AHRA Annual Conference July 21-25, 2019 at the Gaylord Rockies in Denver


AHRA Annual Conference Experience for 2019

Note: there are downloads available at the end of this article if you want to ready the daily conference newsletter or would like a justification template to attend. 

Once again I had a terrific time attending the annual AHRA conference. Here’s why, in a nutshell:

  • The Gaylord Rockies resort in Denver, CO was amazing. More on that in a bit.
  • The lectures throughout the conference were relevant to what I see daily in the field of radiology
  • The keynote speakers were, as usual, phenomenal and awe-inspiring. 
  • I completed my third AHRA conference talk
  • I reconnected with past acquaintances from all over the country who work in my field and talk the same language
  • I networked with scores of NEW acquaintances and made dozens of friendships with like-minded peers

Location, Location, Location

The AHRA design team has yet to disappoint when it comes to conference accommodations. This is the third Gaylord resort to hold the annual AHRA conference since I joined in 2014. Although I have not been able to attend every year, when I do get to go it is always a treat and I look forward to experiencing the accommodations. This year was no different. The Gaylord Rockies spans a large footprint and includes, among other things:

  • indoor/outdoor pool
  • ample length lazy river
  • large, by my experience, indoor gym
  • four upscale restaurants inside the resort
  • day spa
  • outdoor walking path

The only amenity that I didn’t experience personally was the day spa. All of the other areas did not fail to impress. The food at restaurants was exquisite and the hot wings at the sports bar were some of the best I’ve ever had (and I am a hot wing aficionado.) The location of the resort was set out in a field with barely any buildings around it. This gave for a nice, open-air feel as you enjoy the full diameter walking path around the resort. Parking was more than ample although I was surprised by the $29 per day parking fee. Unlike some of the other monstrous Gaylord resorts, this location afforded the conference rooms within easy walking distance from the guest rooms of the hotel. Gaylord Nashville required GPS navigation and a homing beacon to find your way around. Same at the Gaylor Orlando.  I joked in my conference talk in Orlando that they should have named it the “Good Lord” instead of Gaylord because we were constantly walking around saying “Good Lord where is my room?!”

AHRA-2019-Rad-Tech-BadgeAmple Breakout Session

Each day, from Sunday through Wednesday had numerous breakout session. Most were also worth 1 CEU credit for attending. The topics were spread all across the radiology spectrum. Take a look:


1:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Challenges and Opportunities for Radiology to Prove Value in Alternative Payment Models
    John Carrino, MD, MPH – Vice Chairman – Radiology and Imaging, Hosptial for Special Surgery
  • Workplace Violence – Now a Compliance Issue
    Marie Fredrick, RT(R), CRA, MJ – SVP, Mary Washington Healthcare
  • Fear, Hope, and Hype of Artificial Intelligence in Medical Imaging
    Woojin Kim, MD – CMIO, Nuance Communications
  • Coding & Billing Compliance – What Does That Really Mean?
    Melody W. Mulaik, MSHS – President, Coding Strategies, Inc.
  • Comprehensive Stroke: A Quality Improvement Journey
    Marjory Savino, CRA, BS, RT, R.M – Quality PI/PC Manager, Montefiore Medical Center
  • Laughing to Ease the Pain: The Role of Humor in Patient Comfort
    David Jacobson, MSW, LCSW, CHP, Banner University Medical Center

2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Order Matters – Implementing the Imperatives of a High Reliability Organization (HRO)
    John J. Beall, BSHS, FAHRA – Senior Clinical NCO, Deputy Commander Patient Support, Madigan Army Medical Center
  • Joint Commission Update: Diagnostic Imaging Services Standards, Survey Results
    Andrea D. Browne, PhD, DABR – Diagnostic Medical Physicist, The Joint Commission
  • The Art of Managing Workplace Conflict
    Mario Rodriguez, MS – Leadership Consultant, Integrated Leadership Systems, ILS
  • Don’t Let Any Money Slip Away
    Melody W. Mulaik, MSHS – President, Coding Strategies, Inc.
  • How a Daily Management System Can Impact Process Improvement and Staff Engagement
    Julie Anne Black, B.S., MDiv, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, WA

