Getting Started with THA

Welcome

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Welcome to the Tennessee Hospital Association! You are among a powerful collective from hospitals, health systems and businesses committed to delivering the best health care and services to individuals who live, work and seek medical treatment in Tennessee.

For more than 80 years, THA’s work has spanned many areas of critical importance to the hospital industry and the communities we serve.

This virtual Orientation is a helpful resource to reference as you learn about THA, your membership and the benefits it offers. This site is organized by focus areas, with an overview of each department. You will also find information about THA’s board of directors, a listing of senior staff contacts and ways to stay informed of priority issues and activities.

Bookmark this link on your web browser and refer to it often as you continue to explore more ways to get involved as well as the support the association offers. I also encourage you to share the link with appropriate members of your staff. There are numerous ways for you and your team to engage with THA, and we look forward to working with you.

Thank you!

Wendy Long, M.D., MPH
President and Chief Executive Officer

Mission

The mission of the Tennessee Hospital Association is to lead its members in advocacy for and support of community-based hospitals and health systems and assist them in delivering accessible, cost-effective, quality health services.

Benefits of Membership

The Tennessee Hospital Association (THA) is the premiere organization in the state that promotes and represents the interests of all hospitals, health systems and health careers.

With membership, you support the work of THA, making our association one of the state’s most powerful voices on hospital and healthcare issues. THA has led efforts for effective, meaningful change to ensure Tennessee’s hospitals and health systems are able to deliver high-quality healthcare services to Tennessee residents.

THA’s work spans many areas of critical importance to the hospital industry and the communities we serve including:

  • Advocacy
  • Data Reporting
  • Education
  • Performance Improvement
  • Products and Services
  • Quality and Patient Safety
  • Reimbursement
  • Small and Rural Hospital Support
  • Workforce Development

Among numerous member benefits are opportunities to:

  • Register and attend educational programs where you will expand your knowledge and grow your professional network.
  • Receive the weekly THA Member Update and daily media clips, which include relevant, up-to-date information about THA activities, services and programs and offer a digest of the most recent hospital-related and healthcare news of the day.
  • Get a weekly Legislative Bulletin from January to May, which includes Tennessee General Assembly session updates on actions and activities affecting the healthcare industry.
  • Participate in Friends of THA, the association’s political action committee (PAC). The PAC is an excellent way to support your hospital clients/customers and have a positive impact on legislative and regulatory decisions that affect patients and hospitals.
  • Sponsor and exhibit at THA’s major conferences—with access to our more than 300 attendees.

Who We Are

THA was established in 1938 as a not-for-profit membership association, to serve as an advocate for hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations and the patients they serve. The Association also provides education and information for its members, and informs the public about hospitals and healthcare issues at the state and national levels.

THA is the premiere organization in Tennessee that promotes and represents the interests of all hospitals and health systems.

The Association also operates three subsidiary organizations to further support the work of THA and its members.

The Tennessee Hospital Education and Research Foundation (THERF) is the educational arm of the Association. THERF is eligible to receive tax-deductible gifts to underwrite important educational programs for the benefit of THA and its members.

While THA fulfills its advocacy and representation responsibilities as a not-for-profit trade association, it is different from the typical association because it operates several businesses through THA Center for Innovative Solutions (TCIS), the association’s tax-paying corporation. 

THA Center for Innovative Solutions endorses a variety of management and professional programs, which are offered on a fee-for-service basis to THA members. These programs include solutions that specialize in the following areas:

  • Consulting
  • Insurance
  • Administration and Operations
  • Management
  • Facility/Project Management
  • Financial Services
  • Human Resources

The Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development (TCWD) is another THA subsidiary. TCWD seeks to improve the health of Tennesseans by guiding healthcare workforce development. TCWD’s programs include: recruiting and placing physicians and psychiatric nurse practitioners in shortage areas, providing money to medical residents in exchange for a commitment to serve, up to $30,000 available to hospitals and health centers to attract qualified caregivers, matching medical residents with rural rotations,  addressing the issues that cause nurses to leave hospital based employment and educating Tennessee students about the healthcare professions.

View the 2019 THA Annual Report.

