top of page

Q4 Newsletter, December 11, 2020

By nature and necessity, healthcare CEOs spend much of our time thinking strategically about the overall health and well-being of our organizations. We make yearlong, five- and even 10-year plans. But as healthcare leaders across the United States and globally have faced the tremendous challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have all had to pivot. Today, CEOs are leading day-to-day, sometimes hour-by-hour, amid great uncertainty.

Here are lessons learned during this evolving experience.

Think Colleague, Not “Competitor”

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, our organization has actively collaborated with and learned from other health systems in our state, region and beyond. Being located some distance from the New York metro area, we did not receive the same sudden influx of COVID-19 patients as our colleagues in the northern part of the state. This gave us time to adopt social distancing and other safety measures that likely prevented our hospitals from becoming overwhelmed.

Though we are “competitors,” the health system leaders in our area view each other as colleagues, and that sentiment carried over into this crisis. A regional health coordinator, appointed by the governor of New Jersey, helped to coordinate obtaining equipment and making plans for patient surges, helping to ensure we had enough available critical care beds.

Especially during a challenge like this pandemic, it is beneficial for CEOs to take a step back, look at the big picture and determine how—collectively as health systems—we can respond to our community’s needs.

Focus on Communication

Communication has always been one of the most important skills for CEOs, especially in times of uncertainty. I often refer to the three M’s of communication: (1) Leaders should establish themselves as credible messengers whom people trust; (2) they should ensure their message is rooted in truth and best practice, with data to support it; and finally (3) leaders should communicate the messaging in a way that is authentic and easily understood. These attributes are not only important when leading staff but also when interacting with the community.

My organization employed numerous communications vehicles during this crisis. For months, a daily news briefing went to all staff, which often included videos from senior clinical staff members providing important updates on topics such as changes to treatment protocols.

We also created a new variation of our CEO podcast. Over several weeks, I had one-on-one conversations with employees from across the organization—from clinical staff to support teams to call advisers—about their experiences on the front lines.

These discussions, called “Hope in Action,” were recorded and distributed—allowing the wider community to meet some of the front-line heroes helping to navigate this health crisis.

Be Visible and Present

During a crisis, it is so important for our front-line workers and the entire organization to know that senior leaders are in this with them. I still do rounds in our EDs and ICUs, and I make sure to listen more than I speak.

Visiting with staff during rounding has helped me better understand the resources and support staff need. It also inspires me. The most common thing I hear from staff members is the pride they feel knowing that their time and talent makes a major difference.

During one podcast episode, an environmental services colleague from one of our EDs talked about how the pandemic has made him realize just how essential his role is to infection control.

Hearing from the health system’s heroes like him has helped lift my spirits and motivated me.

Plan for What’s Ahead

We must look to the future and make plans that account for both current and future threats.

Many people are practicing medical distancing, putting off needed treatment due to fear of interacting with healthcare facilities. In the months ahead, this could result in influxes of more—and sicker—patients as we attempt to return to a “new normal.”

In addition, members of our community face daily challenges, such as food insecurity, lack of transportation and behavioral health issues, many of which have been heightened by the events of 2020.

When we eventually return to whatever new normal awaits, we are still going to be the force that’s needed to help this community heal and prosper.

--Adapted from “Hope in Action,” Healthcare Executive, by Dennis W. Pullin, FACHE, president/CEO, Virtua Health, Marlton, N.J.

The Unexpected Side Effect of COVID-19: Collaboration

With the arrival of COVID-19 came chaos. And from that chaos rose innovations that have transformed healthcare delivery. Yet, according to healthcare executives, during the interim between the arrival of the pandemic and the innovations that followed, a remarkable phenomenon occurred: unprecedented collaboration.

Walls between siloed departments within hospitals tumbled down. Representatives from competing hospitals met to share information. Community organizations and public health departments exchanged data with health systems. Physicians, whose offices had closed, shared their personal protective equipment with colleagues on the front-line of the battle.

Innovation executives participated in roundtable discussions during the virtual HealthLeaders Innovation Exchange this summer to share experiences and ideas with other hospital and health system colleagues. Top of FormBottom of FormOne of the themes to emerge from that discussion was the value of collaboration in the innovation process and the many forms it has taken.

Read more about thee five ways collaboration has helped change the healthcare landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the advantages this type of cooperation provides to the industry.

--Adapted from “The Unexpected Side Effect of COVID-19: Collaboration,” HealthLeaders Media


Save the Date: Virtual Congress

We’re excited to announce our first-ever virtual Congress on Healthcare Leadership, March 21–25, 2021, and invite you to save the date as we count down to a stellar education and networking opportunity.

FACHE® Membership Tenure Requirement Change As a reminder, the Board of Governors made the decision to change the membership tenure requirement for initial Fellow advancement from three years to one year effective Jan. 1, 2021. We remain confident the change will make Fellow status possible for more of our Members who meet the requirements and wish to advance to this important leadership level. Keep in mind that while the membership tenure requirement was adjusted, the other requirements for Members to obtain the FACHE credential remain the same. If you have any questions about the FACHE requirements, the deadline extensions or the process in general, please reach out to our Customer Service Center at or (312) 424-9400, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central time.

