2024 Rural Health Care Symposium: Resources

March 4-5, 2024 | Rancho Bernardo Inn

Presentations will be available online only; download today.
Be sure to download the materials in advance; WiFi access on-site may be limited.

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. | Check in, Continental Breakfast & Visit with Exhibitors | Bernardo Foyer
Get your Sponsor Tour Card then meet and visit with our vendors who are committed to the success of rural hospitals. Get a stamp from every vendor to be entered into a raffle.

8:30 – 9:30 a.m. | Critical Access Hospital Breakfast Meeting | Bernardo Ballroom
Join us to continue discussions from the January 4 CAH meeting to collaboratively explore innovative ways to ensure financial sustainability for critical access and rural hospitals.

9:30 – 11:30 a.m. | Rural Seismic Strategy Meeting | Bernardo Ballroom
Trina Gonzalez, Kathryn Austin Scott, and Savannah Tapia, CHA

2030 seismic requirements threaten access to health care in your community, and CHA is actively working on a seismic strategy that aims to provide specific solutions for small and rural hospitals. Come ready to share your ideas and help influence outcomes.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Hosted Lunch | Bernardo Patio

12:30 – 12:45 p.m. | Welcome | Bernardo Ballroom

12:45 – 1:45 p.m. | An Interactive Discussion with Carmela Coyle, CHA President & CEO and Todd Suntrapak, CHA Board Past Chair | Bernardo Ballroom
Presentation not available.
Hear top-level insights and up-to-the-minute updates and pose questions and share thoughts directly with CHA’s CEO and Board Past Chair.

1:45 – 2:00 p.m. | Visit with Exhibitors | Bernardo Ballroom

2:00 – 3:15 p.m. | The Water We Swim In: A State and Federal Landscape Overview | Bernardo Ballroom
Chad Mulvany and Kathryn Austin Scott, CHA

During this session, you’ll receive an overview of CHA’s current advocacy priorities at the federal and state levels.

3:15 – 3:45 p.m. | Visit with Exhibitors | Bernardo Ballroom

3:45 – 5:00 p.m. | Harnessing the Energy of Your Team | Bernardo Ballroom
Wes Avants, Healthcare Leadership Institute and Valerie Lakey, Mayers Memorial Healthcare District

During this interactive session, attendees will be guided through some of The Healthcare Leadership Institute’s Leadership Academy exercises. Walk away with some valuable techniques that inspire hope, optimism, and teamwork with those you lead.

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. | Reception and Exhibitor Show | Bernardo Patio
Mingle with colleagues, enjoy hors d’oeuvres, and engage with companies committed to the success of rural hospitals.

Presentations will be available online only; download today.
Be sure to download the materials in advance; WiFi access on-site may be limited.

8:00 – 9:00 a.m. | Continental Breakfast & Visit with Exhibitors | Bernardo Foyer

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. | Incubate – Igniting the Spark for a Sustainable Community-based Physician Retention & Recruitment Strategy | Bernardo Ballroom
Judson Howe, Adventist Health Howard Memorial

In early 2023, a diverse group of community leaders gathered in Ukiah, CA to discuss ways to improve access to primary care in Mendocino County. This collaborative effort, Incubate, is focused on cultivating an environment for supporting primary care providers through community connection and well-being. This session will orient you on the Community Apgar framework and its foundation to improving provider recruitment and retention.

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. | Financial Sustainability | Bernardo Ballroom
Robert Ducay, CHA & Ryan Witz, District Hospital Leadership Forum

Gain an understanding of the existing financing structures in effect today for rural and district hospitals and hear insights on how the state regulatory environment, recently enacted and anticipated policies, and a new state agency will impact Medicare, Medi-Cal, and other hospital reimbursements in 2024 and beyond. Get the latest details on government directives impacting reimbursement and walk away with strategies for positioning your hospital for success amid a changing financial landscape.

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. | Visit with Exhibitors | Bernardo Ballroom

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Mergers, Affiliations, and Partnerships | Bernardo Ballroom
Jeff Sommer, Stroudwater

Rural hospitals are faced with ensuring lasting health care in their community. Jeff Sommer will share an overview of what’s going on in the industry and provide strategic options for creating innovative affiliations and executing businesses development opportunities.

