5 strategic priorities for AHA from today to 2020

The American Hospital Association (AHA) has released its strategic plan for the next three years, a time which will be filled “opportunities and challenges” that are “amplified in light of a new presidential administration and shifts in legislative activity.”

“This plan is far from static, as each day brings new information from a changing political landscape, new technologies and regulatory shifts,” wrote AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. “Additionally, the health care field and our members provide new lessons and insights that are continually folded into our strategy. This plan is our most current thinking on where we are and where we need to go to meet the needs of our patients and communities.”

One common theme in the eight-page strategic plan is “redefining the ‘H’” to include health systems and organizations, not just hospitals. To create a path towards that more interconnected healthcare system, the AHA laid out the following broad priorities for 2017 through 2020:

1. Advocating for Access and Coverage: This category didn’t mention the potential rise in uninsured rates from repealing the Affordable Care Act. Instead, the goal was described as “preserving access to healthcare through existing and alternative models,” while ensuring any new payment models “keep pace with modern healthcare delivery.”

2. Payment and Delivery Reform: The continued transition to value-based care was included on a list of driving forces which will influence the work of hospitals and health systems. The AHA’s goal is to make hospitals are paid enough “to do their jobs well” in those new models.

3. Performance Improvement: The AHA wants to promote “high-reliability organizations by improving efficiency and outcomes” that have measurable impacts on costs, production, and patient outcomes.  

4. Shaping the Future Workforce: Workforce goals for the AHA include increasing diversity at all levels “to reflect the community served” and offering the right kind of training to “ensure the right competencies for high-quality patient care.”

5. Telling the Story: Part of the AHA’s advocacy will deal with public relations for hospitals and promoting their benefits to local communities. The strategy for the next few years will involve advancing “community outreach, population health and new models of care, while addressing social determinants of health to further demonstrate the critical value of the hospital to a community.”