Leadership Health Care heads to D.C.

Friday, March 16, 2012 at 1:57pm
By Cindy Sanders
Judith Byrd 

Leadership Health Care, an initiative of the Nashville Health Care Council, is finalizing plans for its 10th annual Delegation to Washington, D.C., to take place March 21-22.

The trip includes briefings, panel discussions and a special 10th anniversary reception and dinner featuring former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs as the keynote speaker.

“We are thrilled to offer a top-notch program schedule this year with two half-days of programming featuring some of the industry’s top executives, thought leaders and administration officials,” said Judith Byrd, LHC director.

Those on tap to address the delegation include the following:

• Jonathan Bush — co-founder and CEO of athenahealth

• Sheila Burke — senior public policy advisor for Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz

• Rich Deem — senior vice president for Advocacy for the American Medical Association

• Karen Ignagni — president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans

• Charles N. Kahn, III — president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals

• U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN)

• U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)

• U.S. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)

• U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)

“Enthusiasm for this signature trip has only grown from strength to strength as LHC continues to showcase timely and relevant policy issues for its membership and expose policy decision-makers to Nashville’s unique and impressive health care expertise,” Byrd noted. “As LHC has grown over the years, so has momentum around this trip.”

The first delegation, under the banner of Young Health Care Leaders (now LHC), made its inaugural foray to D.C. in 2003, not long after the Nashville Health Care Council established the organization to foster the next generation of leadership for Nashville’s health care industry. Byrd said that first trip included 33 delegates. Last year, approximately 100 participated in the trip.  

The impetus behind the first trip and the 10th anniversary delegation, Byrd said, remains the same: to enrich the next generation of Nashville-based health care industry leaders.

“As part of that, it became clear that a program such as the delegation to Washington, D.C., was needed to give future leaders a close-up view about healthcare policy and the decision-makers on Capitol Hill,” Byrd said.

Ten years later, LHC’s delegation to Washington, D.C., remains a helpful program, Byrd said.

“As a heavily regulated industry, Nashville’s healthcare leaders have — and will continue to maintain — a keen understanding of the nation’s healthcare policy landscape,” she said, adding that reimbursements and the regulatory impact on operations are of particular significance and interest.

LHC has developed a reputation for uncanny timing when it comes to delegations to Washington, D.C., and Wall Street. The groups always seem to be on site at a momentous time. In fact, the 2010 D.C. delegation arrived the day after President Barack Obama signed health care reform into law. And the 2011 New York City group visited during the rancorous debt ceiling debate and at the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“Despite seeing fewer health care-related bills on the Hill since health reform was enacted, the provisions of the law continue to unfold rapidly on the regulatory side,” Byrd said. “The national economic recovery is also key as lawmakers weigh provider reimbursement and entitlement spending in the federal budget. All of these operational unknowns are exasperated by the Supreme Court deliberations on reform and the upcoming presidential election.”