Who is the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 association whose membership is comprised of seventeen hospitals and their related health systems in the nine counties of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, Allegany, Steuben, and Chemung. The Association works with various peer groups comprised of representatives from its membership to enhance their organizations' ability to meet the healthcare needs of their communities by sharing information and best practices. We accomplish this through a variety of peer group committees which meet bi-monthly or quarterly throughout the year. These meetings are only open to the membership. The Rochester Regional Healthcare Association works closely with the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) and the American Hospital Association (AHA), collaborating on many issues and activities.

Experts to Discuss Hot Button Issues in Healthcare at Inaugural Conference

Rochester, NY (October 17, 2017) – Rochester Regional Healthcare Association (RRHA) is proud to announce that the First Annual Healthcare Innovations Conference will take place at the RIT Inn & Conference Center on November 15, 2017. This full-day event will feature discussions from national and regional healthcare leaders on the opioid epidemic and patient care coordination. In addition, the conference will feature a speech by New York Times bestselling author, John Nance, a pioneer in medical safety, quality and performance improvement.

“Rochester Regional Healthcare Association has a long history of convening leaders in the healthcare community,” said Travis Heider, President and CEO of RRHA. “As the demands on the healthcare community become increasingly complex, we are more committed than ever to convene thought leadership and provide opportunities for professional development and collaboration.”

The conference, which is presented in partnership with the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), aims to bring together healthcare leaders from across upstate New York to address the serious issues facing our region today. This year’s topics include the current state of American healthcare policy, the opioid crisis, caring for hospitalized patients with difficult behaviors, and strengthening data to improve care coordination. A total of 19 speakers will host breakout sessions and participate in panel sessions scheduled throughout the day.

“Care coordination is essential to improving patient satisfaction and healthcare outcomes,” said Anu Banerjee, M.S., M.H.M. “I’m looking forward to sharing information about a strategic initiative that Arnot Health implemented to reduce readmissions with my colleagues across the state.”

Kicking off the event will be a keynote address from John Nance, a lawyer and a former airline pilot who served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam and Desert Storm. A resident of Seattle, WA, Nance is the author of 19 books that have been published in 32 countries and 18 languages. He is a nationally-known speaker and an analyst for ABC News and Good Morning America. John Nance’s book, “Why Hospitals Should Fly,” argues that hospitals can learn from safety measures instituted in the airline industry. Hospitals must value the opinion of individuals directly involved in patient care and foster a community of trust and mutual respect.

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association is expecting more than 200 people to attend the event. This includes representatives from all of the hospitals and hospital systems in the Rochester area, including UR Medicine (Strong Memorial Hospital, Highland Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Thompson Health, Jones Memorial Hospital, Noyes Memorial Hospital), Rochester Regional Health (Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic, Newark-Wayne Community Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, Unity Hospital), Finger Lakes Health (Geneva General Hospital, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital), and Arnot Health (Arnot Ogden Medical Center). In addition, the Association will host faculty members from 32 other hospitals/healthcare facilities from Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and the Southern Tier.

The press is invited to attend. Event website: https://www.hanys.org/rrha_innovations/agenda/

For more information about the Healthcare Innovations Conference, please contact Mary Beth Walker at 585.273.8186 or mwalker@seagatealliance.com.

Statement on the President's Executive Orders on the ACA:

Yesterday, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Association Health plans that could leave millions of Americans without the affordable comprehensive healthcare coverage they have grown to depend on.

“Essentially, the President’s order would provide individuals and small businesses access to health insurance that goes around state regulations and Affordable Care Act Protections,” says Travis Heider, President and CEO of the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, whose membership is comprised of 17 hospitals and their related health systems in Western New York.

“The President’s recommendation will allow small businesses to offer less expensive policies with fewer benefits to consumers and scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs for people with lower incomes in need of medical attention. While the impact this will have on our hospitals remains to be determined, it will certainly have a large impact on the insurance market in New York and the resources our hospitals need to provide care to people in need,” said Heider.

As this continues to progress, RRHA is committed to working with our colleagues at the American Hospital Association and Hospital Association of New York State to advocate for our members and help enhance their ability to meet the healthcare needs in their communities.