Pillars

To accomplish the THA mission, the Association is organized around six key pillars:

Advocacy

Advocacy is one of THA’s most valued services. The Association serves as a watchdog on emerging state and federal issues and policies that are of interest to or may affect its diverse membership. THA also serves as the united voice of hospitals and health systems on these issues in the political arena. THA creates legislative proposals requested by the membership or determined to be important by staff to support or improve operations and reimbursement.

Quality & Patient Safety

Identifying and helping hospitals address quality and patient safety issues is a critical component of the Association’s work to support hospitals in the delivery of safe, quality patient care. This work, which focuses on the goal of “zero preventable harm,” supports hospitals’ efforts to reduce and eliminate hospital-acquired conditions and infections. The Tennessee Center for Patient Safety leads this work for the Association.

Neutral Healthcare Forum

As a neutral healthcare forum, THA is able to provide an opportunity for members to “check their guns at the door” and have reasonable discussions about issues that could divide the hospital industry in Tennessee. THA also builds coalitions and creates opportunities for dialogue on controversial issues with others involved in healthcare financing and delivery.

Information & Technology

THA Information Services collects both hospital claims data and admission, discharge and transfer (ADT) real-time data for THA members. THA also serves as a resource for other data that are collected on the Joint Annual Report of Hospitals (JAR), population data and data about other healthcare providers.

Products & Services

Products and services is a diverse, vital pillar. It covers all of the various dues-based and fee-based services offered by THA to its members. This includes areas such as reimbursement, performance improvement, small and rural hospital support, workforce development and THA Center for Innovative Solutions.

Education

The THA Education Department identifies expert speakers and offers programs to keep hospital executives, managers and board members, as well as clinical and non-clinical staff, knowledgeable about the quickly changing aspects of healthcare. This includes regulatory requirements and addressing day-to-day operational needs.

THA Code of Business Conduct

The Tennessee Hospital Association’s (THA) Code of Business Conduct provides an overview of the values that should guide the behavior of the association and a summary of the key policies for conducting business in an honest, legal and ethical manner.

This code, together with detailed supporting documents, collectively describes the manner in which THA — as a corporate entity, its members, directors, officers and employees — will conduct business. This code may not answer every legal or ethical question, nor is it intended to do so. However, it is a set of fundamental principles that form the building blocks necessary to promote the best interests of THA. This code, as well as all supporting policies and documents, applies to all directors, officers, members and employees of THA, THA Center for Innovative Solutions , Inc. (TCIS), Tennessee Hospital and Education Research Foundation (THERF), Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development (TCWD) and Tennesseans for a Responsible Future (TRF).

Download the THA Code of Business Conduct

Affiliate Groups

THA works with affiliated organizations that represent many of the health professionals who work in hospitals and health care. These include nurses, quality directors, engineers, public relations and marketing directors, social workers and materials managers.

Members of affiliated organizations receive joint membership in the professional group and THA.

Online Affiliate Application and Renewal | Print version

American Organization for Nursing Leadership – Tennessee (AONL – TN)
Contact: Carey Albright
Email: calbright@mauryregional.com

Council of Volunteers (COV)
Contact: Pat Kimbrough
Email: pakimbrough@gmail.com

Tennessee Association for Healthcare Quality (TAHQ)
Contact: Tish Moran
Email: loutiscial@comcast.net

Tennessee Health Care Administrative Professionals (THCAP)
Contact: Robbie Grissom, cHAP
Email: Robbie.grissom@ascension.org

Tennessee Healthcare Volunteer Professionals (THVP)
Contact: Whitney Larkin
Email: whitney.larkin@msha.com

Tennessee Healthcare Engineering Association (THEA)
Contact: Rick Tinsley
Email: tnasheregion3@gmail.com

Tennessee Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (TAHRMM)
Contact: Karen Morlan
Email: karen.morlan@vumc.org

Tennessee Simulation Alliance (TNSA)
Contact: Melinda Klar
Email: mklar@utmck.edu

Tennessee Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration (TSHHRA)
Contact: Candice Barnwell
Email: candice.barnwell@msha.com

Tennessee Society of Healthcare Social Workers (TSHCSW)
Contact: Jill Kennedy
Email: nkennedy@avalon-hospice.com

Tennessee Society for Organizational Improvement (TSOI)
Contact: Isaac B. Mitchell
Email: imitchell@deroyal.com

Allied Groups

THA works with allied organizations that represent many of the health professionals who work in hospitals and health care. These include nurses, quality directors, engineers, public relations and marketing directors, social workers and materials managers.

