integration and marketplace consolidation.


8:15 – 9:30

6a. Working with Diversity: Dealing with Gender, Ethnic and Generational Differences

Leonard Randolph, Jr., MD, CPE, Chief Executive Officer, Phoenix Caduceus; Faculty Member, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

Whether within health care or society at large, we live and work in an environment of increasing demographic diversity. This session will present strategies for working with diverse individuals and groups including those of different ethnicity, gender, and/or generation. Common stereotypes and differences in training, cultural values and language will be discussed and strategies to overcome differences will be presented.


8:15 – 9:15

6b. MGMA Legislative Update

Jennifer McLaughlin, MGMA Government Affairs Representative

This update will provide timely information on the status of pertinent health care issues under consideration by Congress and federal regulatory agencies. Recent legislative and regulatory developments affecting medical groups will be covered and attendees will gain a deeper understanding of their impact on the day-to-day activities of medical group practices. Resources available to further clarify federal initiatives will be discussed.


8:15 – 9:15

6c. How Is Your Practice Doing? Transitioning Your Dashboard to a Scoreboard

Irv Barnett, MBA, Senior Manager, Health Care Industry Group, Moss Adams LLP; Amy Germann, MBA, FACMPE, Manager, Health Care Consulting, Moss Adams LLP

This session will help physicians and managers transition their "dashboard" – a toolset developed to provide relevant and timely information needed to inform daily decisions – to a "scoreboard," turning data into an actionable management tool to improve overall patient care team performance and identify the metrics that can drive success. Applicable to practices of all sizes, a scoreboard will simplify at-a-glance review of key performance indicators, improving the ability to monitor practice health.


9:45 – 10:45

7a. EHRs: Risk Management and Customer Service – A Winning Proposition

Nancy R. Babbitt, FACMPE, Practice Management Consultant

As more practices adopt electronic health record systems, the focus on successful implementation for maximum impact on risk management and customer service is becoming the defining difference in best practices. This session will show how medical practices have used EHRs to enhance risk management opportunities and capitalize on customer service, and how to evaluate the common options, functionality and appropriate workflow decisions needed to make sure their practice’s' EHR systems positively impact these areas.


9:45 – 10:45

7b. Medical Practice Valuation

Jon Hultman, DPM, MBA, CVA, Senior Consultant, Integrated Physicians Systems (a division of Vitera Healthcare Solutions) and Executive Director, California Podiatric Medical Association

Accurate medical practice valuation is essential in buy-sell agreements – when associates buy into a practice to become a partner, when an owner is bought out upon retirement, and when practices merge. Medical practice valuation is not an exact science, but has become more scientific and objective over the years. This workshop will teach the principles needed to understand the accurate value of a medical practice before agreements involving ownership changes are entered into.


10 – 10:45

7c. Managing Meetings Large and Small

Susan Reynolds, MD, PHD, President and CEO, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

Running meetings effectively is a key skill all physician leaders need to master. This session will provide techniques and tips for meeting management, as well as "job" or position descriptions for the committee chair, committee members, and staff person(s), which will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of meetings of any size in most any setting.


10 – 11:30

8a. Surviving Covered California: What Physicians Need to Know

Jodi Black, Senior Director, CMA Center for Economic Services; Brett Johnson, JD, MPH, MS, Associate Director, CMA Center for Medical and Regulatory Policy

California’s health benefit exchange, Covered California, is open for business and as of February 1 had enrolled more than 728,000 individuals in exchange plans, a number expected to climb significantly before the end of the first open enrollment period. In this session, CMA staff experts will provide an overview of the exchange, the nuts and bolts of exchange participation, and the CMA resources available to assist medical practices. Topics will include how plans built provider networks, how to check participation status with plans, steps to take if physicians disagree with their indicated status, developments related to the grace period, and other key exchange-related considerations for both physicians and patients.


10 – 11:30

8b. Financial Skills – The Physician’s Impact on the Bottom Line

Irwin L. Hurn, MBA, Faculty Member, The Institute for Medical Leadership®

Physicians have significant impact on the bottom line of their organizations, whether hospital, medical group or other setting. This session will present basic financial skills that will help physician leaders better understand key financial information and the role they play in assuring that their organization is financially sound.


10 – 11:30

8c. Health Reform and Group Practice: Health Insurance Panel

In this interactive session, a panel of health insurance executives will discuss health system reform and its impact on medical group practices.  Audience participation will be encouraged in an informal Q&A format.


Noon – 1:30 pm

Luncheon with Presentation


Accelerating Connected Care

Geno Germano, Group President, Global Innovative Pharma Business, Pfizer Inc.

In this presentation, a top executive of the world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company will discuss how the Affordable Care Act opened the door for digitally connecting health care professionals and how, by integrating data sources and strengthening connection to patients directly, patients can be helped to more effectively manage their health. Insights gained also will inform how new medicines are developed.


2 – 4:30

General Session 3


Creating Value in Health Care: Physician Payment Reform

Presentations, panel, audience Q&A

After years of last-minute, short-term, band-aid fixes to the badly broken Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system controlling Medicare spending on physician services, Congress is poised to finally repeal the SGR and put in place new methodologies that incentivize quality outcomes and cost effectiveness in the delivery of services. Key players in the long and difficult effort to reform Medicare physician payment have been invited to provide an overview of progress made and of new care delivery and reimbursement models either under consideration or already being implemented.


5 – 6

Academy Cocktail Reception


Sunday, April 13


8 – 9 am

Registration and Continental Breakfast


9 – 11:30

General Session 4


State Health Benefit Exchanges: Promise and Prospects

Presentations, panel, audience Q&A

This session will address the roll-out of Covered California and whether state health benefit exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act will or can live up to the promise of enabling broad access to affordable health care coverage through a system supported by adequate and viable networks of willing providers.



Academy Adjourns