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Key Performance Indicators to Promote Billing Integrity and Transparency
    Sara Nofziger-Drew, CHBME, CPC, CPB – Director of Client Relations, HealthPro Medical Billing, Inc
  • Liar, Liar Pants on Fire
    Traci Brown, BS – Body Language and Fraud Prevention Expert, Traci Brown, Inc
  • Breast Density Inform and Insurance Laws: What Educational Tools Are Available?
    JoAnn Pushkin, BBA – Executive Director, DenseBreast-info, Inc.
  • The Stress of Safety: How Workplace Experiences Affect Patient Safety
    Cheryl Turner, EdD, R.T., (R)(T) – Founder/Professor, Rad-Cast
  • Providing Feedback: Setting Your Employees Up For Success
    Jennifer Kirkman, MHA(c), CRA, BSRT(R)(VI) – Interventional Radiology Supervisor, Wesley Long Hospital


9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Grand Opening Ceremony & Keynote: Full Speed Ahead
Vince Poscente

2:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Contemporary Imaging Management: An Immersive Dialogue
  • Developing a Capital Imaging Equipment Replacement Plan for an Enterprise Wide System
    Stephan Lopez, MS – Corporate Director of Radiology, Baylor Scott & White Health
  • ACR/Joint Commission: MR Safety Tips for Radiology Administrators
    William Faulkner, B.S.,R.T.(R)(MR)(CT), FSMRT, MRSO (MRSC™ ) – Owner, William Faulkner & Associates, LLC
  • Regulatory Update
    Sheila M. Sferrella, MAS, CRA, RT(R), FAHRA – President, Regents Health Resources
  • Rowboats vs. Canoes: Tools for Forward-looking Capital Planning
    Robert P. Junk, BS – President, RAD-Planning
  • The Art of Leadership “From Now On”
    Josh Block, President, Block Imaging

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Cardiac Imaging Can Assess Cardiovascular Risk in High Endurance Athletes
    Holly Knaub, BAS, RT(R) CRA – Manager, UCHealth
  • Successfully Implementing Digital Radiography Across a Regional Healthcare System
    Elizabeth Evans, MBA, RT (R) – X-ray modality manager, AdventHealth
  • SuperTech: Essential Tools for Today’s Technologists & Leaders
    Joe Klaers, RT(R)(CT), MBA – Sr. Director Imaging Services, CentraCare Health System
  • The Leadership Void: On the Hunt for Unicorns
    Wendy J. Stirnkorb, CRA, MBA, RT R MR MRSO MRSC, HSDQ, PSG – Director of Imaging Services and Dean of the School of Radiology, Regional West Medical Center
  • Functional Flow Reserve CT: A New Frontier for Cross Collaboration
    Ali Westervelt, Curt Bush, MBA, CRA, FAHRA, FACHE – Director of Diagnostic and Therapeutic Imaging Services, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center


8:15 AM – 9:15 AM
Breakout Sessions

  • The Many Languages of Data
    Stefanie A. Manack, CRA, MS, BS, AAS, R.T. (R)(M)(VI) – Operations Manager, Imaging, Accumen, Judy Zakutny, AAS – Operations Manager, Imaging, Accumen
  • Forensic Accounting in Radiology Administration – Are You Being Looted from Within?
    Ron Jones, MSRS, RT (R,CT) – Regional Director of Imaging, St Luke’s Magic Valley
  • The Customer Is Always Right! Right?
    ALAN MORETTI, N/A – VP Advanced Imaging and Radiation Oncology, RENOVO SOLUTIONS LLC
  • Shanghaied by FEMA : Emergency Preparedness Gone Bad
    Wendy J. Stirnkorb, CRA, MBA, RT R MR MRSO MRSC, HSDQ, PSG – Director of Imaging Services and Dean of the School of Radiology, Regional West Medical Center
  • Lessons Learned in Adopting Clinical Decision Support Systems
    Ernie A. Cerdena, PhD, CRA, FACHE, FAHRA – Corporate Director of Radiology Services, AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center

9:45 AM – 11:00 AM
General Session & Keynote: Success: It’s On You
Ross Shafer

11:00 AM – 2:00 PM: Exhibit Hall Open & Lunch served 12:00 – 1:30 PM

2:15 PM – 3:45 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Washington Update
    Bill Finerfrock, BA – President, Capitol Associates, Inc.
  • Take Back Your Life! Personal Productivity
    Steven Crawford, MBA – Director / Senior Consultant, McGhee Productivity Solutions
  • Latest Joint Commission & ACR MRI Safety Accreditation Requirements
    Tobias Gilk, M.Arch, MRSO, MRSE, HSDQ – Sr. VP, RAD-Planning, Founder, Gilk Radiology Consultants
  • Coding Tips & Traps
    Melody W. Mulaik, MSHS – President, Coding Strategies, Inc.
  • Academia Collaboration for Success in the Changing Landscape of Global Health Care
    Carole A. South-Winter, Ed.D., CNMT, RT, FAEIRS – Assistant Professor, University of South Dakota

