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HFTH 2016 Accommodations

Check out these photos we received of the cabins at Hungry Mother State Park, the location of Head for the Hills 2016!


Accommodations for you and your guests are included with registration, but only one cabin is left. After the on-site beds are filled, attendees will be given rooms at the nearby EconoLodge in Marion, Virginia.

Don’t miss out on your chance to experience all this conference has to offer! Register now.

HftH 2016 is heading to…

Head for the Hills 2016 will be held for the first time in picturesque Hungry Mother State Park. Accommodations are included with registration and will be provided on-site, in homey cabins nestled in the woods, nearest to the 108-acre lake.

Hike, bike, or just enjoy the beginning of the autumnal season during your free afternoons and evenings; the educational program concludes after lunch on both days. Breakfast, light mid-morning refreshments, and catered lunches will be provided, with the assistance of a former chef of Martha Washington Inn & Spa. For any of your other needs, the town of Marion, Virginia is only a quick jaunt away.

We hope you can join us this year; it is sure to be a weekend you won’t want to miss! Reserve your spot now.

Featured Speaker: William Hazel, Jr.

GMEC is pleased to welcome the Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. William Hazel, as one of our session speakers during Head for the Hills 2016. Highlights from his official state biography are included below. 

“William A. Hazel Jr. is serving his second term as Secretary of Health and Human Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia, a post he took in January 2010…During his first term as Secretary, he led the Virginia Health Reform Initiative, helped establish the Virginia Center for Health Innovation, and served as the Founding Chair of ConnectVirginia, Virginia’s health information exchange…He also has co-chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response with the Secretary of Public Safety and the Lieutenant Governor, and co-chairs the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse with the Secretary of Public Safety…Prior to his appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Hazel spent 22 years as an orthopedic surgeon in Herndon, Virginia”.

Dr. Hazel will be offering an address on the state of healthcare in southwest Virginia.

We are still accepting conference registration forms.

Featured Speaker: Nora Blankenbecler

Nora Blankenbecler is the Director of the Health Information Management program at Mountain Empire Community College, and one of our featured speakers at this year’s Head for the Hills Conference. Her session on Clinical Documentation Improvement programs is sure to be packed with all kinds of information on medical documentation and is definitely a talk you won’t want to miss!

“The purpose of a CDI (Clinical Documentation Improvement) program is to initiate concurrent and, as appropriate, retrospective reviews of inpatient and outpatient health records for conflicting, incomplete, or nonspecific provider documentation. These reviews usually occur on the patient care units or can be conducted remotely (via the electronic health record). The goal of these reviews is to identify clinical indicators to ensure that the diagnoses and procedures are supported by ICD-10-CM codes. The method of clarification used by the CDI communications are also methods used to make contact with physicians and other providers. These efforts result in improvement in documentation, coding, reimbursement, and severity of illness (SOI) and risk of mortality (ROM) classifications.”

The need for complete and accurate documentation has taken a more important role with recent changes, beginning with the adoption of Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Groups (MS-DRGs) in 2007 for hospital inpatient prospective payment in order to better reflect the patient’s severity of illness (SOI) and expected risk of mortality (ROM). The patient’s principal diagnosis and co-morbid conditions determine these two assessments. In October 2008, CMS began to require a Present on Admission (POA) indicator for all coded diagnoses to identify conditions that are present when a patient is admitted from those that are acquired once in the hospital. In addition, drivers in the Medicare Advantage or Part C payment structure rely heavily on clinical documentation and coding for capturing of clinical diagnoses. This coded data drives reimbursement structure and captures resource intensity care. Coupled with these developments, healthcare continues to experience the scrutiny of compliance and regulatory bodies that require more accurate and specific data. Improved clinical documentation plays a part in compliance with national core measures.

We are still accepting new registrants but the deadline is fast approaching. Don’t delay!


Featured Speaker: Thomas Ward Bishop

Head for the Hills 2016 is fast approaching! Are you still looking for a reason to join us? Why not attend Dr. Thomas Ward Bishop’s presentation, entitled “BREAKING BAD NEWS: Communicating a Difficult Diagnosis or Lifestyle Change”?

Breaking bad news is not something that most providers are eager to try. Dilbert’s advisor Dogbert says: “Never break bad news…it will only get you in trouble.” And stories abound about how unskilled physicians blundered their way through an important conversation, sometimes resulting in serious harm to the patient. Many patients with cancer, for example, can recall in detail how their diagnosis was disclosed, even if they remember little of the conversation that followed, and they report that physician competence in these situations is critical to establishing trust.

Some providers contend that breaking bad news is an innate skill, like perfect pitch, that cannot be acquired otherwise. This is incorrect. Providers who are good at discussing bad news with their patients usually report that breaking bad news is a skill that they have worked hard to learn. Furthermore, studies of physician education demonstrate that communication skills can be learned, and have effects that persist long after the training is finished.  The aim of this presentation will be to review specific skills and strategies in addressing “bad news” with patients and their families.  There will be active engagement and participation from participants.

Reserve your seat now!

Featured Speaker: Kathy Hosig

What will you be doing September 30? Why not join us at GMEC’s annual conference and retreat, Head for the Hills, and learn from our featured experts while enjoying southwest Virginia’s natural beauty?  For just a taste of what we will be offering, take a look at this session summary for Dr. Kathy Hosig, included below.

Nutrition Tips for Your Patients 

Rural residents often face unique and significant barriers to following advice regarding diet and physical activity.  Issues such as poverty, access to healthy foods and safe opportunities for physical activity, lack of social support and limited health literacy may make achieving lifestyle change particularly difficult.  Lessons learned from working with rural and underserved populations will be shared.  Specific examples of strategies to help patients follow your recommendations will be discussed.

Kathy Hosig, PhD, MPH, RD, Associate Professor
Director, Virginia Tech Center for Public Health Practice and Research
Department of Population Health Sciences
Virginia Tech

Don’t miss out; reserve your seat today!

Featured Speaker: Sarah Hazelwood, DO

What are some of the topics that will be discussed at this year’s Head for the Hills conference? Check out the description of Dr. Sarah Hazelwood’s presentation below!

“Don’t head for the hills: Managing psychotropic side effects in the primary care setting”

A discussion of commonly prescribed psychotropic medications that primary care physicians may encounter, including drug side effect profiles, and strategies to manage those side effects.

Registration is now open.