It can be challenging to ensure quality training for healthcare leaders in our rural communities. Often times staff will have to travel far for expensive classes while managing their very busy schedules.

Western Healthcare Alliance (WHA) has been bringing healthcare leadership education to its members for over 10 years. We listen and respond by providing leading experts in relevant topics for today’s healthcare leader.

The WHA Leadership Academy focuses on different areas geared toward improving performance and motivating staff to be the best they can be. Classes are based on member feedback and suggestions.

Who should attend? Newly appointed managers or existing managers with leadership/performance goals, individuals with a demonstrated long-term commitment to their organization, individuals with high potential for future leadership roles, and existing managers looking to hone their skills or re-energize their role in the workplace. Featuring in-person classes in Grand Junction, onsite custom classes at your facility and webinar sessions, WHA’s Leadership Academy is guaranteed to take your leadership skills to the next level.


Summer Markley

Executive Assistant


Email Summer

Please view and register for upcoming classes below.


Health Data Literacy 101 Webinar

Taught by Tyler Downing, Data Innovation Manager for WHA's Community Care Alliance

Date:  September 25, 2019

Time: 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Location: Webinar

Cost: Free for members

Give yourself the upper hand in healthcare evaluation and decision making by ensuring that you, and your team, possess a high level of health data literacy.

Now more than ever, data and analytics drive major decisions and outcomes in the healthcare industry. Health data statistics are regularly used in healthcare operations to provide evidentiary support for program successes and failures. It’s imperative leaders and decision makers understand, and have the ability to dissect, health data sources, normalization techniques, and statistical methods.

Who will benefit from attending:

Healthcare executives, clinical leaders, office or clinic managers, data analysts or data savvy healthcare workers, and anyone interested in a solid foundational knowledge of how health data shapes the industry

Workshop objectives:

  • Defining standard health data transactions and code sets used in US healthcare
  • Learn the most appropriate data sources
  • Understanding transactional data vs. analytical data and how each is valuable
  • Understand how to read and evaluate health data reports from other agencies
  • Understand the overall science of health data and how to be confidently data literate

Tyler Downing

Tyler Downing has over 17 years’ experience in healthcare data reporting and predictive analytics, and has been a CPC (Certified Professional Coder) for five years.

Prior to becoming the Data Innovation Manager for WHA’s Community Care Alliance Tyler was the Associate Director of Healthcare Economics for United Healthcare/Optum and the Data Principal for Rocky Mountain Health Plans. He is also the author of “Comprehensive Healthcare Reporting and Predictive Analytics” which is a textbook aimed at facilitating the development of accurate and intelligent solutions from standard healthcare data sets. Over the span of his career, Tyler has worked within most facets of healthcare data in both commercial and government markets.

Building a Resilient Workforce Culture

Taught by Cella Janisch-Hartline, RN, BSN, Nursing Leadership Senior Manager for Rural WI Health Cooperative

Date:  October 16, 2019

Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado

Cost: $200 per person

With all the challenges coming down the pike for healthcare, organizations will need a resilient workforce. Are you and your employees prepared for the workforce shortage? For the changing reimbursement platforms? For the desperate need for healthcare redesign? How adaptable and flexible are you as leaders? How adaptable and flexible are your employees? Is your workforce change adept, or change resistant? Come to this interactive workshop to learn many ideas and strategies on developing a more resilient workforce culture in order to meet the rapid changes of healthcare.

Who will benefit from attending:

Health care leaders, team supervisors, and charge nurses.

Participants will learn to:

  • Define resiliency
  • Describe characteristics of individual and work force resiliency
  • Engage in self-reflection related to change and bounce back potential
  • Discuss strategies/ideas to develop a resilient culture
  • Contribute to and engage in discussion throughout session

Cella Janisch-Hartline

Cella Janisch-Hartline, RN, BSN, Nursing Leadership Senior Manager for Rural WI Health Cooperative (RWHC) has been involved in various healthcare industry leadership positions for the past 40 years. The majority of her career has been spent working in an acute care critical access facility in Wisconsin for nearly 24 years.

