ACHE Case Competition

Third Win in Four Years for a Jindal Team at Healthcare Case Competition

ACHE Case Competition

Left to right: William (Bill) Howard, Fallon Wallace, Keith Herl and Dr. Forney Fleming, MS in Healthcare Management program director

A UT Dallas team that delivered no-nonsense advice to a novice CEO trying to fix a deluge of problems in his struggling healthcare company placed first and earned $3,000 in a student case study competition sponsored by the North Texas chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives.

It was the third time in four years a team of Naveen Jindal School of Management students won the annual challenge, which tasks competitors with analyzing and then presenting proposals to remedy hypothetical difficulties drawn from issues on the business side of medicine.

Team members Keith Herl, William (Bill) Howard and Fallon Wallace, all graduate students seeking double master’s degrees in business administration and healthcare management, placed ahead of teams from Baylor and Texas A&M universities, the University of North Texas Health Science Center and The University of Texas at Arlington, and the Texas Transplants, a team of two independent entrants who ACHE grouped together.

The challenge centered on a 60-year-old company that had pioneered a nonprofit, prepaid health-maintenance-organization insurance program. The company’s initial market advantage lay in containing costs by relying on its own physician-led medical group to deliver care. Over time, though, that advantage disappeared as competitors also adopted the HMO model. Subsequent economic pressures — including a $200 million operating loss in each of the previous two years — led to “a dire financial situation,” the JSOM team said, as well as growing dissatisfaction among patients and the medical group.

Ultimately, ACHE competitors focused on helping the newly appointed CEO quickly find workable means to increase revenue and restore belief in the company’s viability.

“The competition required our team to act as healthcare executives working together to immediately develop a strategy for the struggling organization,” JSOM team member Fallon Wallace said. “ACHE provided an invaluable experience for our team to have a glimpse of some of the challenges we will face in our career as healthcare management professionals.”

“Our team also took a hard look at the ‘what ifs,’ all the cost, quality and human implications and possible impacts of their advice,” Dr. Forney Fleming, director of the MS in Healthcare Management Program, said. “I think the judges appreciated that practicality. I believe the students learned to do that in our classes, and it reflects well on them, the excellence of our faculty and the quality of the program.”

The competition took place Nov. 13 in Irving, Texas, in advance of the annual meeting of the North Texas ACHE, where results were announced. In addition to a trophy and the prize money, each team member earned student membership in ACHE and in the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council.