Education event

Rural Health Care Symposium
Setting the Course — register now for the 30th annual Rural Health Care Symposium

Register now
February 18 – 20, 2015
Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach and Marina, Redondo Beach, CA


The seas are changing. For rural hospitals, change is coming swiftly. It’s going to take all hands on deck and a strong team to implement ACA while continuing to meet the needs of rural communities.

Your destination is in sight, but how will you lead your team there? This two-day executive-level program will provide you with innovative ideas, insights and tools to set your facility on a course to success. Topics for this year’s program include:

  • Considerations for alliance and collaboration — evaluating your services
  • Federal rural health policy — what to expect regarding value based purchasing and bundled payment initiative
  • Generating excellence — leadership role in transforming the culture of your organization
  • Challenging patients in the ED — management and transitions for vulnerable populations
  • Good governance — how trustees can help their hospitals prosper
  • And much more.

Who should attend?

Chief executive officers, administrators, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, nurse leaders and trustees of rural hospitals would all benefit.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

3:00 – 6:00 pm
Symposium Check-In/Registration

3:30 – 6:00 pm
Rural Health Care Center Advisory Board Meeting

The Rural Healthcare Center’s leadership conducts its first quarterly meeting of 2015. All symposium attendees are welcome to attend.

6:00 – 7:00 pm
Welcome Reception

Gather together and visit with colleagues at this informal event.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

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

9:00 – 9:15 am
Opening and Welcome

Jim Raggio, Chair, Rural Healthcare Center Advisory Board and Chief Executive Officer, Lompoc Valley Medical Center; and Peggy Broussard Wheeler, Vice President, Rural Health Care and Governance, California Hospital Association 

9:15 – 10:30 am | Keynote Session
Succeeding through Collaboration, Alliances and Networks

Rich McKeown, Chief Executive Officer, Leavitt Partners
Rural hospitals are encountering pressures — health reform, economic and political — that are driving rural providers to reshape business behaviors in response to this changing environment. Affiliation may be one potential solution. This session will describe the eight elements necessary to create successful alliances and explain how to find the right allies, and create a framework to lead and prosper.

10:45 am – 12:00 pm |  General Session
Health and Human Services Region IX Update 

Melissa Stafford Jones, Region IX Director, US Department of Health and Human Services 
Listen to the newly-appointed Region IX director provide an update on federal health care policy and share perspectives on the challenges facing rural hospitals. Bring your questions for this interactive session.

12:00 – 1:15 pm | Hosted Luncheon
Legislative and Regulatory Update 

William J. Emmerson, DDS, Senior Vice President, State Relations and Advocacy, California Hospital Association 
In this annual update, participants will hear about the political landscape and CHA’s state and federal advocacy priorities for 2015. Find out how CHA plans to protect rural hospitals’ interests.

1:30 – 3:00 pm | General Session
Federal Rural Health Policy — Advocacy in Action

Brock Slabach, MPH, FACHE, Senior Vice President, Member Services, National Rural Health Association
Big changes are on the national horizon for rural health care. This presentation will illustrate the current landscape for rural health and outline what to expect in coming years. Participants will learn how to prepare for value-based purchasing and bundled payments, and hear the latest on the CARE Act — pending legislation to improve rural health care and develop innovative delivery models.

3:30 – 4:30 pm | General Session
Creating an Organization of Excellence

Victor Buzachero, Corporate Senior Vice President for Innovation, Human Resources and Performance Management, Scripps Health
This session will explain how to unify your hospital’s perspective and practices to a single focus: to be the best hospital it can be. Hear a recognized leader in operational excellence explain the four crucial elements required for culture change — alignment, accountability, communications and leadership — and the steps to create a workplace of choice that exceeds patient and leadership expectations.

4:30 – 5:30 pm | General Session
Managing Challenging Patients in Your ED

M. Steven Lipton, Partner, Hooper Lundy and Bookman, PC; and Linda Garrett, JD, Risk Management Services
For a small ED, a challenging patient can stress the entire department. This session will describe the common issues an ED faces when treating patients with mental illness, substance use disorders and homelessness, and how to appropriately manage these patients throughout their stay. Presenters will clarify common misconceptions surrounding 5150s, EMTALA, consent for treatment and more. Participants will take home a checklist with practical tips for patient management.

