Tag Archives: Head for the Hills 2016

Featured Speaker: Sue Cantrell

We are so excited to see all of you tomorrow at Head for the Hills 2016! To tide you over until then, here is one last session summary from our featured speaker list.


Learn the ways in which Medicaid supports or does not support treatment for Substance Abuse, and how to maintain best practice in ambulatory care or hospital settings for treatment of patients in family practice. Participants will receive practical information on administrative issues concomitant with best standards of care.

HFTH Breakout Session

The following is a synopsis of the third of three breakout sessions we will be offering at Head for the Hills 2016. Participants will be able to select one of the three sessions to attend.

Not every path leads to a hospital or clinic. Join VDH Health Director Melody Counts for an informal chat about the amazing views from a road less traveled.

If you haven’t had the chance to yet, it is still not too late to register!


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: 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.

Head for the Hills Featured Experts

Olivette Burroughs and Justin Crow from the VDH Office of Health Equity will be on hand to provide information about Virginia’s Primary Care Office programs.  Virginia’s Primary Care Office administers or provides technical support for a variety of federally-funded recruitment and retention and shortage designation programs, including:

  • National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Loan Repayment & Scholarship Programs
  • NHSC Site Approval
  • Recruiting providers using the NHSC Jobs Center
  • NURSE Corps
  • Virginia State Loan Repayment
  • The J-1 Visa Program
  • Health Professional Shortage Area Designations
  • Medically Underserved Areas/Populations

Don’t miss out; register for Head for the Hills 2016 today!


Featured Speaker: Jane Bennett

Physicians know how to treat cancer patients on a physiological basis, but what are individuals seeking when it comes to emotional care? How can providers help clients cope with mental health stressors and survivor’s guilt, especially when mental health is not their primary field? What are the top concerns cancer patients would like addressed by their medical teams?

Jane Bennett is a United States Congress federal retiree, former emergency manager, and former town manager.  She is also a six-year, stage two breast cancer survivor, patient advocate, and published contributing author of a compilation of stories written by cancer survivors. Drawing from Jane’s unique encounters and experiences in the world of oncology, this session will highlight key perceptions and critiques of the treatment centers, support groups, and use of social media from the patient’s perspective.

Be sure to catch Jane’s insights at Head for the Hills 2016. Registration is now open.