Hospitals' ripple effects on the local economy - RBJ, October 6, 2017

Healthcare providers in Greater Rochester are not only the largest employers in the region – they’re an engine of the local economy. Even at a time when healthcare is facing significant financial challenges, hospitals are investing in capital projects to improve patient care in our community. This in turn provides employment opportunities in construction and information technology. It also promotes green building principles and an overall commitment to sustainability.

One of the largest construction projects in Greater Rochester is currently underway at Rochester General Hospital. The Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care will be a 312,000 square foot addition to the hospital. The new facility will be seven stories tall and will include 23 operating rooms, 108 private patient rooms, 20 private post-partum rooms and 14 special care nursery rooms. Rochester Regional Health expects to spend $300 million in capital projects over the next five years, which will provide 250-300 construction jobs and improve healthcare for residents in the region.

The University of Rochester also has several capital projects underway. Golisano Children’s Hospital recently completed phase two of the $145 million project, which included a new pediatric intensive care unit and new pediatric operating rooms. Previously, children had their surgeries performed in adult operating rooms. In March, UR Medicine also opened an Outpatient Imaging Center/Pediatric Neuromedicine and Behavioral Health Center in a new 90,000 square-foot, three-story building on East River Road. Both projects will help to address the needs of children and families and attract patients from a wide geographic area to Rochester.


In addition, Finger Lakes Health recently underwent a major renovation. Its capital project, “Journey to the Best,” was a $56M expansion and modernization project that transformed Geneva General Hospital with the addition of 106,000 square feet of new construction and 45,000 square feet of renovated space. The project focused on patient care areas and included design elements which reduced risk of infection, increased efficiency, and incorporated new technology.

Other hospitals are making investments in technology. Arnot Health has launched a new Emergency Telepsychiatry program, which connects a patient at Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital with a psychiatrist from the University of Rochester. They can conduct a face-to-face, live, two-way interaction between the patient and the psychiatrist through a HIPPA-compliant streaming service. Although it’s still in the early stages, Arnot Health has received positive feedback on the new program and the time spent in the emergency room has been greatly reduced.

Guthrie Corning Hospital is improving services by upgrading their wiring and the infrastructure of their IT systems. As a result, Guthrie has been named one of the nation's “Most Wired hospitals.” This award is given annually to the top hospitals and health systems in the country for making the most progress in the adoption of health information technology.

In addition to creating jobs, hospitals are seeking to eliminate waste and leverage renewable energy whenever possible. Rochester Regional Health is pursuing LEED Silver certification for construction at the Sands-Constellation Center for Critical Care and the Riedman Health Center at the Ridge-Goodman Plaza. Finger Lakes Health incorporated green roofs and hot water on demand into their capital project.

 Hospitals do far more than just care for patients.  They generate $7.1 billion in economic activity, $888 million in tax dollars and 54,000 jobs for the Greater Rochester Finger Lakes area. They send money back into the communities that they serve, improving the region as a whole and making the Greater Rochester area an attractive place to live and work. 

BSN in 10 - Rochester Business Journal, August 4, 2017

On June 19, 2017, the New York State Legislature passed a bill that would require new registered nurses to attain a Baccalaureate of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN) within 10 years of their initial licensure (A.1842B/S.6768). This bill had bipartisan support and was sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan. Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, which represents 17 hospitals in Rochester and the Finger Lakes, strongly supports this legislation and urges the Governor to sign it into law.

Elevating the nursing profession is one of the most effective strategies to improve the quality of patient care. In fact, “The Future of Nursing” report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences recommended increasing the proportion of nurses with a bachelor’s degree as response to the heightened demands of our health care system and to meet the changing needs of patients.

The bachelor’s degree requirement would apply only to new nursing students after the bill's implementation. All current students, or students on waiting lists to begin a nursing program, would be exempt. In addition, all current registered nurses would be "grandfathered in” and would be exempt.

The legislation also establishes a temporary commission to evaluate and report on barriers to entering into the nursing profession. If enacted, this legislation would take effect immediately; however, the requirement that nurses obtain a baccalaureate degree within 10 years of licensure would take effect 18 months after the legislation becomes law.

BSN in 10 would not eliminate the associate’s degree in nursing. Rather, it would preserve the associate’s degree and its pathway to employment by allowing nurses to practice immediately after achieving their associate’s degree. Online degrees have made it easier for nurses to return to school and further their education on their own time, while maintaining their current employment.