Members of affiliated organizations receive joint membership in the professional group and THA.

American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE)
Contact: Anna Pannier
Email: Anna.Pannier@Ascension.org

National Association of Health Services Executives (NAHSE)
Contact: John E. Baldwin III
Email: John.Baldwin2@hcahealthcare.com

Tennessee Association of Healthcare Access Management (TAHAM)
Contact: Maxine Wilson
Email: maxinewilson@comcast.net

Tennessee Association for Medical Staff Services (TAMSS)
Contact: Debi Davis
Email: ddavis@cmchealthcare.org

Tennessee Association of Nurse Anesthetists (TANA)
Contact: Dina Velocci
Email: president-elect@tncrna.com 

Tennessee Chapter, Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA)
Contact: Marc A. Carter

Tennessee Dietetic Association (TDA)
Contact: Marilyn C. Holmes
Email: mcholmestda@aol.com

Tennessee Health Information Management Association (THIMA)
Contact: Lela McFerrin, RHIA
Email: lela.mcferrin@hcahealthcare.com

Tennessee Health Science Library Association (THeSLA)
Contact: Jan Haley
Email: jhaley@sth.org

Tennessee Pastoral Care Association (TPCA)
Contact: David Bluford
Email: dbluford@covhlth.com

Tennessee Society for Healthcare Consumer Advocacy (SHCA)
Contact: Jessica Chambers
Email: jchambers@etch.com

Tennessee Society for Respiratory Care (TSRC)
Contact: Zach Gantt, RRT
Email: zgantt@hotmail.com

Membership Districts

THA organizes member hospitals and health systems into eight geographic districts. Each of these districts function as a self-governing body that elects officers and carries out district-related programs during the year, as well as helps implement association programs.

The districts provide an important link between THA and the specific, geographically-related needs and interests of the association’s members.

THA MEMBERSHIP DISTRICTS AND DISTRICT PRESIDENTS
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MEMPHIS DISTRICT (1)

Robert Clark
Director, Government Affairs
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Memphis, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Mike Dietrich
 
 

WEST DISTRICT (2)

Nicholas P. (Nick) Lewis
Chief Executive Officer
Hardin Medical Center
Savannah, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Gwyn Walters
 
 

MIDDLE DISTRICT (3)

Donald Webb
Chief Executive Officer
Williamson Medical Center
Franklin, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Chris Clarke
 
 

SOUTH MIDDLE DISTRICT (4)

Alan Watson
System Chief Executive Officer
Maury Regional Healthcare System
Columbia, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Bryan Metzger

MID-EAST DISTRICT (5)

Scott Bowman
Administrator
Sweetwater Hospital Association
Sweetwater, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Bill Jolley
 
 

CHATTANOOGA DISTRICT (6)

Jarrett Millsaps
Chief Executive Officer
Parkridge East Hospital
Chattanooga, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Amanda Newell
 
 

KNOXVILLE DISTRICT (7)

Don Heinemann
Chief Executive Officer
Blount Memorial Hospital
Maryville, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Joe Greene
 
 

NORTHEAST DISTRICT (8)

Eric Deaton
Chief Operating Officer
Ballad Health
Johnson City, TN
THA Staff Liaison: Joe Greene

Diversity and Health Equity

THA is proudly committed to addressing inequality in the healthcare system in our state. Health disparities cause adverse impact to individuals who are minorities, LBGTQ, and/or low income. Studies have shown that these groups are more likely to have chronic conditions along with higher rates of mortality and poorer health outcomes.

