John Combes, M.D., president of the American Hospital Association’s Center for Healthcare Governance and the AHA’s chief medical officer and senior vice president, will retire in October after almost 12 years leading the association’s governance and physician leadership efforts. Combes also has spearheaded the association’s Physician Leadership Forum; supported the AHA Board of Trustees’ Committee on Research; serves on several national advisory groups on medical ethics, palliative care and reduction of medication errors; and was principal investigator for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s national program to reduce central-line infections.


Issues crucial to trustees focus of fall symposium

Hospital board members and executives can now register for the Center for Healthcare Governance’s Fall Symposium to be held Sept. 18-20 in Boston. Topics will include new approaches for honing governance decision-making and exploring the board’s role in overseeing critically important decisions. Visit


Administration, partners aim to cut organ waiting list

The White House in June announced research investments and other actions to increase organ donation and reduce the waiting list for transplants. They include public-private initiatives to research and develop techniques to bio-fabricate tissues, advance organ and tissue preservation and create an alternative to dialysis as renal replacement therapy, among other actions. In addition, more than 20 organizations, including Donate Life America, will work to drive up donor registrations through social media and other campaigns. The AHA is a partner in Donate Life America.


Toolkit helps hospitals implement CANDOR process

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in June released a toolkit prepared by the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust to help hospital leaders and clinicians communicate accurately and openly with patients and families when something goes wrong with their care. The customizable toolkit uses an AHRQ-developed communication and resolution process called Communication and Optimal Resolution, or CANDOR. “This toolkit helps everyone involved — patients, families, clinicians and administrators — discuss what happened, agree on a resolution and make care safer in the long run," said AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack. Visit

Emergency management

FEMA: National preparedness improves, but more to do

The nation strengthened its preparedness in 2015, but some challenges persist and new ones have emerged, according to the 2016 National Preparedness Report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Planning; public health, health care and emergency medical services; and risk and disaster resilience assessment are three core capabilities in which the nation has developed acceptable levels of performance for critical tasks, but that face performance declines if not maintained and updated to address emerging challenges,” the report states. The report calls for improvement in cybersecurity, economic recovery, housing and infrastructure systems, among other areas. Visit


Guide to engage patients, communities in CHNA process

A new guide from the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative offers hospitals a model for engaging patients, families and community members in the community health needs assessment process. The guide's “Community Health Assessment and Implementation Pathway” provides an eight-step approach to integrating community and patient engagement into the CHNA process. Engaging Patients and Communities in the Community Health Needs Assessment Process was developed by the AHA’s Association for Community Health Improvement and Health Research & Educational Trust affiliates with input from CHNA developers, hospital executives, national experts and patient advocates and support from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Visit