Under the slogan "Coverage, Quality, Trust," the American Hospital Association kicks off its annual meeting later this week in Washington.
The meeting, which runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 2, is the chance for a throng of healthcare leaders to descend on Washington to discuss issues and press the AHA's agenda on Capitol Hill.
About 2,300 people are expected to attend the meeting at the Hilton Washington and Towers. About the same number attended last year's convention when the AHA celebrated its centennial.
The Chicago-based AHA, the country's largest hospital trade association, represents about 4,700 institutional members.
The theatrical highlight of any AHA meeting is the annual investiture ceremony when a new chairman of the AHA's 25-member board of trustees is crowned.
That new board chairman will be Fred Brown, 58, former president and chief executive officer of the St. Louis-based BJC Health System. He is now the system's vice chairman and a member of its board of directors. The investiture ceremony is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., Jan. 31, about two hours before the Super Bowl.
Brown replaces outgoing AHA Chairman John King, president and CEO of Portland, Ore.-based Legacy Health System.
Also at the ceremony, Carolyn Lewis will take over as chairwoman-elect of the AHA board. Lewis is the first hospital trustee and African-American to hold the coveted post.
Lewis, who heads her own consulting firm, is a trustee at the struggling Greater Southeast Healthcare System in the District of Columbia (Dec. 7, 1998, p. 24). Lewis will become chairwoman in 2000.
The AHA's meeting has drawn some of Washington's heavy hitters as speakers during its annual federal relations forum set for Feb. 1. The roster of speakers includes June Gibbs Brown, HHS' inspector general, and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, who last year issued enforcement guidelines for the federal False Claims Act.