Notes from the 2023 HSSF Executive Conference

Our 16th Conference

Long Island Jewish Medical CenterEver been to an HSSF conference? The recent one at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ) was one not to miss. Based in Queens, New York, LIJ is a flagship hospital of Northwell Health, New York State’s largest healthcare provider and private employer.

About 85 support services leaders attended the two-day, in-person event. Attendees were practitioners representing 25 health systems from around the country. More a meeting than a traditional conference, the gathering included discussion sessions, presentations, and tours led by leaders showcasing their proudest initiatives in EVS, food and nutrition, security, facilities, supply chain, patient transport, and other non-clinical departments that are the domain of HSSF.

We welcomed first-time attendees from UC Irvine Health, Kaiser Permanente, Montefiore, Inova Fairfax Medical Center, Mount Sinai, and Henry Ford Health. They joined members from HSSF stalwarts NewYork-Presbyterian, UPMC, Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, Memorial Sloan Kettering, UCLA Health, Yale-New Haven, City of Hope, and many more.

Chris Boffa, LIJ and Jeff Wickham, HSSFWhat did they think when it was over? Here is some feedback we received:

“Great organization from the hosting organization; great agenda.”

“Good attendance and representation from across the country; great knowledge share; enjoyed the tours; great hosts.”

“The networking was fabulous and sessions relevant.”

The Theme: Back to the Future

Since 2020, support services leaders have responded challenges brought by COVID and its aftermath – first by finding ways to cope with overwhelmed operations, then with strained supply chains and staffing resources. At first, the focus was on survival. Then it evolved to restoring stability. Now, with most of the weight of COVID behind us, we’re returning our focus to the relentless task of making our operations better for the future. So we are “back to the future”. Presenters told us about their journeys back to the future, and about resulting innovations they are pursuing.

Some Highlights

Here are a few highlights from the 26 sessions held over the two days:

Speed NetworkingNetworking: In their feedback, attendees often tell us they would like more time to get to know each other. While we always build in time during breaks, meals, two cocktail receptions, and a dinner, they sometimes have feel they don’t really start to connect until the end of the event. To remedy that this year, at the suggestion of Krystina Cavallaro, LIJ’s Director of Hospital Operations, we kicked things off on the first day with a speed networking event, which got everyone warmed up. It got great reviews. We’ll do it again next time.

Security: LIJ is in an urban, densely-populated community.  Consequently, it must manage every kind of security risk. Mike McCabe, Director of Security, Parking, and Emergency Management, led us through his presentation “Layered Security in the Healthcare Environment”, in which he described how they protect employees and visitors monthly across 1.3 million square feet, and process about 58,000 security passes per month. Of particular interest was LIJ’s EVOLV weapons detection system.

Sandra Lindsay: Sandra is VP Public Health Advocacy at Northwell Health, and the first person to receive a COVID vaccine after its FDA approval. Dr. Lindsay has become an advocate for vaccinations and dispelling misinformation, and a supporter of medical research and global health equity. President Joseph Biden has recognized Dr. Lindsay at the White House as an Outstanding American by Choice for her outstanding achievements as a naturalized U.S. citizen, civic participation, professional achievement, responsible citizenship commitment to this country and common civic values. She gave us an inspiring account of her impressive career path and deep belief in health care equity.

James Gramstad presents "Rebuilding PX"Patient Experience: It never goes out of style. Several presenters told about initiatives to boost patients’ experiences. Related to that, we heard about how some systems are succeeding in using data to find the greatest opportunities to improve, often as reflected in HCAHPS and Press Ganey scores. “Rebuilding PX”, a presentation by James Gramstad of NewYork-Presbyterian, was one example.

Electric Hospital: Joe Brothman, Director of General Services at UCI Health, told about a new campus they are building in Irvine, California. The ambulatory facility, acute care hospital, and cancer center will operate entirely without fossil fuels, providing a bold example for systems designing new facilities with sustainability in mind.

These are just a few examples of the conference’s content. Attendees and members can log in to the HSSF conference website to view and download presentations. 

Enjoy a selection of conference photos here:


2023 HSSF Executive Conference

With Gratitude

Each year, an HSSF member volunteers to host the conference. We at HSSF are never quite sure how things will go until we’re onsite and underway, despite months of Zoom planning calls. This year, we arrived at Long Island Jewish Medical Center (LIJ) to find every possible detail taken care of, and Chris Boffa’s welcoming team members ready to share their passions for their work as well as hospitality. The meeting venue, tours, and catering were perfectly prepared.

During one of the tours, LIJ food and nutrition staff told us one of their values is “Always Practice Gratitude”. I feel immense gratitude for the efforts of so many people who made the conference possible. Many thanks to Chris Boffa, Krystina Cavallaro, and Nicole Licul who flawlessly planned and executed the event with the daily support of Nancy Rubenstein, and to the LIJ support services team that showed pride in what they do.

I’m grateful for the efforts attendees made to come and engage. I know there are a million things to take care of back at the office.

Thanks also to the conference sponsors – Leading Sponsor Medama/ACE Janitorial; Founding Sponsor dormakaba; and Contributing Sponsors Daniels Health; Promo Kings; Unitex; and Virtual Manager. Finally, thanks to Carrie Kuempel, our VP Member Services, and - full disclosure - my wife.

Stay tuned for announcements about next year’s conference as well as HSSF activities throughout the year. Conference registration is a benefit of being an HSSF member. If you’re not a member and would like to learn more, contact me. 

Jeff Wickham
Managing Director, HSSF
[email protected]

Members can access copies of the presentations by clicking the button below and logging in to the member site.