How do you build a better succession plan? The answer may be different for each chapter, but inside each individual chapter's method are ideas waiting to be mined and molded to fit another chapter's unique situation.

What if your succession plan was all part of a bigger plan that incorporated education, networking, and member and volunteer recruitment? It would be like strategic planning on steroids, which may be why the New Jersey Chapter took home the Shelton Award in 2011.

The New Jersey Chapter has created a variation on the farm team to develop its roster of leaders. It starts with a grassroots education program. We sat down with New Jersey President John Brault and he explained how it works.

The Committees

It all starts with the chapter's seven standing committees that meet on a regular basis as forums:
• CARE (Compliance, Audit, Risk, and Ethics)
• FACT (Finance, Accounting, Capital, and Tax)
• Managed Care
• Patient Access
• Patient Financial Services
• Regulatory and Reimbursement
• Revenue Integrity


Each committee is charged with putting on a monthly forum- a roundtable discussion with the focus on knowledge sharing. Each forum draws nearly 40-50 attendees each month. Providers go to the forum that interests them for hyper-targeted education and information gathering.

Since these are committee meetings, there is a brief business portion of the meeting that does not count toward education hours. The discussion portion of the forum follows the business meeting and that portion counts as chapter education. A committee may bring in speakers, says Brault, "but everyone around the table is an expert and can speak to different processes." There are generally standing topics or agenda items-for example, the PFS Forum has changes to Medicare and Medicaid as a standing agenda item.

In addition, each forum committee is responsible for putting on one education program each year. The committees know exactly what their forum participants want to hear, so it's easier for the committee chair to identify the topics and speakers that their target audience will love than it would be for the chapter's program chair, who is responsible for programming with broader interest. As an added bonus, since the forums have a base of regular attendees who know the quality of the programming, they already have a group of 30-40 committed participants who are likely to attend the longer program. 


Each committee has a LISTSERV to notify members of upcoming meetings and to allow forum members to communicate between meetings. The LISTSERV component has added value for providers, says Brault. If Medicare suddenly starts to deny certain claims without prior notice, the PFS group shoots a message out to the entire LISTSERV. "Phones start ringing and every CFO in the state is aware at once," says Brault.

"We've also had times when participants share the savings they've netted as a result of what they learned in the forum, says Brault. We had one participant tell us he could point to $10 million in previously unidentified revenue his organization recovered as a result of things he learned in the forum." You just can't buy that kind of endorsement.


Forum participants don't have to be HFMA members to participate, but that status often changes quickly. "Essentially, participants are getting targeted education, they see the value in the chapter, and the value in HFMA," says Brault.  "We peer pressure the heck out of them once they're there-basically we are feeding them the Kool-Aid"

Volunteer Recruitment

"It's much easier to get somebody to agree to run their forum meeting than it is to get somebody to chair our institute committee or to become a newsletter chair," says Brault. But once the member takes that first step in a leadership roll, it's easier for the chapter to assess their commitment and effectiveness as a leader and the member can see the benefits of volunteering firsthand.

Succession Planning

It's really hard to recruit people to volunteer on the education committee especially if they don't have experience in a group. Talk to anybody from New Jersey and you'll hear about how it's difficult to get anybody to volunteer, but having this group of chairs and co-chairs- we have 14 people who are handling these topical forum committees-gives us a stable of folks we can draw from. It's a starting point for our conversation about new directors on the board," says Brault. "I couldn't imagine being in a situation where we didn't have that base to draw from."


Publication Date: Thursday, September 27, 2012