THA is working to address these inequalities by:

  • Providing information and guidance on these issues through the THA Council on Inclusion and Health Equity, which promotes strategies to help member hospitals develop culturally competent leaders and staff to improve health outcomes in the communities they serve.
  • Working to address representation in hospital leadership through the Agenda 21 Internship Program which matches minority healthcare students with hospital executives for summer internships in hospitals across the state. The Agenda 21 Internship Program is a 12-week supervised learning experience for qualified minority graduate students interested in healthcare administration or a related field. This experience will help further knowledge and skills and hopefully pave the way for success as leaders in the healthcare industry.
  • Placing doctors, nurses and other medical staff in underserved areas including communities with large minority populations. There are shortages and unequal distributions of the healthcare workforce in Tennessee and the Tennessee Center for Workforce Development supports programs that recruit and place clinicians in shortage areas.

Departments

EXECUTIVE OFFICE OVERVIEW

The executive office consists of the president and chief executive officer (CEO), chief operating officer (COO), and a senior executive assistant.

The president and CEO is responsible for creating the vision and overall direction for THA, coordinating with the THA Board of Directors, and establishing the state and national presence for the association. The COO is responsible for managing the internal day-to-day operations, strategic planning, new program development, and assisting in supporting the data and information needs of the membership.

The COO is the primary liaison with the staff at the TennCare bureau, along with the vice president for financial policy, on TennCare issues related to supplemental pools, reimbursement, hospital assessment and the TennCare waiver. The COO also works directly with the vice president for research and reimbursement on issues related to TennCare managed care organizations (MCOs) and commercial payers, including workers’ compensation.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

The executive staff primarily is responsible for establishing the priorities for THA staff, working closely with the THA board and ensuring the Association’s program activities align with those priorities.

They also maintain a very close relationship with the TennCare bureau and coordinates activities related to TennCare supplemental pool funding, TennCare rate variation project, TennCare payment or MCO issues and the hospital assessment.

In addition, the executive staff meets regularly with all payers across the state to address issues and facilitate solutions and communication between the hospitals and the payers.

Other key responsibilities of the department include:

  • Overseeing human resources and reviewing all staff evaluations
  • Review of selected communications activities
  • Overseeing the THA building and grounds
  • Overseeing internal accounting
COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

THA Nominating Committee prepares the proposed slate of officers for approval at the House of Delegates meeting each year.

THA Bylaws Committee prepares proposed changes to THA bylaws to ensure they are appropriate for the current operation of THA and presents them to the House of Delegates annually.

ACCOUNTING OVERVIEW

The THA Accounting Department is responsible for the accurate accounting and safeguarding of company resources. The team prepares financial information that is reported at each Board meeting, which includes: a) the current monthly consolidated financial statements and b) the latest quarterly financial statements for the THA Unemployment Fund.

The department also maintains the hospital assessment program and several grants.

COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

The Budget and Finance Committee meets via conference call once a year to review the proposed operating budget and capital budget for the upcoming year. Lastly, the committee recommends approval to the THA Board.

The Audit Committee identifies and approves the audit firm that will conduct the current year annual audit. The committee also participates in an engagement meeting with the firm prior to starting the field review to discuss audits and any specific items for review during an audit.   Once complete, the audit is presented to the committee, and again later to the board.

The Investment Committee meets quarterly via conference call with THA staff and the investment manager to discuss the previous fund earnings and any necessary modifications to the investment portfolio. Any modifications determined by the committee are submitted to the THA Board for final approval.

Dues Task Force is appointed each year to work with THA staff to determine if there is a need to modify the membership dues billing structure and approve the structure for the following year.

The THA Unemployment Fund Operating Committee, comprised of representatives from member hospitals, meets as necessary to approve recommendations to the Board of any fund actions.

MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS OVERVIEW

The THA Marketing and Communications Department is responsible for all association communications, marketing and public relations activities.