Complimentary Career Resource Center Webinar Series

The career landscape continues to evolve, creating new expectations and requiring enhanced expertise while navigating the potential opportunities ahead. ACHE’s Career Resource Center hosted a webinar series designed to support members covering such topics as “The NEW Networking Model”, “Building Confidence and Defining Your Executive Presence”, and exploring “The Role of an Executive Coach” in your ongoing career and leadership development pursuits. To view these webinars, please visit

ACHE Nominating Committee Slate

The ACHE Nominating Committee has agreed on a slate to be presented to the Council of Regents at the Council of Regents meeting in March. All nominees have been notified and have agreed to serve if elected. All terms begin at the close of the Council meeting. The 2021 slate is as follows: Nominating Committee Member, District 2 (two-year term ending in 2023) Jhaymee Tynan, FACHE Assistant Vice President, Integration Atrium Health Charlotte, N.C.

Nominating Committee Member, District 3 (two-year term ending in 2023) John M. Snyder, FACHE President Sanford Health Plan Sioux Falls, S.D.

Nominating Committee Member, District 6 (two-year term ending in 2023) Lt Col Stephanie S. Ku, FACHE U.S. Air Force

Governor (three-year term ending in 2024) Carolyn P. Caldwell, FACHE CEO Dignity Health-St. Mary Medical Center Long Beach, Calif.

Governor (three-year term ending in 2024) Karen F. Clements, RN, FACHE CNO Dartmouth Hitchcock Lebanon, N.H.

Governor (three-year term ending in 2024) Michael O. Ugwueke, DHA, FACHE President/CEO Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare Memphis, Tenn.

Governor (three-year term ending in 2024) COL Brett H. Venable, FACHE U.S. Army

Chairman-Elect Anthony A. Armada, FACHE President/CEO

AHMC Seton Medical Center and AHMC Seton Medical Center Coastside Daly City, Calif.

Additional nominations for members of the Nominating Committee may be made from the floor at the annual Council of Regents meeting.

Additional nominations for the offices of Chairman-Elect and Governor may be made in the following manner: Any Fellow may be nominated by written petition of at least 15 members of the Council of Regents. Petitions must be received in the ACHE headquarters office (American College of Healthcare Executives, 300 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1900, Chicago, IL 60606-6698) at least 60 days prior to the annual meeting of the Council of Regents. Regents shall be notified in writing of nominations at least 30 days prior to the annual meeting of the Council of Regents.

ACHE Call for Nominations for the 2022 Slate ACHE’s 2021–2022 Nominating Committee is calling for applications for service beginning in 2022. ACHE Fellows are eligible for any of the Governor and Chairman-Elect vacancies and are eligible for the Nominating Committee vacancies within their districts. Those interested in pursuing applications should review the candidate guidelines for the competencies and qualifications required for these important roles. Open positions on the slate include:

  • Nominating Committee Member, District 1 (two-year term ending in 2024)

  • Nominating Committee Member, District 4 (two-year term ending in 2024)

  • Nominating Committee Member, District 5 (two-year term ending in 2024)

  • Four Governors (three-year terms ending in 2025)

  • Chairman-Elect

Please refer to the following district designations for the open positions:

  • District 1: Canada, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

  • District 4: Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas

  • District 5: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

Candidates for Chairman-Elect and Governor should submit an application to serve that includes a copy of their resume and up to 10 letters of support. For details, please review the Candidate Guidelines, including guidance from the Board of Governors to the Nominating Committee regarding the personal competencies of Chairman-Elect and Governor candidates and the composition of the Board of Governors. Candidates for the Nominating Committee should only submit a letter of self-nomination and a copy of their resume. Applications to serve and self-nominations must be submitted electronically to and must be received by July 15. All correspondence should be addressed to Heather J. Rohan, FACHE, chairman, Nominating Committee, c/o Julie Nolan, American College of Healthcare Executives, 300 S. Riverside Plaza, Ste. 1900, Chicago, IL 60606-6698. The first meeting of ACHE’s 2021–2022 Nominating Committee will be held in spring 2021.

Following the July 15 submission deadline, the committee will meet to determine which candidates for Chairman-Elect and Governor will be interviewed. All candidates will be notified in writing of the committee’s decision by Sept. 30, and candidates for Chairman-Elect and Governor will be interviewed in person on Oct. 28. To review the Candidate Guidelines, visit If you have any questions, please contact Julie Nolan at (312) 424-9367 or

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety

ACHE joined members of the National Steering Committee for Patient Safety to author Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety to provide health systems with renewed momentum and clearer direction for eliminating preventable medical harm.

Safer Together: A National Action Plan to Advance Patient Safety draws from evidence-based practices, widely known and effective interventions, exemplar case studies and newer innovations. The plan is the work of 27 influential federal agencies, safety organizations and experts, and patient and family advocates, first brought together in 2018 by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

The knowledge and recommendations in the National Action Plan center on four foundational areas deliberately chosen because of their widespread impact on safety across the continuum of care:

1. Culture, Leadership, and Governance: The imperative for leaders, governance bodies and policymakers to demonstrate and foster deeply held professional commitments to safety as a core value and promote the development of cultures of safety.

2. Patient and Family Engagement: The spread of authentic patient and family engagement; the practice of co-designing and co-producing care with patients, families and care partners to ensure their meaningful partnership in all aspects of care design, delivery and operations.

3. Workforce Safety: The commitment to the safety and fortification of the healthcare workforce as a necessary precondition to advancing patient safety; the need to work toward a unified, total system perspective and approach to eliminate harm to both patients and the workforce.

4. Learning System: The establishment of networked and continuous learning; forging learning systems within and across healthcare organizations at the local, regional and national levels to encourage widespread sharing, learning and improvement.

For ACHE resources on advancing patient safety, visit There you will find

Leading a Culture of Safety: A Blueprint for Success, which gives CEOs and senior leaders a tool to both assess and advance their organization’s culture of safety.

36 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page