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.

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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