The Texas Hospital Association recently kicked off the 2023 class of its Leadership Fellows Program, the association’s premier leadership development cohort.
Since 2014, the program has provided health care leaders with in-depth knowledge of the legislative and regulatory process while educating them on priority health care policy issues and connecting them with key stakeholders and policy decision-makers in Texas. The Leadership Fellows Program also aims to help its participants grow as leaders and become fully equipped to lead policy discussions, drive integration and create environments that enable the best possible patient care outcomes for their hospitals or health systems.
Each year, the cohort meets in Austin four times for program modules which consist of policy core competencies, real-time legislative updates, communications and presentation strategies, leadership and engagement, and CEO insights. In addition to lectures, panel discussions and project development, fellows participate in competition and mentoring components as well.
As I’ve been involved with THA in different capacities over the years, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the work that THA does in advocating for its member hospitals and for our patients. I decided to join the Leadership Fellows Program, as a way for me to not only further my relationships within THA and with other hospital leaders across the state, but also to be able to collaborate with these leaders to hopefully help hospitals meet some of the challenges that we’re all facing.Jason Wren, CEO, Wise Health System
As the health care industry and policy landscape evolves, so does the curriculum of the Leadership Fellows Program. Fellows work with THA’s advocacy staff to become familiar with the issues each lobbyist works on so they can engage with them on issues their organizations face. Fellows are also exposed to legislators or legislative staffers, resources at state agencies like HHSC or DSHS as well as established hospital CEOs from across the state.
With 2023 being a legislative session year, there is no better time for participants to observe the legislative process in full swing and gain up-to-the-minute legislative updates on hearings, testimony, bill movement and more.
THA’s Senior Director of Education and Governance Programs Lindsay Thompson shared, “At its core, the Leadership Fellows Program exists to educate hospital leaders on the legislative process so when we’re doing that in a legislative session year, not only do the fellows get to see the process play out in real time but they can use those insights to advance their work on their capstone projects.”
Every class of the Leadership Fellows Program completes a capstone project that focuses on key issues facing the health care industry. In the past this has included Medicaid expansion, behavioral health access, the impacts of COVID-19 on Texas hospitals and workforce issues. This year’s group is taking a comprehensive approach with small groups focusing on hospital funding, public and community health, health equity, behavioral health and health care coverage, which parallels the THA’s policy priorities in the current legislative session.
I joined THA’s Leadership Fellows Program because I wanted to learn more about the legislative process and how decisions that impact health care delivery and outcomes are made at a level beyond the hospital system that I work in – everything from understanding how decisions are made and what the priorities, trends, and barriers are to making those decisions, to the resources and levers we can use to impact those decisions. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to connect with peers and colleagues across the state who work in health care and health care leadership.Khalid Almoosa, M.D., MBA, Chief Medical Officer, Memorial Hermann Katy and Cypress
This year, the fellows’ capstone projects involve a new component that requires each participant to put together and deliver mock testimony on the issue they are working on.
“By adding this component in a legislative session year, fellows have the opportunity to witness THA’s advocacy staff and THA member hospitals testifying at the capital on the same issues they are working on,” Thompson explained.
At the conclusion of the program, the cohort has the necessary tools to be effective health care advocates at the community, state and federal levels. The cohort also joins the growing alumni network of over 150 health care executives that provides long-term connections and resources for fellows as they continue in their careers in health care.
Thompson also noted that this year’s class participants are split almost 50-50 between urban and rural hospital leaders, proving the increasing interest and participation by leaders from rural hospitals across the state.