This department handles all internal and external communication efforts, including member e-newsletters, memos and website content. The team also utilizes other vehicles to keep members informed and tell the hospital story to a broader audience, such as special reports, social media and public relations efforts.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

The Marketing and Communications Department offers direct benefit to members through the following activities:

  • Communication with member publications and hospital and health system public relations, communications and marketing staff on comprehensive campaigns
  • Seamless coordination on communication initiatives to ensure hospitals are represented and consistent in all public relations efforts
  • Management of THA’s online presence, including the website and social media platforms, as well as promoting hospitals’ campaigns and highlighting messaging on THA communication channels
EDUCATION OVERVIEW

The Tennessee Hospital Education and Research Foundation (THERF) is the 501(c) 3 arm of the Tennessee Hospital Association (THA), and is responsible for providing current, cost-effective and relevant information on hospital industry and health-related issues through quality educational programs and the association’s four signature events.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

THERF sponsors nearly 50 face-to-face education programs and webinars on topics that impact:

  • Clinical Services
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Finance
  • Continuous Service Readiness (CSR) Programs with Joint Commission
  • Reimbursement
  • Compliance
  • State/Federal Regulations
  • Quality Improvement
SIGNATURE EVENTS

The team is also responsible for the planning process, negotiation of third-party vendor contracts, and on-site execution for THA’s signature events:

  • Legislative Day on the Hill
  • Small and Rural Hospital Conference
  • Summer Conference
  • Annual Meeting
EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS

THERF also supports THA’s Tennessee Center for Patient Safety with its regional workshop series, including speaker recruitment, venue search, logistics, etc., as well as THA’s allied and affiliate groups for meetings, conferences and education sessions.

FINANCIAL POLICY DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW

The Financial Policy Department is the primary membership resource on Medicare and national Medicaid reimbursement regulatory issues, which includes but not limited to provider payment systems, and TennCare supplemental pool payments.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

Each year, the department works to model the hospital assessment to ensure adequate funding for hospital priorities. The department also assists members with issues related to financial reporting requirements, such as changes to the state’s Joint Annual Report of Hospitals or changes in CMS requirements for the Medicare cost report.

In partnership with the Hospital Association of New York State, the department provides financial modeling of proposed changes to Medicare rules to each member facility that could be impacted, such as the inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS), outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and other provider-related regulations

COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

The Supplemental Pool Taskforce convenes to review ongoing adjustments to Medicaid supplemental pool payments to hospitals, provide input on alternative payment structures, and advise the Board on courses of actions.

Members have opportunities to review and provide feedback on comment letters that are drafted in response to state and national proposed rules.

The Financial Policy department hosts webinars pertaining to reimbursement and regulatory issues such as Medicare Cost Report changes and information on the state JAR

GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS OVERVIEW

The THA Government Affairs Department is responsible for all advocacy efforts at the state level. Government Affairs staff represent the interests of the hospital industry before the Tennessee General Assembly, as well as the Governor’s Office and executive branch departments and agencies. The team works with THA departments and the THA Council on Government Affairs, as well as the general membership and Board of Directors to develop recommendations for the Association’s legislative agenda.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

The Government Affairs Department’s work offers direct benefit to members through the following activities:

  • Represents hospital positions with state government leaders and lawmakers.
  • Introduces and works to pass legislation proposed and supported by THA.
  • Works with THA staff and members to review and analyze legislation to identify hospital impact and advocate for THA position.
  • Communicate with members about policy and regulatory activities and ensure hospitals are represented in all discussions.
  • Manage Friends of THA, the Association’s political action committee (PAC), which supports legislators and candidates for state public office who are supportive of hospital issues.
COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

The Department also staffs two committees of importance to the association:

Council on Government Affairs reviews healthcare legislative issues and recommends positions to the THA Board of Directors for consideration in shaping THA’s legislative agenda. This council meets twice a year.

Friends of THA PAC Committee supports the work of THA’s political action committee. The committee supports staff in the annual PAC fundraising campaign and in making contributions to legislators and candidates who support and are sensitive to hospital issues.

INFORMATION SERVICES OVERVIEW

The Information Services department is responsible for the collection and analysis of multiple types of hospital data. The department provides technical support to all THA staff and maintains the network security and network operation and infrastructure.

The major functions of THA Information Services include:

  • Collection and dissemination of hospital claims and other healthcare data
  • Collection and transmission of real-time Admission, Discharge and Transfer (ADT) data
  • Analysis of hospital data to create meaningful information for THA staff and members
  • Operation and security of the THA internal network
  • Development of data collection and data distribution tools to collect data from and provide information to members

THA Information Services (IS) is responsible for all in-house, member and non-member requests for data. These data include hospital patient level claims data found in hospital discharge data, summary of hospital financial and utilization data from the Joint Annual Report (JAR), health manpower data, home health data, hospice data, population data, data from the THA member database and other special purpose datasets. The data analysis unit either completes analyses of the data and provides results to the requestor or provides raw data. In addition, IS staff creates data presentations to support advocacy positions of THA, media messages, and patient safety initiatives.

