A group of eight hospital superintendents begins laying the groundwork for the Association of Hospital Superintendents.
On Sept. 12-13, 1899, Chairman James Knowles calls to order the first meeting of the Association of Hospital Superintendents in Cleveland. The AHS meets to exchange ideas and compare methods of management. Members discuss hospital economics, inspection of hospitals and better plans for operating them.
The first course for nurse superintendents is held at Columbia University.
The AHS amends its constitution to allow active and honorary personal memberships.
At the AHS' 1906 convention, its 234 members adopt a new constitution and bylaws. The group changes its name to the American Hospital Association of the United States and Canada. The convention includes a commercial exhibit of hospital furnishings and supplies, which draws disapproval from some members.
Associate personal memberships are created.
At its 18th annual convention in Philadelphia, the association holds another commercial exhibit, which then becomes a permanent part of its conventions. It also forms a five-member board of trustees, establishes a bureau of hospital information and authorizes a full-time executive secretary, a title later changed to president.
Members at the convention vote to locate the association's permanent headquarters in Chicago. The AHA previously had offices in Cleveland and Washington.
Institutional AHA membership is adopted, with 98 hospitals joining the first year. Personal membership at the time totaled 1,250.
At its 22nd annual convention in Montreal, Canada, the AHA accepts the Ohio Hospital Association as its first affiliated state hospital association. The OHA begins to collect dues.
The AHA headquarters gets a permanent address at 22 E. Ontario St. in Chicago. The association establishes the Hospital Library and Reference Bureau at its new Chicago home.
The AHA incorporates under Illinois law.
At the 23rd convention, the membership committee reports 358 institutional members and 1,327 personal members.
At the 1925 convention, the rapidly growing association votes to purchase its own building in Chicago. The association pays $125,000 for a building at 18 E. Division St., where it takes up residence in June 1926.
The AHA adopts its official seal designed by William Walsh, M.D., who served as executive secretary of the association in 1917-18 and 1925-27.
The Bulletin of the American Hospital Association, the precursor to Hospitals magazine, is created.
The quarterly bulletin switches to monthly publication.
A Baylor University administrator comes up with the idea of health insurance when he enrolls a group of Dallas public school teachers in a local hospitalization plan.
The American College of Hospital Administrators forms. It later is renamed the American College of Healthcare Executives.
The AHA board of trustees votes
to encourage the health insurance movement, and in 1934 it formally endorses the group hospitalization plan.
The AHA establishes its Award of Merit to recognize noteworthy service in hospital administration. The first recipient is Matthew Foley, editor of Hospital Management magazine. Foley received the award for proposing the concept of Hospital Week, a four-page weekly bulletin of hospital industry news that was the precursor to AHA News.
The University of Chicago establishes the first master's program in hospital administration.
Hospitals magazine publishes its first issue in January, replacing the Bulletin as the AHA's official journal.
The AHA creates the Commission on Hospital Service, which later leads to the creation of the Blue Cross Commission of the American Hospital Association.
The AHA authorizes associate membership for not-for-profit health insurance companies meeting membership standards.
The AHA, which now has 2,025 institutional members and 2,400 personal members, drafts a new constitution and bylaws at its annual convention in Dallas.
The constitution and bylaws:
Create the House of Delegates as
a representative body to vote
on official association business. Before, all members had voted on AHA policies.
Approve 40 Blue Cross plans as associate members.
Create six councils to broaden membership representation.
Increase to 13 from five the members of the board of trustees and incorporate rotating terms for board members.
Establish four types of institutional memberships and five classifications for personal members.
Significantly increase institutional dues. The original dues structure, established in 1918, was based on number of beds; it is revised to depend on days of patient service.
The Blue Cross Commission is founded.
The AHA formally dedicates its Asa S. Bacon Library in Chicago. Bacon (shown above), absent a one-year stint as AHA president in 1923, served as AHA treasurer for 33 years starting in 1906.
The AHA opens the Wartime Service Bureau at 1705 K St. N.W. in Washington. The offices later become the Washington Service Bureau.
Dues are tripled at the Buffalo, N.Y., convention in September to increase staffing and expand services to members.
The House of Delegates approves a resolution that calls for federal aid to construct new hospitals and provide healthcare for people who cannot afford it. It gets foundation support to create the Commission on Hospital Care, which gathers data needed to support the federal aid program for hospital construction.
The AHA sponsors the Educational Trust to encourage and engage in professional education and scientific research to improve hospital services.
The first American Hospital Directory (AHA Guide) is published.
