WHA Staff and Board Stress Importance of Delivering Member Value

Disruption, innovation, partnership, and opportunity all key topics at WHA annual Board retreat

July 24, 2018

The WHA Board of Directors and WHA staff held its annual strategic planning session July 18-20. The focus: disruptors in the health care industry and their impact on WHA’s future agenda and strategic planning.

WHA Chair-Elect Damond Boatwright, Regional President of Operations at SSM Health Care of Wisconsin, kicked off the meeting discussing how all hospitals across Wisconsin are important—small and large alike

“We have a clear focus on the issues and how to position ourselves for the future,” said Boatwright. “As a number of our Board members pointed out, health care is our business, but our mission is health.”

According to recent Board and stakeholder surveys, WHA continues to perform at a very high level, providing a multi-faceted “return on investment” for members. Board members commented on WHA’s ability to influence policy and produce results, saying members could not fulfill their mission without WHA. Debra Standridge, Ascension Health’s Regional President for North Region, said, “When we band together, we do have a voice.” This sentiment was echoed by long time WHA Board member Steve Little, who said, “WHA’s leadership, effectiveness and advocacy are undeniable. We do what’s right for the state of Wisconsin.”

Others noted some of WHA’s most significant initiatives start at the annual Board retreat. This year’s meeting focused on looking ahead and maintaining WHA’s top influential position in Wisconsin health care by staying diligent in achieving the five elements that define WHA value—responsive, knowledgeable, influential, impactful and relevant. Board members engaged in thoughtful discussion around using these guideposts to ensure continuing success in a changing world.

Over two days in Minocqua, 26 of WHA’s 30 Board members examined the opportunities and challenges that could “disrupt” health care, particularly advances in technology. The importance of new and strategic partnerships that will help WHA advocate, advance, and lead Wisconsin health care was also a key topic.

“WHA pays close attention to where health care is going, and a big part of that is engaging our members and involving them closely in our work. This helps us craft an agenda and set priorities that are relevant, forward-looking and of value to Wisconsin’s hospitals and health systems,” said Eric Borgerding, WHA President and CEO. “Year after year, our annual retreat has proven to be one our most valuable tools in positioning WHA to succeed, and we are very grateful for the high degree of participation, commitment, and time invested in WHA by our fantastic Board of Directors.”

As in the past, the annual Board retreat will prove instrumental for WHA’s planning and strategic positioning. WHA staff will spend the next several weeks digesting the many takeaways from the retreat, using the information to help craft and guide 2019 annual goals and tee-up the coming rewrite of WHA’s 3-5-year strategic plan.

“WHA never rests on past accomplishments nor assumptions of what is or will always be. Our members are innovative and often ahead of the curve, and we need to always be there with them delivering a dynamic and meaningful agenda,” Borgerding said. “Health care is rapidly evolving, changing, creating opportunities and we are always looking to the horizon to understand our future and strengthen our value proposition. Our Board and our members are our most important partners in this pursuit. They draw the chart, we steer the ship, and they graciously give the time to guide and affirm our efforts.”

This story originally appeared in the July 24, 2018 edition of WHA Newsletter