Education event

27th Annual Rural Health Care Symposium
Mobilize for Change

February 28 – March 1, 2012
Hyatt Regency, Sacramento


Change isn’t coming, it’s here. Are you ready to mobilize your organization for change?

This year’s annual event will help rural executives learn how to develop the partnerships and collaborative strategies needed to make health care reform a reality. Interactive sessions will inspire and motivate you to view yourself, your staff and organization differently. 

The symposium opens with keynote Dale Ainsworth, PhD, who will help rural leaders identify their strengths and assess their “collaborative competence” to meet the challenges of reform. Sessions on improving rural connectivity, changes to reimbursement including Medicaid supplemental payment programs, and the annual CEO panel discussion are planned. Plus, a special two-part working session on developing partnerships will help rural leaders identify program assets and voids, and cultivate partners to create new care delivery systems.

Come prepared to listen, learn and return home with information and skills to put into practice immediately. Make plans now to attend.


Day One: Tuesday, February 28

8:00 am – 5:00 pm   Symposium Check-In/Registration

3:00 – 5:00 pm
Rural Healthcare Center Advisory Board Meeting

The Rural Healthcare Center’s leadership conducts its first quarterly meeting of 2012. All symposium attendees are welcome to attend.

5:00 – 6:30 pm   Welcome Reception
Gather together and visit with colleagues at this informal event.

Day Two: Wednesday, February 29

8:00 – 9:00 am   Symposium Check In/Registration

9:00 – 9:15 am  Welcome and Introductions
David R. Green, Chair, Rural Healthcare Center Advisory Board and Chief Executive Officer, El Centro Regional Medical Center; and Peggy Broussard Wheeler, Vice President, Rural Health Care and Governance, California Hospital Association

9:15 – 10:45 am   Keynote Session
What’s Your Collaborative Intelligence?

Dale Ainsworth, PhD, Managing Partner, Valley Vision
Are you open to change, able to hear others’ ideas, willing to collaborate and compromise? How you view yourself will greatly influence your chances of a successful reform transition. Learn how to assess and refine your “collaborative competence” to lead your team and operations through the next generation of patient care delivery.

11:00 am – 12:00 pm   Keynote Session
CMS’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

Teresa Titus-Howard, Deputy Group Director, Learning and Diffusion Group, Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, CMS
Learn about the recently created CMMI and find out about new opportunities for rural hospitals. CMMI is looking for innovative programs that improve quality of care, provide better outcomes and lower costs. Find out about grant funding available for rural hospitals that can demonstrate programs offering innovative solutions to health care delivery models. 

12:00– 1:15 pm   Hosted Luncheon
Safe Patient Handling Update

Gail Blanchard-Saiger, Vice President, Labor and Employment, California Hospital Association

California Cancer Research Act
Don Perata, Former State Senator, 9th District, President Pro Tempore

1:15 – 2:15 pm   General Session
The Vanishing Community Hospital — An Endangered Institution

Craig B. Garner, President, Garner Health, LLC
You know the challenges facing rural health care—reform, declining reimbursement, outmigration in rural markets, and meaningful use. This session will take a look at the past and present practice of rural health care and offer insights on federal and state reimbursement programs designed to promote collaboration in patient care.

2:15 – 3:15 pm   General Session
The Financial Landscape — What’s Ahead for Rurals

Lee D. Kemper, Executive Director, County Medical Services Program; and Matt Absher, Vice President, Finance, California Hospital Association
Learn about the Low Income Health Program (LIHP) which will expand coverage to 34 rural counties and understand the LIHP requirements, projected enrollment and impact on providers. Also, hear an update on Medicaid supplemental payment programs and find out what to expect from federal payment reimbursement reforms such as bundled payment and value-based purchasing. 

3:30 – 5:00 pm   General Session
Partnering for Success — Part 1: Laying the Groundwork

Geoff Kaufmann, FACHE, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Mid-America Blood Services Division, American Red Cross
You don’t have to go it alone. Creative partnering may be the key to implementing the spirit of reform in rural communities. In the first of two working sessions, attendees will hear why it’s vital to create an environment of cooperation and trust between rural providers. Learn why rural health care survival may hinge on the sharing of knowledge and services.  

5:00 – 6:30 pm   Exhibitor Fair and Reception
Meet with rural industry vendors displaying the latest products and services while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Day Three: Thursday, March 1

7:30 – 8:30 am   Breakfast Sessions (choose one)
Rural Health Clinic Update
Gail Nickerson, Director of Clinic Services, Adventist Health and founder of the California Association of Rural Health Clinics
Rural health clinic providers will network with their peers, hear an update on federal activities and discuss the California Association of Rural Health Clinics’ recent activities and plans for the coming year.

California Critical Access Hospital Network (CCAHN) Update
Raymond Hino, Chair, CCAHN Advisory Board and Chief Executive Officer, Mendocino Coast District Hospital; and Carolyn Bruce, Interim Chief Executive Officer, CCAHN and Chief Executive Officer, Western Healthcare Alliance
Critical access hospital members are encouraged to attend and hear an update of the Critical Access Hospital Flex Grant program and activities for the 2011 – 2012 grant years. 