The AHA supports the Hospital Survey and Construction Act of 1946, known as the Hill-Burton Act. The act authorizes federal grants to pay part of construction costs for not-for-profit hospitals and related health facilities. This comes in response to a lapse in construction after the Depression and World War II. Former AHA President George Bugbee, along with Sens. Lister Hill (D-Ala.), Robert Taft (R-Ohio) and Harold Burton (R-Ohio), play a key role in the act's passage.1951
The Commission on Financing of Hospital Services is created. It recommends new approaches to financing care for the low-income elderly.
The accreditation of hospitals, started by the American College of Surgeons in 1918, is transferred to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals. The Joint Commission initially is sponsored by the American College of Physicians, the ACS, the AHA, the American Medical Association and the Canadian Medical Association.
Membership dues are increased to finance a new headquarters building in Chicago with an estimated price tag of $5 million.
The Ford Foundation uses the AHA's statistics on hospital plant, utilization, finances and personnel to choose recipients for $200 million in grants. Chosen are 3,200 not-for-profit, nongovernmental hospitals, which can use the grants to improve or expand existing services. The grants are designed to help hospitals achieve Joint Commission accreditation.
The AHA changes the name of the Educational Trust to the Hospital Research and Educational Trust. The trust now has a staff of 11 full-time employees. Since its 1944 inception, it has received more than $4 million in research funding.
The 1954 dues increase is not enough to meet rising construction costs, so the AHA nixes its plans for a 17-story headquarters building. The House of Delegates approves another dues increase to fund the construction of a 12-story complex at 840 N. Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. The new headquarters costs more than $8 million to build.
The federal government passes the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Nine regional boards are created with full-time staffs and directors. The boards serve as the AHA's grass-roots policymaking mechanism.
The House of Delegates holds its annual meeting in Washington for the first time in hopes of meeting with lawmakers.
The AHA proposes to Congress a national health plan called "Ameriplan," under which a national system of chartered healthcare corporations would manage and distribute healthcare services on a regional basis.
Sister Irene Kraus (shown here), the founding president and CEO*of Daughters of Charity National Health System, becomes the first woman to chair the AHA board.
The AHA supports changing payment incentives for healthcare providers. Congress passes a Medicare prospective payment system in 1983 and implements it in 1984. Under PPS, Medicare patients are classified into "diagnosis-related groups" for which prices are negotiated or imposed on hospitals in advance.
The AHA urges community-based integrated delivery of service through community-care networks.
After years of growth, the AHA, under President Richard Davidson, launches a major downsizing and refocusing. Davidson begins to eliminate fee-for-service activities, converting the AHA into a primarily dues-supported organization. Many key functions are shifted to the Washington office.
The downsizing and refocusing efforts are manifested in the AHA's move out of its Lake Shore Drive headquarters (shown above) into a newly leased office space at 1 N. Franklin St. (shown at right) in Chicago's downtown financial district. It occupies eight of the 36 floors of the new building. The space is about half the size of its former headquarters.
In Washington, the AHA moves out of its 50 F St. N.W. location, which it has occupied since 1985. Its new space at 325 7th St. N.W. is nearly double the size.
The AHA's board of trustees adopts new association vision and mission statements that eliminate the word "hospital" from its stated purpose. The move opens the door for the AHA's objective to eventually represent integrated delivery systems as well as hospitals.
The board of trustees also passes a bylaws change that exempts the House of Delegates from meeting physically once a year. The change permits delegates to link electronically, via teleconference, phone or fax.
The association considers closing the Asa S. Bacon Library and replacing it with a new health services library.
It closes its nine regional offices and renames the Chicago office the Center for Health Care Leadership and the Washington office the Center for Public Affairs.
Dues revenues drop for the first time, coinciding with the hospital merger and acquisition boom that started in the mid-1990s.
Davidson moves the president's office to Washington from Chicago.
After nearly a century of meetings, the last AHA annual summer convention and trade show is held
in Philadelphia. The association cites declining attendance, executives' changing educational needs, the growth of specialty trade shows and the AHA's desire to get out of the convention business.
The AHA launches Healthcare InfoSource, a for-profit subsidiary to sell healthcare data and information to its hospital members and others. The subsidiary is the association's third, joining AHA Services, which operates its other for-profit businesses, including its publishing company, and the American Organization of Nurse Executives, a not-for-profit group.
In a historic move, the board of trustees adopts a plan to allow integrated delivery systems with at least one licensed hospital to become AHA members. The change is effective in 1999.
Sources: the AHA, David Drake (former
AHA secretary and historian), Hospitals, MODERN HEALTHCARE