THA Health Information Network

The THA HIN staff is responsible for managing the collection of patient level claims data from all THA member hospitals and providing a database to the state each quarter to meet the state legislated reporting requirement. In addition, the HIN provides access to the quarterly data through the THA MarketIQ software, a THA-owned product that allows hospitals to access the claims data through the internet and easily produce routine reports needed for marketing and planning. This unit generates significant revenue through the HIN and sale of data products that fund the operation of information services, as well as other functions of THA.

THA ConnecTN

Via a program called ConnecTN, THA collects real-time ADT messages from member hospitals to meet a TennCare requirement to support their PCMH and HealthLink programs. ConnecTN also provides a notification service using this real-time data back to member hospitals, physician practices, and ACO’s on their patients who have encounters with hospitals in the network.

Surveys and Internal IT Support and Security

THA IS collects and disseminates information from several surveys annually, including the member satisfaction CEO survey that provides the basis for THA strategic planning and a THA membership salary survey through a partnership with Salary.com. Additionally, the IS department is responsible for maintaining the association’s membership database and computer network.

THA information services staff serves as the primary THA staff liaison to the:

  • THA Data Policy Committee
  • THA ADT Technical Subcommittee of the Data Policy Committee
  • Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) Health Statistics Division
  • Trauma Care Advisory Council
MEMBER SERVICES OVERVIEW

The THA Member Services Department is member driven and member focused.  The staff advocate and address issues that are priorities and of value to hospitals and their teams.

Member engagement is an important part of THA’s programs and services. This includes bringing together councils and workgroups, and representing members with other stakeholders interested in improving the delivery of healthcare in Tennessee.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

The key initiatives for member services include:

Federal Advocacy
There are several opportunities throughout the year to join the THA staff and colleagues from across the state in Washington, D.C., to help educate the Tennessee Congressional Delegation on important hospital and healthcare-based issues. THA also asks members to respond to proposals in Washington that could impact the care hospitals deliver in their communities.

Mental Health and Opioid Abuse
THA has developed a strong working relationship with the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) on this issue.  THA also represents hospitals on statewide initiatives focused on other issues such as: transportation, emergency department boarding, and opioid treatment and recovery resources.

Continuum of Care
THA has assembled key stakeholders in areas such as inpatient rehabilitation, home health and palliative care to gain perspectives on issues impacting the care continuum. This has included third-party reimbursement and clinical and operational best practices.

Emergency Preparedness and Response
THA works with the Tennessee Department of Health to coordinate the activities funded by the annual federal readiness grant to Tennessee.

COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

Member Engagement Opportunities
THA Trustee Council is comprised of board members from THA hospital and health systems, and oversees THA’s board certification program, trustee education and other governance-related efforts. The council chair and vice-chair serve as the governance representatives on the THA Board of Directors and help guide the associations’ efforts to support hospital boards.

THA Affiliate Groups representing health professionals from specific areas of hospitals provide continuing education, tools and resources to their colleagues in the state, directly supporting clinical and operational service lines in their organizations. By joining groups such as the Tennessee Organization of Nurse Executives or Tennessee Healthcare Engineering Association, employees have access to best practices from across the state and country and the opportunity for professional development.

Emphasis on the Continuum of Care
THA regularly gathers members from non-acute areas of the health continuum to hear from industry experts and discuss regulatory, policy and reimbursement issues impacting their work.  THA members are invited to participate in the following workgroups:

THA Home Care Alliance invites hospital-based home care directors and administrators to meet in person twice per year.

THA LTAC Group is comprised of administrators and team members from long-term acute care hospitals. This group connects quarterly via phone conference.

THA Psychiatric Section provides a forum for clinical and operational leaders of the state’s psychiatric hospitals and inpatient units to meet quarterly in person. A representative from the section sits on the THA Board of Directors as a liaison between the two groups to help guide THA’s work in the mental health arena.