12:30 – 1:15 p.m. | Hosted Lunch | Bernardo Patio

1:15 – 2:15 p.m. | Concurrent Breakout Sessions (choose one)

  1. Beyond the Health Fair: Community Engagement for Long-term Rewards | Bernardo Ballroom
    Jacqueline Barton True, MSW, MPH and Beth Zborowski, Washington State Hospital Association
    Download Presentation
    Our rural hospitals have a unique relationship with their communities – they are key conveners and anchors of the local health system. WSHA has developed and collected resources to help hospitals convene and lead community conversations and health improvement projects.
  2. HCAHPS and Hospital Finances: What’s the Big Deal? | Granada
    Rochelle Spinkarski, Rural Health Solution
    Download Presentation
    This session will delve into HCAHPS scores, their connection to hospital finances and performance, and how patient satisfaction measurement and reporting are changing.

2:15 – 2:30 p.m. | Exhibitor Raffle | Bernardo Ballroom

2:30 – 3:30 p.m. | CEO Panel moderated by Steve Rousso, Principal at WIPFLI | Bernardo Ballroom
Mary Casillas, CEO at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Center, Minty Dillon, CEO at Good Samaritan Hospital, and Kevin Kramer, CEO at Modoc Medical Center
Presentation not available.
In this popular annual closing session, hear from your peers on how they plan to “set the course” to meet the needs of their rural communities. This year’s topics include 2030 seismic requirements, workforce retention, and financial sustainability. Bring your questions for this interactive session.

3:30 p.m. | Closing Comments | Bernardo Ballroom
Peggy Wheeler, Vice President, Policy, California Hospital Association

Wes Avants 
Executive Director, Leadership Coach 
The Healthcare Leadership Institute

Wes Avants has served as the Executive Director for The Healthcare Leadership Institute since 2012. In that capacity, he has overseen the development and implementation of innovative leadership programs in health care organizations across all regions of the country. Wes has more than 30 years of experience as a consultant, speaker, corporate trainer, leadership coach, and curriculum design consultant.

Mary Casillas 
Hazel Hawkins Memorial Center

Mary Casillas has held the Interim CEO role, now permanent role, of CEO at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (HHMH) since October of 2022. Mary came to HHMH as the COO. With over 29 years of health care experience, she started her career as an X-ray Technologist and went into management within 4 years. She has led the team at HHMH in a turnaround, going from a projected 1.5-day cash on hand to over 50 days in the past 14 months.

Carmela Coyle 
President & CEO 
California Hospital Association
Carmela Coyle began her tenure as president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, the statewide leader representing the interests of more than 400 hospitals and health systems in California, in October 2017. Previously, Ms. Coyle led the Maryland Hospital Association for nine years, where she played a leading role in shaping a statewide, value-driven health care delivery system.

Robert Ducay 
Vice President, Policy 
California Hospital Association 
Robert Ducay serves as Vice President of Policy at the California Hospital Association (CHA). Robert is responsible for developing, advocating, and executing public policies, legislation, and regulations on behalf of CHA member hospitals at the state and national levels. Robert serves as the issue manager for Medi-Cal financing and represents members’ financial interests related to Medi-Cal, which includes the hospital fee, and provides support on financial and reimbursement issues affecting California hospitals and health systems.

Trina Gonzalez 
Vice President, Policy 
California Hospital Association  
Trina Gonzalez serves as vice president, policy at the California Hospital Association (CHA), where she is responsible for developing CHA’s policy positions on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues that affect California hospitals and health systems, including managed care, health care coverage, health information exchange, and community benefits.

Judson Howe
President of North Coast Network
Adventist Health Howard Memorial

Kevin Kramer 
Modoc Medical Center

Valerie Lakey 
Chief Public Relations Officer 
Mayers Memorial Hospital District

Chad Mulvany 
Vice President, Federal Policy 
California Hospital Association 
Chad Mulvany, Vice President, Federal Policy for CHA, is responsible for providing leadership on federal hospital reimbursement issues and contributes on other federal regulatory matters. Based in CHA’s Washington, D.C. office, Mr. Mulvany collaborates with CHA’s leadership, issue managers, and national hospital associations on analysis and policy development for advocacy purposes. 

Steve Rousso, MBA, MPA 

Kathyrn Austin Scott 
Senior Vice President, State Relations and Advocacy 
California Hospital Association 
Kathryn serves as the association’s head lobbyist in Sacramento and directs the California lobbying team. Previously, Kathryn was a partner at Capitol Partners, a Sacramento lobbying firm that she founded over ten years ago. She has over 20 years of experience in public policy and served as a contract lobbyist to CHA for 15 years. She has also represented the United Hospital Association and the District Hospital Leadership Forum among other health care and non-health care clients.  