According to a 2014 Nursing and Allied Health Care Professionals Workforce Survey Report by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), there has been a significant increase in the number of hospitals that prefer to hire “BSN-only” nurses. In addition, several hospitals are offering tuition reimbursement, flexible scheduling, and links to BSN programs to assist nurses in furthering their education.

Our health care system is continuing to evolve, and health care providers are engaged in an array of quality and patient safety initiatives in their efforts to improve patient care. This bill is a tremendous step in that direction.

The BSN in 10 legislation is supported by the American Nurses Association – New York (ANA-New York), Coalition for Advancement of Nurse Education (CANE), New York Organization of Nursing Executives and Leaders (NYONEL), 1199 SEIU and the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association urges the governor to take the final step and sign it into law.

Profile on Travis Heider, President and CEO

Rochester Woman Online, Leading Man: President & CEO, TRAVIS HEIDER; Read the story.

Op-Ed in the Democrat and Chronicle - June 14, 2017

Guest Essay: The Disastrous Impact of the AHCA

Right now, the U.S. Senate is considering the American Health Care Act. You’ve probably heard that the AHCA would reduce coverage for 23 million Americans (including 2.7 million New Yorkers) and create a fiscal crisis for New York state through a dramatic reduction of federal support for the state’s Medicaid program. But cuts have consequences.

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, which represents 17 hospitals across Rochester and the Finger Lakes, is deeply concerned that the AHCA would have a disastrous impact on our hospitals, healthcare providers, and their employees. It could jeopardize their status as the economic drivers of our communities.

We can’t afford to put Rochester’s two largest employers at risk. The University of Rochester/UR Medicine is the largest employer in our region with 26,000 employees. Rochester Regional Health is the second largest employer with 15,000 employees.

Combined, their health systems cover 11 hospitals in the Rochester area. Local hospitals create jobs and economic security. For example, Strong Memorial Hospital generates $2.2 billion in economic activity and Rochester General Hospital generates $1.5 billion in economic activity.

The ripple effects are tangible across the Greater Rochester economy. Hospitals in the Rochester area generate $807 million in tax dollars for the local economy. In addition, the benefits to the community are numerous. Adhering to their charitable mission, hospitals regularly cover the cost of care provided to people in need. They subsidize care to low-income and elderly population as well as invest in community health initiatives.

Cutting Medicaid funding would have serious consequences for the most vulnerable members of the Rochester community. Did you know that babies, children, seniors and emergency room services would be impacted? Here are the faces of Medicaid in New York:

  • 1 in 3 children are covered by Medicaid
  • 71 percent of nursing home residents are covered by Medicaid
  • 52 percent of babies delivered are covered by Medicaid
  • 40 percent of ER, clinic visits and outpatient services are covered by Medicaid

Medicaid cuts would have a negative impact on middle class residents in Rochester. If your parents or grandparents are living in a nursing home, it’s likely that they’re receiving health care covered by Medicaid. If the AHCA passes the Senate and is signed into law, it would force some nursing homes out of business, which means residents would have to be relocated, possibly out of Rochester, to other homes that could accept them.

There is no fat to cut – operating margins for hospitals are already very small. In fact, New York hospitals have the second lowest operating margins in the nation. Medicaid only pays 73 cents for each dollar of care, and under the proposed legislation, hospitals would see uncompensated care rise significantly, completely eliminating the very thin margins on which they survive.

The U.S. Senate hopes to pass the American Health Care Act before the July 4th holiday. Please call Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, to voice your concerns, and add your signature to the petition that’s circulated by the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care at www.protecthealthcare.org.

If you live in a district represented by Congressman Chris Collins or Congressman Tom Reed, please call them and ask them to vote against the AHCA if it comes back to the House of Representatives. Additionally, if you live in a district represented by Congressman John Katko or Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, please call them and thank them for voting against these devastating health care cuts.

The time to act is now.

Travis Heider is president and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Association

RBJ Column - May 12, 2017

Proposed Staffing Law Not Conducive To Good Health Care

Hospitals in the Greater Rochester – Finger Lakes region have long been committed to quality, patient-centered healthcare.  A multitude of factors go into a comprehensive approach that leverages state of the art processes, systems and appropriate staffing to meet the unique needs of patients. 