5:30 – 6:30 pm

Relax with colleagues while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Friday, February 20, 2015

7:30 – 8:30 am | Continental Breakfast
Rural Health Care Clinic Association Update

Gail Nickerson, Director of Clinic Services, Adventist Health, and Founder of the California Association of Rural Health Clinics

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

Moderator, Steven Rousso, MBA, MPA, Principal, HFS Consultants; John McCormick, President/CEO, Oak Valley Hospital District; Siri Nelson, Chief Administrative Officer, Sutter Lakeside Hospital; Jim Raggio, Chief Executive Officer, Lompoc Valley Medical Center; and Victoria Alexander-Lane, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Inyo Hospital
In this popular annual session, CEOs will discuss how they plan to “set the course” to meet the needs of their rural communities. Topics include: financial and operational improvement, board alignment, meaningful use advances and facility improvement to meet seismic standards.

10:15 – 11:15 am | General Session
Best Practices in the Boardroom

Karma Bass, MPH, FACHE, Principal, Via Healthcare Consulting
Rural trustee roles and responsibilities have shifted with recent industry changes and challenges. This session will detail what top-performing boards are doing to ensure they stay abreast of current requirements and provide leadership during these turbulent times. Participants will leave with real-world ideas and solutions to some of the small and rural hospital board’s most pressing issues.

11:15 am – 12:15 pm | General Session
Update on Expanded Coverage and Impact on Rural Hospitals

Amber Kemp, Vice President, Health Care Coverage, California Hospital Association
This session will provide an update on the implementation of the ACA coverage expansion and how it is impacting rural hospitals in California.  Discussions will also cover recent developments in the state’s Medi-Cal waiver and other financing mechanisms, as well as sharing information about the move from providing care to managing health.



Register by January 27, 2015 and save
Members* $450
Nonmembers** $650 (limitations apply, see below)
Registrations received after January 27, add $100.

Tuition includes reception, luncheon, symposium materials and CEs.

* Members are CHA member hospitals, CHA associate members and government agencies. ** Nonmembers are limited to non-hospital health care providers, clinics, post-acute facilities, and consultants, insurance companies, law firms and other entities that serve hospitals. Education programs and publications are a membership benefit and are not available to non-member California hospitals.

Continuing Education

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

Health Care Executives — CHA is authorized to award 10.25 hours of pre-approved ACHE Qualified Education Credit (non-ACHE) for this program toward the advancement or recertification in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Participants in this program wishing to have the continuing education hours applied toward ACHE Qualified Education credit should indicate their attendance when submitting application to the American College of Healthcare Executives for advancement or recertification.

Nursing — Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, CEP 11924, for 12.3 contact hours.

Cancellation Policy

A $75 non-refundable processing fee will be retained for each cancellation received in writing by February 11. No refunds will be made after this date. Substitutions are encouraged. Cancellation and substitutions notificatons may be  emailed to In the unlikely event the program is cancelled, CHA will fully refund paid participants within 30 days.

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.

Photo Release — Consent to Use Photographic Images and Recordings

Registration and attendance at CHA programs and other activities constitutes an agreement by the attendee with CHA for use and distribution of the attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videotapes, electronic reproductions and audiotape.


Crown Plaza Redondo Beach and Marina
300 North Harbor Drive
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
(310) 318-8888
(800) 368-9760 (reservations)

Room reservation deadline is February 3, 2015
The Crowne Plaza Redondo Beach and Marina is the host hotel and site of this year’s event. Rooms are available at a discounted rate of $189, single and double occupancy. For reservations, call (800) 368-9760 and mention the “Rural Health Care Symposium.”


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.

Click here for more information.

On behalf of the California Hospital Association, we would like to thank our corporate sponsors for their support of the Rural Health Care Symposium.

Platinum Sponsor:


Gold Sponsors:


Silver Sponsors: