Small & Rural Hospitals Annual Meeting: June 16-17

Time: 9:00 AM


Crowne Plaza Springfield
3000 S. Dirksen Parkway
Springfield, IL 62703


Registration is open only to IHA-member hospitals and health systems and 2022 IHA Corporate Sponsors.

First staff member per hospital or health system — $300
Each additional staff member* — $275/person
Hospital board members — $175/person
Any one-day registration — $150/person

*The additional registrant(s) must be employed at the same hospital or hospital system corporate office as the first registrant to qualify for this discount.

IHA thanks our 2022 Corporate Sponsors for their generous support.

See our event brochure to learn more about the annual meeting.

Register Online

As healthcare pivots, so must the leaders tasked with restoring purpose and hospital viability. The goal: emerge stronger and better prepared for tomorrow’s challenges. How to get there: with practical strategies and a leadership approach that’s both inspired and extreme. This year’s annual meeting will focus on revitalizing your staff, growing your workforce, and exploring regulatory and financial impacts on sustainability.


DAY 1: June 16

8:30 am — Registration

9 am — Welcome & Introductory Remarks
Ted Rogalski, Administrator, Genesis Medical Center, Chair, IHA Board of Trustees

9:15 am — Inspired Leadership    
Rich Bluni, RN, Senior Director, Huron Consulting, National Speaker and Author

10:30 am — Networking Break        

11 am — President’s Address    
A.J. Wilhelmi, IHA President & CEO

11:15 am — Burnout Affects All of Us: Solutions to Restore Well-Being in Healthcare
Jessica Gold, MD, MS, Assistant Professor and the Director of Wellness, Engagement and Outreach, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

12:15 pm — Luncheon    

1:15 pm — Intensify your Recruitment Efforts through Process, Team and Action Steps

2 pm — Breakout Sessions        

  • Achieving Health Equity: From Assessment to Action
    Lisa Weichman Harries, IHA Assistant Vice President, Health Equity and Policy
    Adam Kohlrus, IHA Assistant Vice President, Quality, Safety and Policy

  • Exploring Recruitment for Retention Strategies
    Michelle Varcho, MBA, SPHR, Director, Education Outreach and Outcomes, 3RNET

2:45 pm — Break        

3:10 pm — The Future of Rural Hospitals: Critical Factors for Growth and Sustainability
Paul Keckley, PhD, Managing Editor, The Keckley Report

4:10 pm — Reaction Panel: The Status of Illinois’ Rural Hospitals    
Moderator: Paul Keckley

4:55 pm — Closing Comments

DAY 2: June 17

8 am — Registration and Continental Breakfast

8:30 am — Welcome    

8:40 am — Federal & State Advocacy Updates
David Gross, IHA Senior Vice President, Government Relations
Sarah Macchiarola, IHA Vice President, Federal Government Relations

9 am — HRSA Resources to Support Rural Hospitals    
Tom Morris, MPA, Associate Administrator, Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

10 am — Break        

10:15 am — Federal Regulatory Update: Impact on Rural Providers    
Martie Ross, Kansas City Office Managing Principal and Director, Center for Rural Health Advancement, PYA

11:15 am — Extreme Leadership for High-Performing Teams    
Urs Koenig PhD, MBA, MS, PCC, International Keynote Speaker, Military Peacekeeper and Ultra-Endurance Competitor

12:15 pm — Closing Comments   


Rich Bluni, RN
Senior Director, Huron Consulting and National Speaker and Author

Bluni is one of Huron’s most sought-after speakers and the bestselling author of several award-winning books: Inspired Nurse, Inspired Journal, Inspired Nurse Too and Oh No…Not More of That Fluffy Stuff!: The Power of Engagement. Bluni has nearly three decades of frontline healthcare and leadership experience across several specialties, including pediatric intensive care, trauma intensive care, flight nursing, behavioral health and emergency medicine.

As a nationally renowned inspirational speaker, Bluni has presented to tens of thousands of people across the U.S. and Canada, frequently as the keynote presenter of major national and state conferences, individual hospital organizations, medical practices, and universities. Through his stories, humor and unique style, Bluni connects heart to mind and people to purpose.

Jessi Gold, MD, MS
Assistant Professor and Director of Wellness, Engagement and Outreach, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis

Dr. Gold is a nationally recognized expert on healthcare worker mental health and burnout, (particularly during the pandemic. She also focuses on using social media and media for mental health advocacy and the overlap between pop culture and mental health. Dr. Gold is an outpatient psychiatrist, seeing faculty, staff, and hospital employees and their dependents.

Dr. Gold’s writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, TIME and Self. She writes a column for InStyle called “I’m A Psychiatrist And…” and is a Forbes contributor. Dr. Gold is working on a book about healthcare worker mental health and burnout during the pandemic. She is a member of the Expert Advisory Council for Paramount’s Mental Health Storytelling Initiative and co-author of the “Mental Health Media Guide.”

Paul Keckley, PhD
Managing Editor, The Keckley Report    

A frequent speaker and advisor to healthcare organizations, Keckley focuses on long-term growth, sustainability and advocacy strategies. He is the managing editor of his weekly newsletter, The Keckley Report, and has published three books and 250 articles. Leading up to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Keckley facilitated sessions between the White House Office of Health Reform and major health industry trade groups to provide sought-after private sector input on the legislation.

Keckley previously served as Managing Director of the Navigant Center for Healthcare Research and Policy Analysis (2014-2015); Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions (2006-2013); in executive administration at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (1998-2006); Chief Executive Officer of PhyCor Management Corporation, the IPA Subsidiary of PhyCor Inc. (1994-1998); and Managing Partner of The Keckley Group, a healthcare research and policy analysis firm (1974-1994).

Keckley serves on the board of Tivity Health and as an advisor to Western Governors University, Erdman, Sullivan Cotter and the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy. He is a member of the Health Executive Network and Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Urs Koenig, PhD, MBA, MS, PCC
Leadership Expert, Military Peacekeeping Commander, Highly Acclaimed Ultra-Endurance Competitor, Executive Coach

Helping people achieve top performance and bringing about transformation is at the heart of everything Koenig does. After his highly successful skiing career, Koenig coached the Swiss University ski team, which won numerous championships worldwide. He then entered the world of ultra-endurance cycling and adventure racing, winning numerous races and achieving several course records.

Koenig was an assistant professor and research fellow at the University of Zurich, Switzerland and the Australian National University, Canberra, as well as adjunct professor at Seattle University.

After his career in academia, Koenig built a highly successful leadership development practice. Over the last 20 years, he has coached more than 250 individual leaders and dozens of leadership teams across three continents. His no-nonsense approach continues to deliver measurable behavioral change for leaders.

Always looking to stretch himself, at age 50, Koenig re-entered the military in 2017 and served as Military Peacekeeping Commander in the NATO mission in the Balkans. Koenig is a recognized thought leader and keynote speaker focusing on how to lead to win in a complex world.

Tom Morris, MPA
Associate Administrator for Rural Health Policy, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Morris oversees the work of the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, which is charged with advising the HHS Secretary on rural health issues. The office, which has an annual budget of $317 million, administers a range of research and capacity-building grant programs that serve rural communities.

Over the course of his federal career, Morris has testified on rural health issues before the U.S. House and Senate. He previously worked in the U.S. Senate and held various policy and program positions within HRSA and HHS. Morris received the HHS Distinguished Service Award in 2012 and a Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 2015.

Martie Ross, JD
Office Managing Principal, Kansas City and Director, Center for Rural Health Advancement, PYA

After two decades as a healthcare transactional and regulatory attorney, Ross now advises providers navigating healthcare regulations. Her deep understanding of new payment and delivery systems and public payer initiatives assists providers seeking to strategically position their organizations for the future. In this role, Ross identifies opportunities and develops realistic plans of action, synthesizes complex regulatory schemes, and explains terms their impact on providers.

She is an active member of the American Health Law Association, Kansas Association of Hospital Attorneys and Greater Kansas City Society of Healthcare Attorneys.

Ross was chosen as a Missouri/Kansas Super Lawyer in 2008 and 2009. She was also chosen as one of the Best Lawyers in America® from 2005 to 2011.

Michelle Varcho, MBA, SPHR
Director of Education, Outreach and Operations, 3RNET

Varcho leads education-related activities for 3RNET Network Coordinators as well as rural and underserved healthcare employers nationwide. She focuses on practical, action-oriented training around 3RNET’s recruiting for retention philosophy. Varcho has over 25 years of experience in healthcare-related human resources at the local and national level.

Prior to joining 3RNET, she was a human resources director for a Federally Qualified Health Center in Jefferson City, Missouri, where she helped the organization grow from five employees in one location to 110 employees in four locations serving over 13 counties. Varcho created and implemented strategies and best practices to overcome the unique barriers to recruiting and retaining providers in rural healthcare and uses this expertise to help inform 3RNET trainings.