Unfortunately, legislation proposed in the New York State Legislature would impose arbitrary statewide staffing ratios in hospitals and nursing homes that would not improve the quality of care. Instead, it would prevent experienced healthcare professionals from making appropriate staffing decisions to meet patient needs and add $3 billion to the cost of healthcare in New York.

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, which represents sixteen hospitals and health systems across eight counties in Rochester, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier, strongly believes that staffing decisions must remain within local hospitals and nursing homes, and we’ve encouraged our delegation to reject this legislation.

Nursing is the largest healthcare profession in the United States, with more than 3.1 million registered nurses nationwide. Nurses comprise the single largest component of hospital staff, are the primary providers of hospital patient care, and deliver most of the nation’s long-term care. There are more than four times as many registered nurses in the United States as physicians.

Hospitals and nursing homes already develop staffing plans tailored to individual patient care needs. These staffing plans are determined by many factors, including the experience of the staff, the use of technology, the physical layout of the hospital or the nursing home, and the number of clinical and non-clinical staff collaborating with nurses to provide care.

This bill imposes a one-size-fits-all mandate, when one size does not fit all. No two hospitals or nursing homes are the same. Flexibility is crucial to respond to diverse patient needs that can change rapidly. Every patient is different, every nurse is different, and every day is different – therefore, there’s no “magic number” that works in every situation. 

In fact, this legislation could have several adverse, unintended consequences if enacted. If hospitals are required to have a certain number of nurses on staff, other healthcare positions could be eliminated and nurses would have to perform jobs well outside of their current responsibilities – including transporting patients and answering phones – instead of caring for patients.

There’s also a nationwide nursing shortage, due in part to a shortage of nursing instructors. The New York State Department of Labor projects that the need for postsecondary nursing educators in the Finger Lakes region will jump by 34.2 percent by 2024. Without enough registered nurses to fill positions, healthcare facilities would be held to an impossible standard if this bill became law.

California is the only state with mandated hospital-wide ratios. Research has found no direct link between a set, mandated statewide staffing ratio and improved patient outcomes. Instead, Rochester hospitals are pursuing patient care improvement strategies through two initiatives – the New York State Partnership for Patients (NYSPFP) and the Hospital Improvement Innovation Network (HIIN). Both initiatives have shown that focusing on education and evidence-based practices improves patient outcomes, not an arbitrary statewide mandate.

A variety of laws and regulations already ensure accountability to consumers and regulators. Hospitals must comply with a wide array of state and federal requirements under the oversight of the New York State Department of Health (DOH), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and other accrediting organizations. In addition, New York State has enacted several laws related to safe patient handling, including laws to ensure that nurses work no more than their regularly scheduled hours and laws that require the disclosure of staffing plans upon request.

The fiscal implications of this legislation cannot be stressed enough. It would cost New York’s hospitals and nursing homes $3 billion annually and become the largest-ever unfunded healthcare mandate in New York State. This couldn’t come at a worse time - New York’s hospitals already have the second lowest operating margins in the nation and the future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain.

In addition to the Rochester Regional Healthcare Association, government-mandated staffing ratios are opposed by the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS), New York Organization of Nurse Executives & Leaders (NYONEL), Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Iroquois Healthcare Association (IHA), Suburban Hospital Alliance (SHA), Western New York Healthcare Association (WNYHA) and the Healthcare Trustees of New York State (HTNYS).

There are many other ways that the Legislature could support nurses and other healthcare workers. New York could increase the proportion of nurses educated at the baccalaureate level (A.1842/S.3520 sponsored by Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle), provide state funding for scholarships and loan forgiveness programs, ensure that registered nurses can work to the full extent of their education, increase the use of evidence-based protocols and reduce unnecessary documentation to free up time for patient care.

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association values the judgement and experience of our Rochester area nurses and healthcare professionals who work hard every day to deliver the best care possible. Local decision-making is critical and should not be curtailed by an arbitrary statewide mandate.

Submitted by: Travis Heider, President and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Association

Rochester Regional Healthcare Association is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 association whose membership is comprised of sixteen hospitals and their related health systems in the eight counties of Monroe, Livingston, Ontario, Wayne, Seneca, Yates, Steuben, and Chemung. 