THA Rehabilitation Therapy Workgroup supports the state’s inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and health systems with acute rehab units and meets twice per year in person. A representative from this group sits on the THA Board of Directors as a liaison between the two groups.

THA RESEARCH AND REIMBURSEMENT DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW

The Research and Reimbursement department serves as the primary THA resource on TennCare MCOs, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, commercial payers and Medicare Advantage.  It addresses issues that hospitals may have with all payers, including the TennCare program and CoverKids.

In addition, Research and Reimbursement works closely with the TennCare MCOs around the implementation of new initiatives and the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s TennCare Oversight Division.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

The department also is the primary member resource for payer managed care information or issues assistance, and the THA liaison with hospital managed care, patient financial services, utilization management and compliance staff.  Workgroups meet with the large payers in the state and payer /financial education is provided to all members.

The insurance section also is responsible for monitoring the implementation of payer changes and insurance exchanges required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and provides input to the Commissioner of the Department of Commerce and Insurance on that department’s role in monitoring new requirements on insurers in the ACA.

THA research and reimbursement staff helps with compliance issues and provides compliance education through regional groups and webinars.  There is also a state-wide compliance conference each year that includes expert presentations on current compliance issues.

Lastly, staff works with the governmental Fraud Working Group and contractors to provide education and opportunities for members to meet with them.

RURAL HEALTH ISSUES DEPARTMENT OVERVIEW

The Rural Health Issues department includes the Small and Rural Hospital constituency, the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility Program (MRHFP), and the Tennessee Center for Health Workforce Development (TCWD), which is an operating subsidiary of THA.

The department is responsible for overall administrative and technical assistance to Tennessee’s acute-care small and rural hospitals, including the certified Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), to improve their clinical, financial, and operational performance.

In addition, TCWD is focused on increasing the healthcare workforce in the state. It is responsible for recruiting and placing primary care physicians in shortage areas, providing incentives to medical residents in exchange for a commitment to work with underserved populations, providing incentive funds to qualified hospitals and other practice sites to attract caregivers, matching medical residents with rural rotations, addressing issues within nursing and allied health education, and introducing Tennessee students to the healthcare professions. TCWD is a 501(c)(3) organization, governed by its own Board of Directors under the auspices of the THA Board of Directors.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

On a broad scale, the Rural Health Issues department works to identify and address healthcare policy issues that affect small and rural hospitals. It seeks to inform hospital leadership about emerging issues and develops position papers, advocacy materials or proposed regulations as needed. It also creates educational, legislative, and regulatory program opportunities for THA members.

Funding and other financial opportunities for small and rural hospitals are another important component of the department’s work. It provides technical assistance to CAH hospitals in developing requests for funding under the MRHFP program and helps determine best strategies for operations and reimbursement. Such funding supports strategic planning, hospital performance improvement, rural network development, rural health clinic development and potential new service lines. Another funding mechanism, the Driving Under the Influence (DUI) Interlock Assistance Fund is also administered by the department.

Recently, the Rural Health Issues department assisted in developing the Tennessee Rural Hospital Transformation Program, in collaboration with the Tennessee Department of Economic Development. The program supports rural hospitals in assessing their sustainability and partners with industry experts to identify potential new delivery models, strategic partnerships, and necessary operational changes.  The goal of the Program is to create a specific transformation plan for each selected hospital and to provide recommendations and actionable steps for preserving healthcare services in the target hospital community.

COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

THA Small or Rural Hospital Constituency Executive Committee governs the Rural Issues Department and assists the THA Board of Directors in addressing issues impacting the delivery of quality healthcare services by rural and small hospitals and advocating for appropriate solutions to those issues. This committee meets on an “as needed” basis, usually via conference calls.

The Executive Committee is nominated and elected by the Small and Rural Hospital Constituency at its annual membership meeting.

Lastly, the department hosts the Small and Rural Hospital Conference annually and Mid-South Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Conference on a rotating schedule that accommodates the Mid-South states.

