Suffolk Healthcare Programs co-sponsors Forum for second year

On January 29, 2010, a group of Suffolk healthcare administration students sat among a large gathering of Massachusetts’s healthcare leaders to learn what was happening in the industry and how their degrees will be put to the test upon graduation. The event was the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA) 43rd Annual Mid-Winter Leadership Forum. For the second consecutive year, Suffolk joined such groups as the Healthcare Management Association of Massachusetts (HCMA) in cosponsoring the event.

The Forum, which explored the theme of “Healthcare Delivery System Reform: Three Races, One Finish Line,” opened with comments by Ellen M. Zane, President and CEO of Tufts Medical Center and Chair of the MHA Board of Trustees, and Winfield Brown, FACHE, President of the HCMA and Vice President of Administration at Lowell General Hospital.

Speakers then highlighted examples of healthcare systems that are successfully adapting to change. Dr. Edward Murphy, CEO of Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia, described an integrated delivery system that has established a model for greater physician alignment. Dr. Timothy Ferris of Partners HealthCare in Boston explained their Medicare demonstration project, dedicated to health IT integration for clinical excellence and replicable cost savings. The leaders of Southcoast Health System in Massachusetts recounted how they saved $7 million in a matter of months by implementing Lean techniques.

Although speakers focused principally on Massachusetts, the national issue of healthcare reform hung over the proceedings. The MHA is a key player in Massachusetts’s healthcare reform, and the national spotlight is on our state, observed MHA President and CEO Lynn Nicholas, FACHE. She advised attendees to keep informed and to learn from each other. In an industry working toward greater transparency, higher standards of quality, cost containment, and expanded coverage, all parties must share information and insights to achieve real progress.

Nirav Parekh, a Suffolk MHA student who has been researching Massachusetts’s healthcare reform, was, like many of the Suffolk students who attended the Forum, returning to it for a second year. Grateful for the opportunity to learn from the speakers and from conversations with healthcare leaders – including his mentor, Karen Nelson, Senior Vice President of Clinical Affairs for the MHA – he observed that “It’s a very exciting time to be in healthcare.”

Indeed, the Forum proved an excellent way for Suffolk students to gain insights into the industry that complement what they’re learning in classrooms and through internships and mentoring. Suffolk students and faculty filled two front tables at the event, and they’re likely to have an even greater presence in 2011.

Suffolk students’ registration fees were paid with funds from the Suffolk University Healthcare Students Beyond-the-Classroom Fund.

Suffolk MHA student Jaclene Coit reported on this event.