Imaging stakeholders get ready to ‘rock out’ in the Rockies

By Aine Cryts

Attending an industry conference for the first time can be intimidating. That’s why Bill Algee, FAHRA, CRA, president of AHRA: The Association for Medical Imaging Management, will make an effort to introduce new attendees to veterans at the AHRA 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition, which takes place in Denver from July 21-24. Kicking off this year’s event is Sunday’s welcome reception, where the connections will truly be made.

Algee, the director of imaging services at Indiana’s Columbus Regional Hospital, wants new attendees to have a “buddy” to talk to when they go to the president’s reception, which occurs immediately after the welcome reception. He describes the four-day annual meeting as “more of a family reunion than an industry conference.”

One of the first-time attendees of this year’s meeting will be Dan Kelsey, who moved into the role of AHRA’s CEO in December 2018. Kelsey says he got a “small taste” of the AHRA experience at the association’s Spring Conference, which took place in San Antonio in March. There, he witnessed Algee mingling among AHRA’s members and introducing himself to newcomers. Kelsey even remembers Algee telling new attendees to e-mail him if they had any questions.

“I’ve worked in non-profits for 20 years,” Kelsey says. “This is the first time I’ve seen a president reach out to a first-time attendee. It was impressive to me that everyone is willing to help—really.”

Destination: Denver

As a walkable city, Denver is home to three major sports stadiums, the nation’s second largest performing arts center, and various art and history museums. The city also features a water park, fine dining restaurants, craft breweries, and an aquarium.

Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, where the annual meeting will take place, boasts 1,500 rooms, eight restaurants, and 485,000 square feet of convention center space, reports Fox31 Denver. A new venue, the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center opened in December 2018 and includes a 17-room spa and salon, a fitness center, and indoor and outdoor pools.

Algee says Denver is the perfect location for AHRA’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition because this year’s theme is “Rockin’ in the Rockies.” That means attendees are welcome to “unleash their inner rock star” at the AHRA 2019 theme party. Attendees who are short on inspiration for attire that night should consider the following ideas from AHRA: glam, heavy metal, thrash, or 1980s.

Taking place on the Wednesday evening of the annual meeting, the “Rockin’ in the Rockies” event will provide food, drink, and a chance to dance the night away. Attendees are also encouraged to participate in the 20th Annual Imaging Golf Classic, which takes place on Sunday at the Murphy Creek Golf Course; transportation will be provided to the golf course from the convention venue. The event raises funds for the AHRA Education Foundation, which in coordination with AHRA, obtains and provides resources to enhance the effectiveness of imaging and healthcare disciplines.

Must-See Speakers, Must-Attend Sessions

Vince Poscente, a New York Times bestselling author of seven books and a motivational speaker, will speak at the annual meeting’s grand opening ceremony. Other featured speakers include comedian and business book author, Ross Shafer, and mountain climber and professional speaker, Manley Feinberg.

Further, the AHRA 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition will feature more than 70 educational breakout sessions, along with two four-hour executive leadership workshops on Sunday for leaders and future leaders in imaging. In the first executive leadership workshop, participants will learn about topics such as mission and vision statements, intentional leadership versus unintentional leadership, active listening, and empathy. The second workshop will focus on cultivating accountability; participants will do a deep-dive on accountability and how it affects individuals and the overall organization. Note: Attendees must pay an additional fee to attend the workshops.

To Kelsey, the executive leadership workshops will be especially beneficial for attendees. “Having been involved in leadership development as a volunteer in another association, I learned the importance of continually developing your leadership skills,” he says. “[When] I learned that AHRA has offered this program for four years and it’s targeted toward new imaging leaders and the challenges they will face, I became very enthusiastic in knowing that the association truly values the long-term success of members.”

Algee is also excited about the breakout sessions. For instance, Monday’s session on  “Challenges and Opportunities to Prove Value in Alternative Payment Models” is sure to captivate attendees, he says. He also anticipates interest in “Functional Flow Reserve CTA: A New Frontier for Cross Collaboration,” also taking place on Monday. In addition, Kelsey expects that the sessions titled “Joint Commission Update: Diagnostic Imaging Standards, Survey Results” and “Latest Joint Commission and ACR Safety Accreditation Requirements” will attract significant interest among attendees.

Moreover, attendees who plan to take the CRA Exam can participate in an all-day workshop on Sunday. This prep session will cover test-taking tips, communication and information management, asset resource and fiscal management, in addition to management of human resources and operations.

Celebrating Achievement and Looking Forward

The AHRA Gold Award, the highest award that can be given to an AHRA member, will be presented at the 2019 annual meeting. Specifically, the award is bestowed on an AHRA member who has made significant contributions to the association and the profession of imaging and healthcare administration.

AHRA also celebrates members’ achievements with the Excellence in Imaging Award, which results from nominations among members’ peers. AHRA Fellows, members who make significant contributions to the organization through their volunteerism, are also announced during the annual meeting. The recipients of the AHRA Gold Award and the Excellence in Imaging Award will be announced at the 2019 annual meeting, along with the names of the AHRA Fellows.

This year’s President’s Award is especially meaningful for Algee since he will be presenting it to his former manager, Kent Johnson, RT(R), who retired in 2016 after a 30-year career. “I loved working for him,” says Algee. “It’s an honor giving him the award.”

Overall, Algee expects approximately 1,000 attendees at the annual meeting—an increase from last year’s event, which drew 800 people. Attendees who are willing to help out at the annual meeting are encouraged to visit www.ahra.org/annualmeeting and click “volunteer” to sign up. Opportunities include introducing a speaker, scanning badges, or writing for the Convention Daily newspaper.

Finally, Algee says he is grateful to the vendors that support AHRA each year. Even so, he calls the relationship between vendors and attendees a mutually beneficial one. Specifically, vendors at the 2019 annual meeting should expect to meet with the appropriate decision-makers and leave with plenty of value. “Vendors are helping to drive change in these organizations,” Algee says. “I’ve had vendor after vendor tell me they leave [the AHRA annual meeting] with more leads and actual sales [than they do at other events].”

Aine Cryts is a contributing writer for 24×7 Magazine. Questions and comments can be directed to editor@24x7mag.com.