Jeff Sommer, MPP 
Managing Partner 
Jeffrey Sommer, MPP, is Stoudwater’s Managing Director and leader of Stroudwater’s Affiliations & Partnerships practice. For more than 25 years, Jeff has focused on assisting hospital and health system clients with strategic positioning, executing major strategic initiatives, and conceiving and executing partnerships of all kinds. Jeff’s advisory practice is centered on the nexus of strategy, capital planning, partnerships, and operational performance.  He is passionate about working proactively with health system leadership to define, quantify and mitigate strategic risks.

Rochelle Spinarski 
President and Founder 
Rural Health Solution
Rochelle Schultz Spinarski, President of Rural Health Solutions, is a 25-year veteran of rural health program planning, administration, and evaluation, specializing in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), the Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility (Flex) Program, and quality improvement. Rochelle works for state (including California) Flex Programs, on national projects funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and CMS, and has worked on various projects for most states and on-site in over 400 CAHs.

Todd Suntrapak 
President & CEO 
Valley Children’s Healthcare

Savannah Tapia 
Policy Associate 
California Hospital Association 
Savannah Tapia is policy associate at the California Hospital Association. She advises CHA staff on proposed legislation and regulations that impact hospitals, develops public policy positions and strategy, and advocates for hospitals before legislative and regulatory bodies. Savannah supports CHA’s work on several topics such as seismic compliance, emergency departments, health equity, and environmental hazards.

Jacqueline Barton True, MSW, MPH
Vice President, Advocacy and Rural Health
Washington State Hospital Association
Jacqueline Barton True
 is the Vice President for Advocacy and Rural Health for the Washington State Hospital Association. She is responsible for WSHA’s overall advocacy strategy at the state and federal level and implements programs to improve health and health care delivery in rural Washington State.  Prior to WSHA, Jacqueline worked in the Massachusetts governor’s office and with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Ryan Witz 
Senior Vice President, Finance and Policy 
District Hospital Leadership Forum 
Ryan Witz is a Senior Manager with SCA and the Sr. VP – Finance and Policy for the District Hospital Leadership Forum (DHLF). In his capacity with DHLF, he is responsible for the development of federal and state financial/reimbursement policy on behalf of California’s District hospitals. This includes overseeing DHLF’s advocacy functions and working directly with state regulators in the design and implementation of health care policies that impact District hospitals, as well as the other health care stakeholders that participate with the Districts in this process.

Beth Zborowski
Senior Vice President, Membership Engagement and Communications
Washington State Hospital Association
Beth Zborowski is the Senior Vice President of Member Engagement and Communications at the Washington State Hospital Association. She leads efforts to meaningfully connect members and to elevate the visibility of hospitals to the public in their role as key community resources. Through the pandemic and recent financial challenges, Beth worked with members to craft a proactive approach to telling the hospital story, resulting in increased public understanding and support. Beth began her career as a journalist covering everything from prep sports and breaking news to the Idaho State Legislature.

We would like to thank our corporate sponsors and exhibitors for their support of the 2024 Rural Health Care Symposium.

Angel Flight West is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air transportation within 12 Western US states for those medical and other compelling needs.

California Association of Nurse Anesthesiology (CANA) is the professional association representing over 2,500 CRNAs Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists, also known as nurse anesthesiologists, practicing in California. CRNAs are advanced practice registered nurses who provide safe, quality anesthesia care in every healthcare setting. CRNAs work in every California county where anesthesia is provided, and as the sole anesthesia providers in four rural California counties.

DCAP Claims is a business-to-business antitrust claim filer.

DZA is an accounting and advisory firm. Our clients include critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, community health clinics, and other rural healthcare organizations. Our services include audit, review, and compilation; Medicare and Medicaid cost report preparation and reimbursement consulting; client advisory and accounting services; feasibility studies, and tax. DZA is a team of specialist – not generalists – who offer guidance and strategic planning for stability and growth. Learn more at dza.cpa.

Five Star Bank is an award-winning, publicly traded (Nasdaq: FSBC) community business bank. High-tech and high-touch, Five Star provides clients with boutique business banking services inspired by partnership and defined by shared vision and goals. At Five Star, customers have direct access to their banker at all times. The bank is a customer advocate, community champion and driver of economic development. In 2023, Five Star Bank was named S&P Global Market Intelligence’s #1 Best-Performing Community Bank in the nation (with assets between $3 billion and $10 billion).

