Sunflower Chapter History
“As with all organizations there must be a catalyst which plants the seed from which the organization will be nourished, grow and eventually flower. The catalyst for the Sunflower State (Kansas) Chapter, American Association of Hospital Accountants, was Mr. Charles S. Billings, Executive Director, The Kansas Hospital Association.” (Folmer F. Christensen, Jr. (Nick), Sunflower Chapter Life Member and former chapter Historian.)
Mr. Billings called the first meeting on December 5, 1957 to discuss plans for organizing a Kansas Chapter of the American Association of Hospital Accounts, which in 1968, became known as Hospital Financial Management Association (HFMA). This meeting was attended by 31 people and was the start of the Sunflower Chapter that formally came into existence on February 18, 1958.
Over the years the Sunflower Chapter has grown to over 300 members. This growth and retention of members is a result of the priority the chapter has placed on providing quality and relevant education to its members. To address the challenges faced by the many small hospitals in rural Kansas, chapter leadership, and often with the help of the Kansas Hospital Association, place emphasis on providing programs that address these issues. Among these are the annual Charge Data Master workshop held each fall, the All Payers workshop held each winter, and the Medicare Cost Report workshop held each summer. The cost report workshop provides cost reporting education on three levels – beginning, intermediate and advanced. This commitment to excellence in education is demonstrated by exceptionally high turnout of chapter members.
HFMA certification is another high priority for the Sunflower Chapter. The chapter has committed their resources to support certification by providing study guides as well reimbursing up to $500 in certification fees to those members obtaining certification.
The excellence of the Sunflower Chapter is evidenced by the number of awards received. Over the years the awards to members include the Frederick C. Morgan Achievement, nine Medals of Honor, 24 Muncie Gold Awards, 41 Reeves Silver Awards and 64 Folmer Bronze Awards. On the national level, the chapter has received the Charles F. Mehler Award of Excellence for Education, Awards of Excellence for Membership Growth and Retention, Award of Excellence for certification, and the Helen M. Yerger Special Recognition Award. In addition, the chapter was awarded HFMA’s most prestigious award, the Robert M. Shelton Award for sustained excellence. This award was presented at the 2008 ANI Healthcare Finance Conference in Las Vegas. It was given in recognition of five years of sustained excellence to its members.