Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting

Join IHA President and CEO A.J. Wilhelmi in Springfield for the 2023 IHA Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting, focused on financial stability, innovations and the future of rural healthcare.

Event Details

Building a vibrant rural health system means keeping one eye on the present with another solidly focused on the future. This year’s annual meeting will tackle today’s top issues—financial stability, regulatory challenges, staffing and workplace violence—while looking to the future of rural healthcare.

June 28, from 8:30 am – 4:45 pm
June 29, from 8:30 am – noon

Meeting Location: Bank of Springfield Center

Hotel: President Abraham Lincoln Springfield - a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

See our program webpage for information on registration options, continuing education credits and the program agenda.




Featured Sessions


A Path Forward: The Rural Healthcare System of the FutureKeynote Address
Keith J. Mueller, PhD, Gerhard Hartman Professor, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Iowa and Director, Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis, Rural Policy Research Institute

Small and rural hospitals are often the only providers of health-related services in the communities you serve. With this awesome responsibility comes significant challenges like staff shortages, increased costs and other financial pressures. To guide you on a sustainable path forward, rural healthcare expert Keith J. Mueller, PhD, will pinpoint opportunities to strengthen rural healthcare within changing delivery and finance models. This enlightening keynote address will answer this pivotal question: What does the rural healthcare system of the future look like?

The Future of Work Is Human: Transforming Your Organization in a New Era
Lisa X. Walden, Good Company Consulting Co-Founder
Moderated by Mark Gridley, President and CEO, FHN Memorial Hospital and
Chair, IHA Small and Rural Hospital Constituency Section

Our brave new world of work puts people first, abolishes burnout and embraces flexibility. This thought-provoking session will inspire you to courageously create a work environment that serves both your organization and your employees. With a new approach, you can leave behind what’s familiar and comfortable for what’s engaging and fulfilling for your staff. Following her presentation, we’ll have a discussion with our workplace expert on reimagining the future of work in hospitals.


Rural Healthcare Regulatory Roundup
Martie Ross, Kansas City Office Managing Principal, PYA      

For over three years, hospitals have been operating with greater flexibility and increased federal funding. The shift from the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency—expected to end May 11—has major implications for small and rural hospitals. This session, led by policy expert Martie Ross, will unpack COVID-related changes and other top regulatory issues impacting small and rural hospitals. You’ll get practical tips and best practices to navigate the changes, achieve compliance and strengthen hospital operations.

Navigating a Changing Market: Strategies for Rural Hospital Financial Stability
Eric Shell, CPA, MBA, Chairman, Stroudwater

Outside competitors continue to disrupt healthcare—propelling the industry’s accelerated evolution—as small and rural hospitals confront increased financial pressures. Hospital leaders will continue to face increasing pressure from competitors unless they adapt to new market realities and rewrite the functional imperative of their rural health system. Offering best practices and strategies, this session will help you leverage your market position and improve financial and operational performance—while coexisting with outside competitors.

Alex Weber, American Ninja Warrior, Award-Winning Leader and Entertainer

When things get tough, do you quit or commit? To accomplish a goal, solve a problem and take your organization to the next level, you must choose to commit. In this exhilarating closing session, you’ll learn about the five keys of being unstoppable so you can achieve peak leadership and performance. From his start as an American Ninja Warrior host to a contestant himself, Alex Weber will show you how to overcome challenges though his battle-tested system. You’ll gain energy and become more productive and a better problem solver. Get ready to become unstoppable!



2023 Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting


This year’s IHA Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting, ““Milestones in Rural Health,” will dive into key issues of financial stability, workplace violence, health equity, and the future of work and of rural healthcare. Join us in Springfield on June 28-29!

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