Session Descriptions


Tim Roberts Annual Keynote Address
Professionalism and the Pursuit of High Reliability, Quality and Safety
Gerald B. Hickson, MD, Joseph C. Ross Chair in Medical Education & Administration, Professor of Pediatrics, Founding Director, Vanderbilt Center for Patient & Professional Advocacy

Sponsored by

In an increasingly competitive and metric driven health environment, how do leaders of medical groups identify and address faulty systems of care and unreasonable variation in clinicians’ performance? Using a case study and audience electronic polling, attendees will be introduced to the Vanderbilt approach (people, organization, and systems) to the pursuit of professionalism and high reliability that drive safety, right outcomes of care and patient satisfaction.


  1. Identify behaviors that impact an organization’s pursuit of professionalism and a culture of safety, respect, and high reliability....
  2. Recognize the relationships between disrespectful/unprofessional behaviors and adverse outcomes of care.
  3. Recognize that patients/families and fellow team members are uniquely positioned to observe dysfunctional systems and poorly performing clinicians.
  4. Describe the essential elements (people, organization, and systems) needed to sustain a reliable approach to supporting pursuit of professional accountability.
  5. Understand how to use the Vanderbilt professional accountability pyramid as a model for promoting professionalism and a culture of safety and respect.


The Growing Demand for AI in Clinical Medicine

William Gordon, MD, MBI; Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School

Sponsored by

Healthcare delivery in the United States is at an important juncture. On the one hand, research into human biology is rapidly discovering novel disease pathways, unlocking new diagnostic and therapeutic potential. Yet health outcomes, particularly in the US, are not keeping up: life expectancy is actually decreasing. Additionally, care in the US is comparatively expensive—we are paying more for less. Artificial intelligence—broadly defined as the development of intelligent machines (computer systems) that perform functions such as thinking and problem-solving that normally require human intelligence—holds tremendous promise for improving healthcare delivery. Yet there is a gap between what is possible and what has been realized.

In this presentation, I will focus on applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the health care delivery setting, i.e. for clinicians and provider organizations. AI offers compelling opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce errors, and incorporate increased evidence-based decision support. However, challenges abound in areas such as data security, patient privacy, legal liability, and the challenges of applying AI tools in new contexts. Despite the abundance of challenges in this space, the application of secure, well-validated AI systems holds great potential for improving healthcare delivery, both now and into the future.

NERVES Survey Results

Mike Heaton, CPA, Katz, Sapper & Miller

Join us to hear Mike Heaton with Katz Sapper & Miller’s annual review of the 2020 NERVES survey results (reporting 2019 data). Heaton will present this year’s benchmarking standards for the neurosurgery industry and update attendees on salary and benefit trends.

Washington Update

Katie Orrico, AANS

Presentation will provide attendees with an overview of the health policy and advocacy activities of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

At the conclusion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  1. Be aware of the public policy priorities of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the status of advocacy efforts, including a recap of 2020 and what’s in store for the future.
  2. Be familiar with the results of the AANS/CNS prior authorization and AMA surveys and efforts to improve PA processes.
  3. Understand the scope of efforts to address surprise medical bills.


100/200 Breakouts

101/201 – Return on Investment in Robotic Assisted Spinal Surgery

Brian Asmussen, Medtronic

This session, led by Medtronic’s Brian Asmussen, will deliver practical application of connecting clinical and economic outcomes in the development of a robotic assisted spine surgery program.


102/202 -What Every Manager Needs to Know About the New E/M Guidelines for Office Visits

Kim Pollock, RN, MBA, CPC, CMDP, Karen Zupko & Associates, Inc.

The new guidelines were instituted on January 1 for office Evaluation and Management codes. The revisions were designed to “relieve the burden” of coding and documentation. Have they? This session will provide you with the essential elements of office visit coding and documentation including an explanation of when in-office diagnostic testing can be “counted”.


103/203 – Daring to Inspire Growth + Change in Healthcare

Allison Holzer, M.A.T., M.F.A. & P.C.C. - Co-CEO + Chief Innovation Officer, InspireCorps

The only constants in today’s healthcare system are change and ambiguity. Unexpected healthcare industry and technology disruptions and innovations due to Covid make the future even more uncertain. Healthcare leaders need to navigate these murky waters with vision and clarity, reimagining what’s possible while also addressing current demands with confidence, agility and empathy. In order to do this, they will need to uncover and activate a new purpose that inspires them and those around them. In this session, Allison Holzer, co-author of the business management book Dare to Inspire, will unveil a new, research-based framework for healthcare executives and leaders to inspire themselves and others to innovate, reimagine what’s possible, and drive growth and change. She will draw on her original exploratory research, stories from her book, and insights from her experience as a globally sought-after Master Certified Coach for healthcare executives and senior leaders.


  • Understand why inspiration is a resource healthcare organizations need to invest in during times of change and complexity.
  • Experience a framework for inspiring change at individual, team and organizational levels.
  • Learn from success cases where inspiration was used strategically to enable organizational growth and engagement during challenging times.
  • Generate a purpose-driven vision for inspiring change and growth through communication, activation, and commitment.


What Neurosurgeons want Administrators to Know

Dr. Dawn Tartaglione, Bayhealth

Neurosurgeons face many struggles in their day to day practice, not all of them in the operating room. In this session, Dr. Dawn Tartaglione will discuss important topics that surgeons want their administrators to know about. Everything is on the table, including physicians on-boarding, communication styles, authorizations, and the future of neurosurgery. There will be plenty of time for Q&A, in which Dr. Tartaglione will dedicate time to answer questions about anything neurosurgical.

5 Keys to Leading in Today’s Multigenerational Workplace

David Delong

The challenges of managing a multigenerational workforce in healthcare present intractable problems that aren’t going away in the near future. Leaders today can’t just focus on recruiting and retaining Millennials and Gen-Zs. They also must develop and retain Gen-Xers, while maximizing the contributions of older Boomers, as well.

This session, customized for NERVES conference participants, will provide highly practical steps for improving the performance of your organization’s multigenerational staff. Based on interviews in dozens of healthcare settings, I’ll share:

  • Steps to prioritize your most critical talent risks
  • Practical tools for accelerating knowledge transfer across generations
  • Cultural practices to enhance collaboration and communication that will improve your organization’s performance


Coding Updates & Hot Topics

Kim Pollock, Karen Zupko & Associates

This session will detail the 2021 neurosurgery code changes with a preview of new codes for 2022. Other hot topics will be discussed including common payment denial, prior authorization and coding issues.