Thinking about those strengths and opportunities, are there organizational issues that you plan to focus on as you take the helm of the association?
POLLACK: There are a couple of things that aren’t going to change. The AHA vision is of a society of healthy communities, where all individuals reach their highest potential for health. That doesn’t need to change.
We have a mission to advance the health of individuals and communities. We want to lead, represent and serve organizations that are accountable to the community and committed to health improvement. That doesn’t need to change.
Thanks to Rich Umbdenstock’s great leadership, we have a solid foundation that we can build on.
There are two things, however, that we need to focus on. One we call “Redefining the H” that involves a series of initiatives to prepare the field for the future.
Your question, though, is focused on the association. That’s what we call “Redefining the A.” We know that advocacy in multiple locations and across multiple arenas is something that the members value. We know that they also value thought leadership, knowledge transfer and learning from each other. But, as I mentioned, as the field changes, we have to make sure we are providing the right mix of other services that they also value.
In regard to new strategic alliances, a growing number of health systems now have health plans. We also see more physicians moving into leadership positions. Are those areas where you envision the AHA broadening its reach?
POLLACK: As it relates to physicians, in 2011 we launched the Physician Leadership Forum as a way to involve these leaders and get their perspectives and insights. We also established a committee on clinical leadership, which has been very valuable in providing advice on clinical issues.
Looking at members with their own health plans, we need to be responsive to the trend and the issues they face. We’ve taken some steps in that direction, which I am committed to building on. For example, we’ve created an executive roundtable for hospitals that have plans. The forum is co-chaired by Rich Umbdenstock and Jim Hinton, president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services and immediate past AHA chairman. This is where we’ve been discussing issues and potential programming to be responsive to this segment of the membership.
Hospitals are at varying degrees of shifting from volume to value. How can the AHA help them manage that transition?
POLLACK: Members are moving down multiple paths from different starting points, at different speeds and on different schedules tailored to the needs of their individual communities. As an association, one of the things we need to continue to do is lay out the various options that organizations may consider and provide tools for assessing which pathway might be the most appropriate for them to take.
It is not our job to tell people which pathway to take; it is our job to lay out the options, to help them assess what the best option is and, in some cases, provide the tools to help them move down the strategy that they choose. It’s also our job to facilitate member learning from each other. Another key to this shift is alignment between hospitals and physicians. That’s why we need to continue working to break down regulatory barriers to clinical integration, so that hospitals and physicians can work together more effectively to deliver better care.