4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Achieving ACR Diagnostic Imaging Center of Excellence Designation
    Melissa C. Martin, M.S., FACR, FAAPM – President, Therapy Physics Inc
  • Regulatory Update – REPEAT
    Sheila M. Sferrella, MAS, CRA, RT(R), FAHRA – President, Regents Health Resources
  • New Tool for Radiology Capital Planning – VA Radiology Design Guide
    Tobias Gilk, M.Arch, MRSO, MRSE, HSDQ – Sr. VP, RAD-Planning, Founder, Gilk Radiology Consultants
  • Leadership and Performance Improvement, GILI or TWIT?
    Victoria Barnosky, PhD, CRA – System Director, Allegheny Health Network
  • Joint Commission Update: Diagnostic Imaging Services Standards, Survey Results – REPEAT
    Andrea D. Browne, PhD, DABR – Diagnostic Medical Physicist, The Joint Commission

AHRA-EXHIBIT-Hall-Rad-Tech6:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Exhibitor Symposium: How Uniformity in CT Practice Helps Patients, and How Outsourcing CT Protocol Management Will Save You Money
Myron A. Pozniak, MD – Emeritus Professor of Radiology, UW Hospital


7:15 AM – 8:15 AM
Exhibitor Symposium: Developments in Whole Spine Imaging: Technology Advances for Inside and Outside of the Operating Room
Gregg R. Cretella – National Manager, Clinical Operations, Fujifilm Medical Systems, U.S.A.

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM
Breakout Sessions

  • Boards, Committees and Meetings What Happens and Why
    Bruce Hammond, CRA, FAHRA – CEO, GroupB Management Partners
  • Managing Multiples: Sites, Modalities, Staff: Skip the Xanax “it can be done”
    Sandy Dobrogowski, BS, RTR, CRA – Imaging Manager, Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin
  • Fluoroscopy Dose Management and the Joint Commission Standards
    Olav Christianson, MS, DABR – Sr. Medical Physicist, Landauer
  • Engaging Radiology Supervisors Through a Formal Mentoring Program
    Elyce M. Wolfgang, MHA, RT(R) – Assistant Radiology Clinical Director, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Building a Large Radiology Service Line: Bigs Wins and Pitfalls
    Chris Tomlinson, MBA, CRA, FAHRA – Vice President, Enterprise Radiology, Jefferson Health – Thomas Jefferson University Health System

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Breakout Sessions

  • Navigating Change Using Data: Our Journey Building a Department Dashboard
    Michelle L. Casler, M.S. R.T. (R) (MR) – MRI Manager, Johns Hopkins Hospital
  • Leadership and Successful Outcomes in a Turnaround
    Luis 0. Marquez, MBA, MPH, FAHRA – System Director, Imaging and Cardiology Services, Sinai Health System
  • Clerical Staff Goes Lean
    Roberta Edge, MHA, CRA, FAHRA – Director of Diagnostic Imaging, Sutter Gould Medical Foundation
  • MRI Magic
    Kimberly Harrell, RT R MR CRA CMPE – Manager, Kaiser Permanente
  • A series of FORTUNATE Events: A Cardiothoracic Imaging Story
    Angelic P. Bush, MSRS, CRA, RT(R)(CT)(MR), FAHRA, University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM: Exhibit Hall Open & Lunch served 12:00-1:00 PM.

ASRT-AHRA-Rad-Techs1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Exhibitor Symposium: Utilizing Technology in a Modern Healthcare Facility – Emerging Trends
Michael Perez De Utrera, BHSA, R.T. (R) (CT) (MR) – Diagnostic Imaging Manager, Leon Medical Centers

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM
Breakout Sessions

  • Leadership Through Coaching and Your Bottom Line
    Amy Hollis, RTR, CRA, MHA – Director of Imaging Services, Monroe Clinic
  • MITA Advocacy Update: Ensuring the Cybersecurity of Medical Imaging Equipment
    Patrick Hope, JD – Executive Director, Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA)
  • Reducing Sedation and Anesthesia in Pediatric Imaging
    Robert MacDougall, PhD – Manager, Diagnostic Imaging Physics, Boston Children’s Hospital
  • The Approaching Data Storm – What Matters
    Jef Williams, MBA, PMP, CIIP – Managing Partner, Paragon Consulting Partners
  • Expand Revenue and Covered Access by Taking Part in New Breast Tomosynthesis Trial
    Etta Pisano, MD

