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PRESS RELEASE - Florida Hospital Leaders Focus on Workforce, Mental Health and Transforming Health Care



Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) concluded its 2023 Annual Meeting in Orlando last week. The event, held October 4-6, 2023, is one of the largest gatherings of health care professionals in the Sunshine State, attracting more than 450 attendees including hundreds of hospital professionals. 

During the annual meeting, health care leaders came together to discuss partnerships with universities and community colleges to strengthen the pipeline of the health care workforce, implementing and advancing innovative approaches to health care delivery and improving the continuum of services for individuals with mental illness and substance use disorder, along with many other pressing issues affecting the delivery of health care services in Florida.  

“I am incredibly proud of the leadership and commitment of our hospitals to come together during the 2023 FHA Annual Meeting to collaboratively focus on the health and well being of all Floridians. Through this event, health care colleagues from around the state shared new ideas to advance a modern, sophisticated health care system to meet growing health care demands,” said Mary C. Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. “Floridians don’t have to travel out of state to get modern, sophisticated health care; we have the highest quality health care close to home. And FHA is proud to convene our industry leaders to address our common mission, strengthening quality and expanding access, so together we can deliver on the promise to provide care all Florida families deserve.” 

National thought-leaders included Seema Verma, former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator; Deborah L. Birx, M.D., a world-renowned medical expert in immunology and infectious diseases; and Ben Nemtin, a New York Times bestselling author and sought-after inspirational keynote speaker. Verma provided her expert perspective on the sustainability of the health care system and the future for providers, patients and policymakers. Dr. Birx shared her insights on using data to drive policies and access to services, as well as the future of pandemic emergency response. Nemtin outlined his five-step system of achieving impossible goals and creating inspiration through action and accountability. 

“The challenges that hospitals are facing are significant… There’s a lot of work to do with creating the infrastructure so that providers can participate in value-based care,” said Seema Verma, former Administrator for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Value-based care is the future. With value-based care, there’s stable, predictable income for health care providers.”

Notably, Jennifer Gentry, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Central Division Chief Nursing Officer for Providence St. Joseph Health in Oregon, provided meeting attendees with valuable insight on “What’s Next in Health Care Workforce Development and Empowerment,” detailing best practices for retaining and empowering the future health care workforce. Gentry also moderated panel discussions on reimagining workforce retention beyond salaries and benefits – through employee wellness and training practices – with an emphasis on team support, as well as on creating the health care workforce of the future by strengthening the workforce pipeline to address workforce shortages and exploring how hospitals can build resilient, high-performing teams. 

“You can't have a workforce pipeline if you don't have recruitment and retention because, through recruitment and retention, you're creating a pipeline for growth through growth and development for new positions,” said Jennifer Gentry MSN, RN, NEA- BC, who is the Central Division Chief Nursing Officer at Providence St. Joseph Health in Oregon. “We know that the demand for health care is increasing with the advancement of age in our communities. We also know that some of our marginalized communities have poor outcomes because they don't have early access. And so by doing some of the purposeful pipeline work, we have been able to improve the health and welfare of communities.”

Dr. Robin Roark, M.D., MBA, a Partner at McKinsey & Company, presented a general session “A Gathering Storm – Health Care Trends and the Imperative for Provider Innovation”. Dr. Roark spoke about how hospitals can act now to make care delivery more affordable, convenient and effective given that health systems are heading into a gathering storm of macroeconomic shocks, including record inflation, supply chain disruption, workforce challenges and shifts in payer mix. 

“We’re at a period of disruption in the health care industry that is so intense that without transformation, we’ll be at risk for a significant reordering,” said Dr. Roark. “As health care providers, as the delivery system in a state as important as Florida, you want to be at the forefront leading that change.”

Additional highlights from the Annual Meeting include:

  • Keynotes and general sessions on Health Care Workforce Development and Empowerment, the Global View of Public Health, and the Future of Medicare and Medicaid
  • Panel discussions on Reimagining Workforce Retention, Creating the Health Care Workforce of the Future, Preparedness Across the Health Care Spectrum and Implementing Behavioral Health Change
    Networking and Exhibitor Opportunities
  • “There is no health without mental health,” said Gail Ryder, Vice President, Behavioral Health Services, BayCare Health System, on the Implementing Behavioral Health Change – From Strategy to Success panel.

FHA’s 2023 Annual Meeting focused on the most urgent topics to hospitals and the trends driving health care options and delivery, while also offering an opportunity for health care colleagues across the state to reconnect and celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of Florida’s hospitals and health care systems. 

For more information about FHA and the FHA 2023 Annual Meeting, visit 


Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education, and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association is located in Tallahassee and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions.


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