State hospital associations are revamping their missions to adapt to the rapidly changing business of healthcare delivery.
Association officials shared transition strategies at a recent meeting of East Coast-based hospital associations in Philadelphia. It was the second meeting of the group, informally known as the Northeast Hospital Association Roundtable. Leaders of 12 hospital associations from Maine to Virginia and two representatives from the American Hospital Association attended the gathering.
This year's roundtable was intended for association leaders "to be able to sit down and say, `What can we do to survive?'*" said Beth Van Hoeven, vice president of policy development at the New Jersey Hospital Association, which organized the two-day event.
"The thing that was most beneficial was to see how everyone is doing it differently," said Gary Carter, the NJHA's president.
The lineup of speakers included John Rivers, president and chief executive officer of the Arizona Hospital Association, who detailed a restructuring plan approved by the association's board in March.
The plan revamps the association's mission statement to include hospitals and healthcare systems and their role in improving community health. It also modifies the membership, dues and governance structure. And beginning July 1, 1995, the association will take the name Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.
Mr. Rivers told roundtable participants his group is lobbying to rewrite licensure requirements that pose barriers to integrated system development.
Another featured speaker, Steven Summer, president of the West Virginia Hospital Association, said the WVHA, under a transition plan called Focus 2000, seeks to improve the state's economy and people's health status through partnerships with public and private organizations statewide.
Being one of the strongest segments of the state economy, the healthcare community is positioned to facilitate change, he said.
As an example, the 62-member WVHA lent its support for a $300 million bond referendum to fund road, water system and sewer improvements. The measure was approved 51% to 49%.
Currently, more than 25,000 West Virginians lack access to running water, Mr. Summer said. "That's part of our responsibility to improving the health status of the community."
For its part, the NJHA recently amended its bylaws to be able to represent healthcare systems. Work is under way to develop a new dues structure for those systems. It's also studying ways to increase member advocacy and representation in the state and in Washington.
The Hospital Association of Pennsylvania also is examining transition strategies. But the association declined to disclose its plans until they are formally presented to the organization's board of directors.