3:15 PM – 5:15 PM
Closing Business Session & Keynote: Leading on the Edge: 7 Vertical Lessons & 1 Essential Question to Lead with Impact, Regardless of Your Title
Manley Feinberg


You can see how attending this one conference could arm you with sufficient knowledge (and connections with those who gave the talks) to go back to your home department and spearhead magnificent changes. There were so many great topics covered that I wish I had a few peers from my system with me to help take notes. Between each speaker was time to get a drink and make any necessary phone calls or email checks. Lunch was catered each day in the same area so you didn’t have to venture out to find food. This is a terrific workflow to scheduling so many speakers and I, as an attendee, didn’t see any glitches. Bravo to the Design Team at AHRA.

Olympic-Level Keynote Speakers

Literally. The breadth of keynote speaker accomplishments was mind-boggling. Vince Poscente shared his experience as an Olympic downhill racer. In his moment of glory, where he could have captured the gold medal… a small bump in the track knocked him from first place to 15th in the final games. Although he could have been shattered eternally (and was for three months), he coped with his situation and now travels around the country sharing how “it isn’t about the bumps in the road, it’s about how we handle the bumps in the road that define us.” See this amazing Olympic moment here.

And Manley Feinberg couldn’t be higher on life than when he climbed some of the most dangerous mountains in the world, even when one key team member had a full-on seizure moments before a climb. He is the founder of the Build-a-Bear company and his leadership influence contributed to a workplace culture that landed Build-A-Bear on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For® List four years in a row. He shared how taking a chance to do what feels right can impact the lives of others without you even knowing. In his case, he found out at a high school reunion what his impact was on a fellow classmate when he overstepped his boundaries and played the national anthem for his team the way HE wanted to play it and not what his principle wanted. See the amazing performance here.

Finally comes Ross Schafer. Ross Shafer has bought and sold 24 different businesses – a profitable hobby he started at the age of 21. By 30, he ventured into a different kind of business….Show Business, collecting (6) Emmy awards as a Comedian, Writer, and TV Host of such shows as, “The Match Game” on ABC, “The Late Show” on FOX, and “Almost Live” on NBC. And, because Ross is obsessed with who succeeds – and who fails, he’s chronicled his findings in (9) popular business books on market growth, relevance, and the customer experience. He shared stories of helping people “consult the herd.” Too often executives and engineers sit at a conference table trying to solve workplace issues without consulting the employees on the front line who deal with the issues every day. By simply “consulting the herd” you can often time find simple solutions.

Ron-Jones-AHRA-PresentationMy Presentation and Summation

Public speaking does not come naturally to me. I can do it but my stomach doesn’t settle the butterflies down until about halfway through my presentation. I sign up for these talks to share my love for radiology and in hopes that others can learn from my trials. I’ve given talks from 30-90 minutes long and have enjoyed every single one of them. I look forward to sharpening my skills as a public speaker and am grateful for the AHRA for giving me the opportunity.

This article only lists a portion of the annual AHRA conference. I can’t put into words the networking and mutual bonds that were formed with radiology peers across the country. I created more personal relationships with vendors across the spectrum. Ultimately, most of the salesmen and women were technologists at one time. They still speak our language even though they are talking through the megaphone of one vendor. I enjoy visiting with all the different attendees from across the nation and look forward to the next conference.

I will link to some documentation that might help you to attend in the future. They are “justification” templates that you can fill out and submit to your boss. Give it a shot. I would enjoy sitting with you during the next break out session.

Convention Daily Newsletters

Justification Templates


Ron Jones MSRS, RT (R,CT) ARRT

Ron is huge radiology nerd. It started with Xray school at Pima Medical Institute in Mesa, AZ. He was crosstrained in CT during his Xray clinical rotations at Mesa General Hospital. Then immediately returned to school for ultrasound at Gateway Community College as he started his first job as an Xray/CT Tech. Not much later learned MRI out of necessity at his small rural hospital in Apache Junction, AZ. A decade later he found himself as a manager in a level one trauma center. Currently he is a system operations director over an entire hospital system and loves every minute of it.

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