Over the past 20 years, Cella has discovered her passion for teaching leadership tips and techniques to others. Her current work includes facilitating the RWHC’s nurse residency program, designing and facilitating leadership and clinical workshops, coordination of several roundtables for WI Healthcare Leaders, and leadership or team coaching.

Cella holds a BSN degree from Viterbo University in LaCrosse and is also a Certified Professional Life Coach with training obtained through University of WI in Madison. She is well-known for her humorous, engaging, and personable facilitation style.

Your Medicare Cost Report: A Swiss Army Knife for Your Rural Hospital

Taught by Eric Volk, Katie Jo Raebel, and John Dao, Partners, Wipfli

Date:  November 8, 2019

Time: 9:00 am – 2:00 pm

Location: Grand Junction, Colorado

Cost: $50 per person, free for WHA CFOs

If you are a WHA CFO who wants to attend this class, please contact Summer Markley to recieve your discount code.

Did you know it takes an average of 673 hours to gather all of the required information, complete the forms, review, and file your Medicare Cost Report? Wow, that’s a large amount of time!

Quite often, once your Cost Report is filed, you won’t think about it again until next year. With over a quarter FTE invested, there must be other uses for this massive data dump of information that drives over 50% of your reimbursement. During this class, we’ll focus on ways you can better utilize your Cost Report throughout the year (for those PPS hospitals in the audience, the same cost principles can be applied to your operations).

Who will benefit from attending:

Chief Financial Officers, Controllers, Finance Managers, Revenue Cycle department leaders

Workshop objectives:

  • Review your own cost report before filing.
  • Calculate your Medicare rates and the impact they might have on your Medicaid and managed care plans.
  • Learn how to estimate year-to-date Medicare rates and lump sums.
  • Analyze overhead cost allocations for reasonableness.
  • Use your cost report to perform a detailed service line analysis.

This class is brought us by our friends and Corporate Partner, Wipfli.

Eric Volk, CPA

Eric Volk is a Partner in Wipfli LLP’s Spokane office. He specializes in critical access hospital (CAH) Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and audits. Eric provides cost reporting, audit, and consulting services to numerous providers in the region. This has enabled him to develop a solid understanding of the issues that concern the health care industry. Eric has significant experience in improving cost-based reimbursement for CAHs. He also is skilled in providing cost report audit and appeal support for CAHs.






Katie Jo Raebel, CPA

Katie Jo Raebel has more than 19 years of experience in audit and accounting services, focused exclusively on health care industry clients. She specializes in assisting freestanding and provider-based clinics to navigate through the rural health clinic (RHC) certification process and is a proven thought leader with vast experience in the RHC arena. Katie Jo helps to calculate RHCs’ Medicare and Medicaid rates, provides education regarding changes in billing because of certification, and consults on all areas specific to RHCs. In addition, she helps organizations determine the best certification options to experience the most beneficial gain from Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Katie Jo is a regular speaker at industry events and conferences including the Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington, the Oregon Rural Health Conference, the National Association of Rural Health Clinics Conference, and most recently the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Bureau of Rural Health and Primary Care annual conference. She also is a featured speaker at the annual Spokane office-sponsored cost report and reimbursement seminar.

John Dao, MHA

John Dao is a Partner in Wipfli’s health care facility and capital planning group. With over a decade of consulting experience, he has worked across the country assisting health care clients to plan and finance new facility developments and renovations.

John’s career has spanned a wide breadth of hospital and ambulatory settings, ranging from large academic hospitals and integrated delivery systems to small regional and critical access hospitals. His consulting experience has taken him all over the United States as well as internationally. Combining this broad base of experience with strong analytical skills and a solid understanding of efficient health care operations/design enables John to quickly and competently match clinical/business needs with effective, creative solutions.

Custom Workshops

Taught by Angelina Salazar, Chief Executive Officer of WHA

Do you have a need for onsite education, customized just for your team? WHA can help! We now offer the following classes onsite at your facility. If you have any questions or would like to discuss hosting a class, please contact Summer Markley at summer.markley@wha1.org.

