Change is here to stay in health care. That's a given. And the pace of change has been frenetic the past few years, with more of the same guaranteed in the months and years ahead. Amid the uncertainty about what's around the corner, health care leaders and front-line staff continue to focus on delivering safe, efficient, patient-centered care. The American Hospital Association has led the way to support hospitals and health care systems, providing advocacy, research and performance improvement tools in many key areas.

The AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence strategic platform offers tools and resources to assist health care organizations navigate our rapidly changing field and work to transform care, beginning at the local level. For example, to address changes in payment systems, consult "Value-Based Contracting," the HPOE guide authored by Kaufman Hall and the Health Research & Educational Trust. To respond to changing demographics of the U.S. patient population, use the HPOE guide "Reducing Health Care Disparities: Collection and Use of Race, Ethnicity and Language Data," part of a series of resources from the Equity of Care initiative ( If you run a small or rural hospital, meeting the challenges of serving a diverse and widespread patient population will require building and sustaining partnerships with other community organizations. That's outlined in another HPOE guide, "The Role of Small and Rural Hospitals and Care Systems in Effective Population Health Partnerships." Changes in treating mental illnesses and substance use disorders that include incorporating behavioral health services in the care continuum will be covered in an upcoming HPOE guide (

The AHA/HRET Hospital Engagement Network, one of several networks funded by the CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation, focuses on changing processes and spreading continuous quality improvement. The AHA/HRET HEN is working with state hospital associations and hospitals to reduce patient harm and readmissions. These hospital leaders and their staff have made remarkable progress and improved care delivery and patient outcomes at the national, regional and state levels.

Another national project, On the CUSP: Stop CAUTI, uses the Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program to prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections. Interim data show that hospital units that completed 14 months of CUSP implementation achieved an average 16 percent reduction in the CAUTI rate. CUSP involves making changes — by improving safety culture and teamwork along with implementing evidence-based interventions focused on technical aspects of CAUTI prevention. HRET manages this project with the Michigan Health & Hospital Association's Keystone Center for Patient Safety & Quality, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, the University of Michigan Health System and the Johns Hopkins Medicine Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

Whether small or large, rural or urban, private or public, health care organizations have no choice but to face change and embrace change. The health care system can change. Let's move forward, be proactive and make the most of the opportunities we have now and those just ahead.

Benjamin K. Chu, M.D., is group president for Kaiser Permanente's Southern California and Hawaii regions and chairman of the AHA Board of Trustees. He can be reached at

News from the AHA

Monograph examines evolving accountabilities of boards

The latest monograph from the AHA's Center for Healthcare Governance explores the multiple accountabilities of nonprofit health care boards in a changing environment, characterized by increased scrutiny and public demands for cost, quality and safety performance. The authors review categories of accountability and provide examples of mandated and voluntary accountabilities, largely to outside organizations and entities, that systems and their boards are responsible for fulfilling. The report includes questions to help guide board discussions. Visit

Cybersecurity resources for AHA members

The AHA in October released a report to help member hospital leaders understand and manage cybersecurity risks. The report recommends six key actions, from establishing procedures and a core team to identify and mitigate risks to reviewing the hospital's insurance coverage with those risks in mind. AHA also announced a new website,, featuring high-level resources for hospital leaders.

IFD revamps Career Center

The Institute for Diversity in Health Management recently launched a revamped Career Center for health care employers and individuals seeking employment with a hospital or health care organization. Visit

Need a facilitator or speaker for your health care meeting?

Speaker's Express maintains a roster of experts to facilitate or serve as a presenter at any health care leadership team meeting, whether a one-day seminar, a multiday board retreat, or a conference for hundreds of executives and care providers. Among the dozens of faculty members available, offering a wide variety of expertise, are Jamie Orlikoff, Nathan Kaufman, Ian Morrison and Paul Keckley. Visit