Federal cost containment initiatives were the top healthcare policy agenda item in 1981. The Newsletter of the American Society for Hospital Risk Management reported on the implications of Medicare reimbursement practices resulting from cost containment, and society President McCollum described risk management as a "classic cost containment effort."
The board established several task forces and committees during its first meeting in 1981. An executive committee comprising the immediate past-president (Salman), president (McCollum), president-elect (Troyer), and the board's representative to AHA's Council on Affiliated Societies (Parker) provided advice and support to the society's president between board meetings.
The third society meeting, in what would become an annual conference cycle, was held in Orlando. Florida was the first state-affiliated chapter to welcome the annual conference, host an evening of entertainment and offer an attendee conference gift bag.
ASHRM also sponsored separate programs on risk management topics during the year, and the ASHRM Newsletter was published quarterly.
Federal cost containment initiatives were having a significant effect on the environment in which hospital risk managers were operating. Passage of Public Law 97-248-the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA)-required creation of a prospective payment plan for Medicare.
President Troyer negotiated the terms of formal working relationships with AHA-affiliated societies and non-AHA-affiliated organizations such as the National Association of Quality Assurance Professionals.
David Meyers, a risk management specialist with the Chicago Hospital Risk Pooling Program (CHRPP), became society director. The annual conference was held in Las Vegas; at the business meeting, voting members approved revised and expanded membership categories.
The society continued to offer special interest educational programs throughout the year, including "Risk Management Perspectives: Loss Control and Loss Prevention with the Psychiatric Patient" and "Risk Financing and Principles of Insurance for the Hospital Risk Manager."
The implementation of diagnosis-related groups (DRGs), the new Medicare prospective payment system, dominated the risk management profession. In a Hospitals magazine interview, AHA President Alex McMahon noted that the new Medicare reimbursement model had changed the incentives for hospitals "from rewarding spending, to rewarding cost-consciousness."
The annual conference in Boston featured the first exhibitors' area. The meeting included keynote sessions on Medicare DRGs and other federal legislative developments.
The society offered regional educational programs during the year on "DRGs and Risk Management: Prospective Pricing's Impact on Hospital Liability" and "Loss Control and Loss Prevention with the Psychiatric Patient." The survey of "Hospital Risk Management Responsibilities and Salaries" was launched.
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W. ERNEST "ERNIE" MCCOLLUM, 2nd president (1981)
McCollum was president of his own healthcare consulting firm in Atlanta when he died on Feb. 17, 1999. In his "Message from the President" in the Newsletter of the American Society for Hospital Risk Management (March 1981, Vol. 1, No. 1), he observed:
"Our challenge as hospital risk managers is to provide a safe and secure environment for patients, employees and visitors. Our job is to manage risk and assure quality despite the problems and increasing controls that we encounter. In the risk management profession, problems are opportunities, and all of our efforts are needed more than ever to formulate solutions. … As risk managers, we must keep in mind that our ultimate product is a safe environment in which the best possible patient care can be rendered at a reasonable cost."
How did you enter the profession, and what were the most significant accomplishments of your term?
GLENN T. TROYER, 3rd president (1982)
Profession: While teaching health law at Ohio State University's Graduate Program in Hospital and Health Services Administration in 1975, I structured one of the management courses to include a section on risk management and invited Steve Salman-who at that time was one of only two or three hospital risk managers practicing in the state-to speak to my class. As a result, I gained a better understanding of the role of a hospital risk manager and greater appreciation for the value of risk management activities in the healthcare industry. In 1978, I left academia for a position as General Counsel and Director of Risk Management of Methodist Hospital of Indiana, a large teaching and research hospital in Indianapolis.
Accomplishments: The first major accomplishment was the development of ASHRM's bylaws, which among other things, allowed risk managers outside healthcare settings (e.g., insurance companies, consulting and law firms) to be associate members. This provision helped the organization continue to grow. The second was the development of a publications committee to encourage the publication of articles, books and papers specifically oriented to healthcare risk managers.
WILLIAM RYAN, 4th president (1983)
Profession: In 1968, I became insurance manager of the University of Michigan; my office was responsible for all university risk management, including medical, dental and health facilities.
Accomplishments: Creating an atmosphere of openness that helped us diversify the membership; promoting the development of state and regional affiliations; and expanding individual memberships and professional contributions.