Rich Umbdenstock Discusses Evolution of Hospitals

Jan 10, 2014
By Co-Communications (Danielle Cyr)

On January 9th, the Connecticut Health Council hosted its first program of 2014 featuring Rich Umbdenstock, F.A.C.H.E., President and CEO of the American Hospital Association.  Umbdenstock’s presentation ‘Health Care Reform and Hospital Performance Improvement: Understanding Challenges, Embracing Opportunities’ provided nearly 200 attendees with a snapshot of the changes impacting hospitals as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Boasting more than 5,000 member hospitals, including at least one in every congressional district, and 45,000 individual members, the American Hospital Association (AHA) is a leader in advocacy and innovation.  As noted in opening remarks from Chris Dadlez, F.A.C.H.E., President and CEO of Saint Francis Care, the AHA is also ‘helping hospitals bridge the gap between the old and new worlds.’  

Umbdenstock began his presentation by sharing the AHA’s vision leading into what is referred to as ‘the great recession,’ citing Health for Life (a five-part public policy program) and Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence (a performance improvement strategy) as core areas of focus.  Aligned with industry trends that have been taking shape for more than a decade – more integration across the system, more public accountability and reporting, and more ‘at risk’ payments – the AHA’s visionary approach back in 2008 has helped hospitals to prepare for and adapt to the significant changes they are currently facing.

Today, the AHA’s strategies focus on promoting and rewarding accountability, and using limited health care dollars wisely, which is well-aligned with the ACA provisions.  Umbdenstock estimates 25% of all physicians today are employed by hospitals with 40-45% of all doctors having direct connections to hospitals (hospital to physician integration).  Additionally, accountability and transparency measures are helping individuals make more informed choices about where to receive care.  As Umbdenstock noted during his remarks, ‘it’s more advanced and pervasive than it has ever been,’ with 37 states currently having some degree of required price/cost transparency.

As for the future, Umbdenstock predicts a much more coordinated system of care that generates better results – ‘less intensive, less disruptive and less costly’ – will emerge.

The Connecticut Health Council’s next program ‘The Role of Diet and Nutrition in Effective Wellness Programs’ will take place on February 21st from 7:30-9:30a.m.