Leading Change When Change Is Tough

Change.  The mere mention of the word can cause some to feel uncomfortable.  Resistance can be seen in the manager who procrastinates, or the stressed-out employee who keeps adding more to his plate.  An effective leader must take on the challenge of change with skill and a sense of humor. This workshop brings together best practices from John Kotter, a leader in organizational change, as well as the work of Chip Heath and Dan Heath, whose research highlights the impact of the rational and emotional sides of our brain and how they must come together for change to occur. Through interactive exercises, participants will learn about the components of change, how to diagnose problems in a change effort, understand the emotional and rational sides of the brain and develop a plan to ensure an intended change endures.

Participants will learn to do the following:

  1. Identify Kotter’s eight key areas of change: Explore a sense of urgency, form powerful guiding coalitions, create a vision, communicate that vision, empower others to act on the vision, plan for short-term wins, consolidate improvements and keep the momentum for change moving, and institutionalize new approaches.
  2. Diagnose problems in a change effort you are currently undergoing to bring about the right solution
  3. Understand the role of the emotional and rational sides of the brain in change and how both must be engaged to be successful
  4. Create a plan to turn your change effort into something that lasts

Managing Conflict:  Skillful Conversations to Build Trust

Do you struggle to manage your frustration or avoid difficult conversations entirely?  Do you know how to effectively reach a resolution when approaching a conflict? This workshop focuses on common challenges people have with communication:  being assertive, speaking with clarity, managing emotions, reflective listening, body language, recognizing “triangulation”, and communicating with different ‘conflict styles’. After this course, participants will have a solid foundation to demonstrate assertive communication and ensure that they get their message across in a confident and professional manner.

Participants will learn to do the following:

  1. Self-assess for discovering your natural “conflict style”, exposing you to potential new styles for different situations
  2. Recognize “triangulation’’ and how to avoid it
  3. Implement tools to improve “A-to-B’’ communication
  4. Help others improve their conflict resolution results

Peer Today, Boss Tomorrow

Are you a new manager who used to work right alongside the people you now supervise? How do you achieve success in this new role and manage the potential problems that can arise? Managing relationships, delivering difficult messages, avoiding favoritism and coaching for performance are all areas that can cause a new boss to want to run and hide. This workshop provides four strategies for navigating the changing relationship from peer to supervisor/manager. Those strategies involve setting boundaries, coaching and resolving conflict, knowing when to take action, and empowering staff. ‘’Peer Today, Boss Tomorrow’’ uses group activities, discussion, video vignettes and action planning so that participants can lead with confidence and success.

Participants will learn to do the following:

  1. Accept your new supervisory role
  2. Establish clear boundaries
  3. Communicate clearly
  4. Take effective action

Mind Matters:  How Perceptions Impact Success

Your subconscious holds the beliefs or programs that ultimately create the reality that you live every day. Do you look outside of yourself to explain what’s wrong with your life?  Would you like to increase your confidence, improve your communication, handle conflict, dispel anxious feelings, create rapport with others, understand and use body language, and over¬all, be more effective in your life?  Change the program and you change the result. Learn how to view yourself from the outside in and use your perceptions to be a conscious leader.

Participants will learn to do the following:

  1. Learn how the conscious and subconscious mind work
  2. Learn how perceptions are formed
  3. Obtain tools to examine and reprogram areas of your life where you want change
  4. Determine your work values to better create a successful environment

Angelina Salazar

Angelina Salazar is the Chief Executive Officer of WHA. She joined the WHA team to strengthen and lead the marketing and communications programs for our family of organizations.

Angelina began her career in education and soon found herself in the world of nonprofits, quickly advancing to Regional Development Director for a national nonprofit. She started in marketing for a critical access hospital then advanced to the executive position of Vice President of Business Development. She has been active in her community serving as both board and committee member for several local nonprofit entities.

Angelina possesses a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a minor in Spanish, two Master of Arts Degrees in Language Acquisition and Psychology as well as a certification in mediation.