TENNESSEE CENTER FOR PATIENT SAFETY OVERVIEW

The mission of the TCPS is to advance Tennessee hospitals’ adoption of proven strategies that enhance the reliability, safety and quality of care patients receive. TCPS provides extensive education, resources and direct support to hospitals to achieve better outcomes.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED TO THA MEMBERS

Participation in state, national and association-based quality improvement programs and initiatives. For 2021, programs include:

  • CMS Hospital Quality Improvement Collaborative (HQIC) with Cynosure Health targeting small and rural hospitals
  • TDH funded maternal morbidity and mortality grant
  • THA MRSA Reduction Campaign
  • THA Sepsis Collaborative
  • THA Post-Acute Partnerships to improve outcomes, reduce excess days and costs

Data Reports and Comparisons

TCPS provides CEOs at acute care hospitals with a monthly executive summary report showing their hospital performance compared to their statewide peers based on facility size. Sources for data reporting include the Center for Disease Control (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN); THA claims data, and THA’s Report The THA Board of Directors transparently shares hospital performance on key topics at the board meetings and posts data in advance of meetings.

Tennessee Surgical Quality Collaborative

The statewide collaborative is a partnership with the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Surgeons where doctors and hospitals measure and improve surgical care in Tennessee using the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Improvement Program.

THA Patient Safety Organization

The THA PSO is federally certified as a PSO and has 64 member organizations working collaboratively to reduce harm. It provides a separate, secure environment for member organizations to engage voluntarily in sharing and analyzing patient safety events without the threat of disclosure or increased liability.

Tools for Hospitals

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Hospital Survey on Patient Safety (HSOPS) – survey measures employee perceptions of patient safety

Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School – online courses in the areas of quality improvement, patient safety, and leadership

COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES
  • THA Quality Committee
  • TCPS Advisory Council
  • THA Council on Inclusion and Health Equity
THA CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS OVERVIEW

The THA Center for Innovative Solutions’ (TCIS) proactively responds to the needs of THA members by identifying the most innovative solutions on the market. Used by hospitals across the state, their solutions enable hospital members to increase efficiency, impact patient care and improve their bottom line.

PRIMARY SERVICES PROVIDED FOR THA MEMBERS

Each solution offered by TCIS must complete a stringent due diligence process, saving hundreds of hospital staff hours spent vetting potential vendors. Its list of partners always is expanding as TCIS constantly is seeking companies that approach healthcare in new ways.

Three approaches are used to provide these services and resources to members:

  1. “Owned” programs: Developed internally or in partnership with an outside vendor. TCIS owns the program, and partners with other entities that have the technical expertise needed to deliver value.
  2. Strategic partners: Companies that provide a service to hospitals and have agreed to share a portion of revenue with THA.
  3. Recommended solutions: Companies that have requested and received an endorsement from THA. These companies pay the Association a flat fee for the endorsement.

Programs are grouped according to common themes:

  • Workforce solutions
  • Financial solutions
  • Operational solutions
  • Data and technology solutions

Not only do the partnerships offer significant strategic value for THA members but they create an alternative revenue stream for the Association. The revenue is earned as a result of members’ use of these vendors and programs.

The revenue is divided as follows:

  • Covers 100 percent of TCIS’ expenses
  • Helps provide significant grant dollars to the Tennessee Hospital Education and Research Foundation (THERF), which mainly is used for Annual Meeting support and program development
  • Donates to THA’s political action committee (PAC), Friends of Tennessee
  • Reduces membership dues for those members that use TCIS’ associated programs
  • Absorbs select other THA expenses
COUNCILS AND COMMITTEES

The TCIS Board serves as the governing body for the THA Center for Innovative Solutions, providing strategic direction and leadership in accomplishing the organization’s mission. This board is made up of CEOs, COOs, and CFOs representing all types (large/small, urban/rural, hospital/system) of members across the state and is approved by the THA Board of Directors. The Chairman of the TCIS Board is selected by the THA Nominating Committee and serves as an “ex officio” member of the THA Board.

Occasionally, members are asked to assist when reviewing and approving vendors or developing programs and/or making recommendations to the TCIS board. These individuals serve on short-term committees. 

 In other instances, TCIS staff may contact an individual within a member organization for expert advice or counsel.