Proposed Staffing Law Not Conducive To Good Health Care
Proposed Staffing Law Not Conducive To Good Health Care

Press Release

Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates Opposes American Healthcare Act (AHCA)

March 21, 2017 - Statement by Travis Heider, President and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates:

Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates (RRHA) is opposed to the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) because it would significantly reduce health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, reduce federal funding for Medicaid, create a fiscal crisis for New York State and have a devastating financial impact on Rochester area hospitals and health systems.

  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the AHCA could eliminate health insurance for 24 million Americans; New York State projects that it could impact nearly one million New Yorkers.
  • The AHCA would create a fiscal crisis for New York State through a dramatic reduction of federal support for the state’s Medicaid program. Over four years, New York State would lose $4.6 billion and at least $2.4 billion a year by fiscal year 2020.
  • Additionally, RRHA is concerned about the recent proposal to shift Medicaid costs from New York’s counties to the state government. Instead of providing relief to taxpayers, New York State would be forced to raise taxes or make huge cuts in spending, which could put hospitals and their patients at risk.
  • Hospitals and health systems cannot sustain fewer insured patients in addition to funding cuts. Many healthcare providers in our region already have fragile financial situations that would be exacerbated by this legislation.
  • The top two employers in Rochester are the University of Rochester/UR Medicine and Rochester Regional Health. Hospitals in the Rochester area are responsible for 54,000 jobs and generate $7.1 billion in economic activity. We cannot afford to pass legislation that threatens our healthcare and our local economy.
  • RRHA urges the New York Congressional delegation to vote against the bill.

2016 Rochester Regional Healthcare Association Report Card

RRHA Headlines

Repealing the Affordable Care Act Could Cost Rochester Area Hospitals Up to $1.4 Billion

Rochester, NY (January 4, 2017) – The Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates is opposed to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act without an immediate and meaningful replacement because it could be financially damaging to hospitals in the Rochester area and reduce access to coverage for thousands of New Yorkers. Congress is expected to start to address the issue today.

“We need to protect upstate New York hospitals from potentially damaging cuts,” said Travis Heider, President and CEO of Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates. “Many hospitals in New York are already financially vulnerable. New York’s average hospital operating margin of 1.3 percent is the second worst in the nation, far below the national average of 6.4 percent. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate replacement would seriously harm many hospitals, including hospitals in the Greater Rochester area.”

In addition to providing needed care 24/7/365, Rochester hospitals are a major force in the local economy. Hospitals in the Greater Rochester Region deliver care to 6.4 million patients, generate over $7.2 billion dollars in economic activity, produce over $807 million in tax dollars for local economies, provide $469 million in care for the underserved and are responsible for more than 53,000 jobs.

According to the Healthcare Association of New York State, repeal of ACA would cost Greater Rochester Hospitals up to $1.4 billion over the next ten years.

“Hospitals and health systems across New York State are making strides in transforming care delivery to reduce costs while improving care quality. This transformation requires substantial investment, long-term commitment, reconfiguration of care delivery, and accepting risk and responsibility for healthcare in entire communities,” said Amy Pollard, President and CEO of UR Medicine/Noyes Health and Chair of the Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates. “A repeal of the ACA without replacement would pull the rug out from under all of us.”

A repeal of ACA in whole or in part should only be pursued if replacement is simultaneous and meaningful: 

  • for patients in the form of affordable, robust, and continuous health coverage at least as expansive as under ACA
  • for the State of New York and its localities that jointly support Medicaid
  • for hospitals and health systems that need predictable and reasonable public and private coverage policies and payments to continue the transformation of the healthcare system, safeguarding access to care for all New Yorkers

“The Rochester Regional Healthcare Advocates stands with the Greater New York Hospital Association and Healthcare Association of New York and urges Washington to avoid actions that could compromise New York hospitals,” said Heider.

On Tuesday, Jan. 3, all three organizations released the following joint statement:

“The need to protect and strengthen New York hospitals has never been greater. Scores of hospitals across the state are financially vulnerable. Moreover, New York’s average hospital operating margin of 1.3 percent is the second worst in the nation, far below the national average of 6.4 percent. Repealing the Affordable Care Act without an immediate and meaningful replacement will worsen this situation. It will seriously harm upstate New York hospitals and the patients they serve. We urge Washington to avoid actions that could compromise access to care for all New Yorkers.”

For more information about RRHA’s position on this matter, contact Mary Beth Walker at 585.273.8186 or mwalker@seagatealliance.com.

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