Case Competitions: Applying Classroom Learning to Real Life Problem Solving

Anthony Stanowski (left) and Ken Hanover.

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s annual Health Administration Case Competition. (At left, I am standing with Ken Hanover, one of the competition judges. Ken has had a long and distinguished career as a healthcare CEO in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Massachusetts.)

This is the twelfth year the University has sponsored the competition and I’ve had the privilege to observe many of them. The UAB competition is open only to students from CAHME-accredited programs.

Seeing the young people who take part in case competitions always makes me feel optimistic about the future of healthcare. The young people who participate in these competitions bring an energy and zeal that suggests they will approach their future positions in healthcare administration in the same way.

More importantly, the case competitions ask these students to develop solutions to real-world problems. The teams are judged by executives from around the United States in different aspects of healthcare. In the UAB competition, students were asked to develop strategies for a rural Tennessee hospital, Jellico Community Hospital (JCH), faced with need to create a sustainable market position by aligning with community needs.

The winning team from the University of Minnesota, from left: Jake Staley, Andrew Lamprecht, and Katherine Klingel; with Christy Harris Lamak, Chair, Department of Health Services Administration at UAB.

The University of Minnesota MHA Program won the competition, followed by Rush University and Johns Hopkins University. The Minnesota team focused on how JCH can increase operational efficiency and profitability through addressing key opportunities for improvement: Clinical Documentation Improvement (CDI) and Revenue Cycle Management.  Through focusing on the community, partnership with other providers, and a primary care physician focus was seen as essential to increase care coordination and drive stakeholder benefits. Through their recommendations, the team sought to have JCH adapt and maximizes its value to the community, becoming an asset in an increasingly value-based world.

The CAHME web site maintains a list of the major healthcare management case competitions in which CAHME-accredited

Rush University participants (from left) Katherine Koo, Gwen Ledford, and Ariann Ippensen during the preliminary round of case presentations.

programs take part, and includes winners of 2017 and 2018 (to date), and a schedule of the remaining competitions in 2018.

Congratulations to all the students who participate in the UAB Case Competition;  the hard work they put into the preparation of the case will help them prepare for their goal of serving others through healthcare.  Thanks to the judges who participated who work to preserve a longstanding tradition of our profession in giving back and mentoring younger people.  Finally, a special shout out to the University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Health Services Administration for their commitment to advancing the quality of graduate healthcare management education.

Anthony Stanowski, DHA, FACHE
President & CEO
CAHME