Kevin Weeks, who serves as Director of Industry Engagement for Change Healthcare and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE), was recently featured in an ACHE video about the fellowship credential.
“It proves to me that I have broad understanding of the dynamics of the leadership role within the provider space, but also within the payer space and with patients and families,” Weeks says of his Fellowship achievement. “I’m very proud of it.”
The ACHE Fellowship, or FACHE, is a board certification that distinguishes people for their understanding of a core body of knowledge in healthcare leadership. The credential is primarily designed to reflect knowledge in provider leadership and health system management excellence. However, like Weeks, some of the approximately 9,000 fellows work for industry partners, while others work for payers.
Fellowship requirements are stringent. Applicants must pass a Board of Governors (BOG) exam that tests knowledge in many areas, including governance, legal, finance, human resources, public policy, management, analytics, and more. And before they can even apply, applicants must have:
• Held healthcare leadership positions for five years
• Been ACHE members for three years
• Earned an MBA or other post-graduate degree
• Logged 36 hours of continuing education credits, and
• Performed volunteer service
The stringent six-hour BOG exam caps what is, for many, a months-long process. But the effort is worth it. Demonstrating that he understands the challenges providers face “brings credibility to you as a vendor,” Weeks says. “Provider executives recognize you’ve put the effort in to be able to pass the BOG exam and that you understand the dynamics of their business.”
Achieving the credential was on Weeks’ “bucket list,” he adds. The Change Healthcare executive began his career as a surgical nurse, and while working, earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing. After 12 years as a clinician, Weeks “walked out of surgery in scrubs on a Friday, and walked in to Merrill Lynch as a financial analyst on Monday, wearing my only suit,” he says. Later he blended his passions—healthcare and business—by moving into industry leadership roles.
Earning the FACHE was also on the bucket list of fellow Change Healthcare employee Vindali Vartak, Senior Director of Advanced Analytics, who received her certificate in March 2018. Vartak trained as a dentist and then earned a dual MBA/Master’s degree in Health Care Administration from Georgia State before earning the FACHE credential.
Both Weeks and Vartak say the FACHE recognition benefits organizations, not just the Fellows themselves. In chapter meetings, the national Congress, and other ACHE conferences, “You can interact, peer-to-peer, with senior executives across health systems, as well as with up-and-coming leaders throughout the healthcare industry,” says Weeks.
As more and more physicians move into health leadership positions, beyond traditional chief medical officer and chief nursing officer roles, feels the FACHE credential, and the knowledge it represents, is increasingly important. “There are so many more dynamics in running a health system and managing the physician population as a CMO than taking care of patients,” he says.
Visit the ACHE website for more on what Kevin Weeks and his fellow “Fellows” have to say about the value of the FACHE credential.
A Mississippi Medicaid program called the Complex Pharmacy Care Program has helped save nearly $5 million in unneeded prescriptions thanks to contractor Change Healthcare and a pharmacist dedicated to the program, the Clarion Ledger reports.