Hikma Pharmaceuticals
Some health issues extend beyond individuals. Opioid use disorder impacts families, health systems, faith, and community groups, as well as cities and states. We can unite to tackle the challenges of opioid overdose and addiction. Hikma Community Health™ blends medicine with compassion, collaborating with communities for addiction recovery and opioid safety education.

HUB International

We advise businesses and individuals on how to reach their goals.

When you partner with us, you’re at the center of a vast network of risk, insurance, employee benefits, retirement and wealth management specialists that bring clarity to a changing world with tailored solutions and unrelenting advocacy. So you’re ready for tomorrow.

Mood Health

Mental Health referrals, made easy. Our team of therapists and psychiatrists accept all health plans, including Medi-Cal, and have with availability in two weeks or less, guaranteed.

Health systems, hospitals, and group practices work with us to improve HEDIS measures, reduce cost with at risk patients and ensure their patient populations get the care they need.

Novus Health Systems offers solutions to Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Managed Care, and Commercial receivables issues for Hospitals, Medical Groups, and related industry vendors through two business segments. The software solution segment provides data-aggregation and revenue cycle management tools to Novus’ 150+ subscriber clients via its proprietary web-based BillPro™ application. A subscription to BillPro™ includes access to specialty tools, reference tables, form templates, single instance and batch data-retrieval modules, and analytics/reporting capabilities. BillPro™ utilizes data pulled from multiple sources including remits, eligibility, authorizations, and claims-status information, and makes it all available through one user-friendly application via a single, searchable database. The receivables management segment of Novus delivers expert billing and follow-up services for new and aged Medi-Cal, Medicaid, Managed Care, and Commercial receivables.

Pacific Companies, with over two decades of expertise and headquartered in California, specializes in providing comprehensive Permanent Placement and Locum Tenens services. We provide ourselves on a streamlined approach, offering a singular point of contact for all engagements. Notably, we maintain an industry-leading interview-to-placement ratio of 2:1. Our commitment to excellence is reflected in our distinguished track record of client satisfaction. We are eager to collaborate with your on your most challenging recruitment needs.

Parker Smith & Feek
Founded in Seattle in 1937, Parker, Smith & Feek Insurance, LLC is now part of IMA Financial, an integrated financial services company owned by its employees. Our 1,800associates are empowered to guide our clients to make informed risk management decisions and develop innovative insurance, surety and employee benefits solutions uniquely suited to their needs.

Prevail Insurance Management Services, Inc. provides highly specialized insurance brokerage services focused exclusively on the health care industry. This includes Professional Liability, Workers Comp and General Liability, to name a few, and our clients include hospitals, medical groups and healthcare organizations. As an independent broker, Prevail works with the best solutions in the insurance marketplace, including some that are exclusive, and implements highly effective strategies that will help you improve.

SAVISTA is a full-service revenue cycle services company partnering with hospitals, systems, and physician practices for more than 30 years. Savista provides solutions spanning eligibility and enrollment, health information management, charge description master, accounts receivable management and more. Our global organization delivers quality custom solutions to more than 330 healthcare clients at 770+ facilities across 49 states.

Sound Physicians

Physician-founded and led, our national, multi-specialty medical group is made up of more than 4,000 physicians, APPs, CRNAs, and nurses who practice in 400-plus hospitals across 45 states. With specialties in emergency and hospital medicine, critical care, anesthesia, and telemedicine, our partners have benefited from Sound’s 22 years of experience innovating and leading through an ever-changing health care landscape — with patients at the center of our universe.


As a rural health care organization, you are critical to the health of your community, but staying viable can be challenging in today’s health care environment.

Providers need to manage financial health and navigate digital solutions to push patient care forward — all while staying ahead of regulations and federal policies.

To survive over the long haul, you need guidance that addresses how to right size services for the rural environment. Wipfli’s team of health care consultants helps organizations to see an increasingly complex landscape with clarity and confidence. We take an integrated approach to helping you achieve financial stability, compliance and digital evolution. We draw on successes in working with rural health clinics, critical access hospitals and other providers to build solutions targeting your exact needs.

For additional assistance and other inquiries, email CHA’s Education Department at education@calhospital.org.