8:30 – 10:00 am   General Session
Annual CEO Panel Discussion

Moderator, Steven Rousso, MBA, MPA, Principal, HFS Consultants and Rural Chief Executive Officers: Lionel Chadwick, Hi-Desert Medical Center; Siri Nelson, Sutter Lakeside Hospital; and Robert A. Schapper, Tahoe Forest Hospital District
CEOs will share insights on their successful model programs, board relationships, and the realities of implementing shared savings delivery models. A candid discussion on the value of relationship building, collaboration and partnering will be included. Bring your questions for this interactive session.

10:15 – 11:15 am   
Building Connections

Speranza Avram, MPA, Executive Director, California Health Information Partnership & Services Organization; and Eric Brown, President and Chief Executive Officer, California Telehealth Network
Telehealth services provide better access to care, improve outcomes and help hospitals treat patients that might otherwise be forced to seek specialty care at distant hospitals. Being connected also increases the ability to improve care through the sharing of real-time information between practitioners. This session will provide information on the benefits of connectivity and offer resources to help you launch or improve your programs. 

11:15 am – 12:15 pm   General Session
Partnering for Success — Part 2: Action!

Geoff Kaufmann, FACHE, Regional Chief Executive Officer, Mid-America Blood Services Division, American Red Cross
Roll up your sleeves and prepare to work. In this second working session, attendees will group to identify and facilitate an exchange of services, share information, and explore potential partnerships. How to integrate new services into your market and develop plans for accountability will also be discussed. 


Register by February 13, 2012 and save

Members $425
Nonmembers $550
Registrations received after February 13, 2012, add $100.

Continuing Education

Full attendance at the educational session is a prerequisite for receiving professional continuing education credit. Attendees must sign in at the seminar and, when required, include their professional license number. Certificates of attendance will be e-mailed.

Health Care Executives — CHA is authorized to award 9.75 hours of pre-approved ACHE Qualified Education credit for this program toward advancement, recertification, or reappointment in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Nursing — Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CEP 11924, for 11.7 contact hours.

Cancellation Policy

A $75 non-refundable processing fee will be retained for each cancellation received in writing by February 21. No refunds will be made after this date. Substitutions are encouraged. Cancellation and substitutions notificatons may be faxed to (916) 552-7506 or emailed to

Americans with Disabilities Act

If you require special accommodations pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act contact the CHA Education Department at  (916) 552-7637.


Host hotel discounts no longer available — additional accommodations nearby at discount rate

The Hyatt Regency Sacramento is the host hotel and site of this year’s event. While  discounted rooms are no longer available at the Hyatt, nearby Holiday Inn Sacramento–Capitol Plaza is offering rooms at a discounted rate of $179, single and double occupancy. For reservations call (916) 446-0100 and mention the “California Hospital Association.” Don’t delay; reservation deadline is February 17, 2012 and room availability is limited.

Click here to reserve a room online at the Holiday Inn. Enter group code: AHA to receive the discounted room rate. 

Hyatt Regency Sacramento — Host Hotel and Site of this Year’s Event
1209 L Street
Sacramento, CA 95814

Holiday Inn Sacramento, Capitol Plaza — Overflow Accommodations
300 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95814


Do you have a product or service of interest to rural hospitals? This annual conference is an opportunity to reach California rural hospital executives all in one place. There are many ways to participate. Choose your level.

Click here for more information.

Contact Lisa Sbragia Hartzell at (916) 552-7502 or


2012 Platinum Sponsors:


2012 Gold Sponsors:

2012 Silver Sponsors:


2012 Bronze Sponsors:


2012 Exhibitors to Date Include:

Access Hardware Supply


ANOVA Nexus Architects

Apex Technology Management, Inc.


Ascendian Healthcare Consulting

AvKARE, Inc.

Californians Allied for Patient Protection

California Association of Nurse  Anesthetists

California Health Information Partnership and Services Organizations  (CalHIPSO)

California Hospital Association Political Action Committee (CHPAC)

California Rural eHealth Information Network (CAReHIN)

Cerner Corporation

Construction Management Corporation

Ethos Healthcare


First Financial Healthcare Solutions

Goldfish Medical Staffing

HealthTech Solutions Group


HFS Consultants

Hudson Healthcare

INNERFACE Architectural Signage, Inc.

JKL Construction Services, Inc.

Layton Construction Co., Inc.

Lincoln Financial Advisors

Matsom & Isom

Medication Review

Meridian Medical Solutions

Modular Services Company

Pacific Companies

Polycom, Inc.

Prognosis Health Information Systems

Quorum Health Resources (QHR)

Rash Curtis & Associates

Rural Physicians Group

Siemens Healthcare

Technology Integration Group

Tes Air, Inc. featuring utiliVisor

Valley Emergency Physicians

West-Com & T.V., Inc.

Wipfli, LLP