Hospital Leadership Training FAQ

What is the format of the GHA and GSU Hospital Leadership Training Program?

The program is designed to meet you and your board members’ training needs with a focus on flexibility. Standard 1 training for new enrollees of required hospitals is offered live via webinar every month. After completing this prerequisite session, Standards 2-8 can be completed via online, on-demand modules that can be accessed and completed at your convenience, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Non-required participants can complete all 8 Standards in any order, entirely online. If you need the program to come to you, that can be arranged for an additional fee.

After the initial certification, participants can complete the same courses to be recertified over the next two years or participate in qualified GHA webinars and GHA membership meetings throughout the year, such as the Trustee Conference, Center for Rural Health Quarterly Meetings, Summer Meeting and the Center for Rural Health Annual Meeting.

What, specifically, are we required to learn?

The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center (GRHIC) at Mercer University and the State Office of Rural Health developed the Curriculum Standards that total 8 hours of education.

  • Standard 1: Governance, Liability and Accountability (2 hours)
  • Standard 2: Responsibility to Regulatory Agencies and Legal Considerations (1.25 hours)
  • Standard 3: Finances and Fiduciary Responsibility (1 hour)
  • Standard 4: Compliance (45 minutes)
  • Standard 5: Ethics (1.25 hours)
  • Standard 6: Continuum of Care (30 minutes)
  • Standard 7: Strategic Planning and Accountability (1 hour)
  • Standard 8: Grants (15 minutes)

Trustees and executives from required hospitals must participate in a live session of Standard 1 prior before progressing to the remaining standards. GHA hosts monthly interactive webinars on Standard 1 at noon on the second Tuesday of every month.

Standards 2 through 8 are covered through six additional training hours in an on-demand format that learners can access in any order, at their convenience.

​Recertification continuing education sessions delve more deeply into the above standards, as well as emerging trends and topics of interest.

How will we know that the modules were completed by our Board and Executives?

GHA will track qualified credits and provide hospital executives and other designated staff a monthly report showing each participant’s status in completing initial certification, as well as continuing education credits earned toward recertification. This same information is shared with the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center for all required hospitals.

Is my hospital required to complete the training?

All hospitals eligible for the Rural Hospital Tax Credit Program are required to complete the training. Non-required hospitals are also eligible to enroll.

HB 769 states that rural hospital organizations as defined in Code Section 31-8-9.1 are required to be trained. Those are identified as:

  • (1) “Critical access hospital” is defined as a hospital that meets the requirements of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to be designated as a critical access hospital and that is recognized by the department as a critical access hospital for purposes of Medicaid.
  • (2) “Rural county” is defined as a county having a population of less than 50,000 according to the United States decennial census of 2010 or any future such census;  provided, however, that for counties which contain a military base or installation, the military personnel and their dependents living in such county shall be excluded from the total population of such county for purposes of this definition.
  • (3) “Rural hospital organization” is defined as an acute care hospital licensed by the department pursuant to Article 1 of Chapter 7 of this title that:
    • (A) Provides inpatient hospital services at a facility located in a rural county or is a critical access hospital;
    • (B) Participates in both Medicaid and Medicare and accepts both Medicaid and Medicare patients;
    • (C) Provides health care services to indigent patients;
    • (D) Has at least 10 percent of its annual net revenue categorized as indigent care, charity care, or bad debt;
    • (E) Annually files IRS Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax, with the department, or for any hospital not required to file IRS Form 990, the department will provide a form that collects the same information to be submitted to the department on an annual basis;
    • (F) Is operated by a county or municipal authority pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 7 of this title or is designated as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; and
    • (G) Is current with all audits and reports required by law.

Who must complete the training?

The chief executive officer, the chief financial officer, every board member, and every hospital authority member must complete the education standards required for initial certification and recertification. Additional staff are welcome to participate in the program at no additional charge.

By when do the standards need to be completed?

New board members must complete Standard 1 prior to installation. New executives must complete Standard 1 within 60 days of their hire date. New board members and executives have 12 months from their initial hiring or appointment to complete the remaining 7 Standards.

Participants are considered “certified” after passing quizzes on all 8 Standards and are certified for 2 years from their certification due date, or 3 years from their hiring/appointment date.

Who will be the trainers?

GSU has assigned experienced professors from its Masters of Public Health and Masters of Healthcare Administration programs to develop and deliver the education.

Is your program approved by the GRHIC?

GHA and Georgia Southern University were jointly approved as a trainer in the Hospital Leadership Training Program by the GRHIC for 2020-2021 and re-approve for the 2022-2023 cycle.

What is the cost to participate?

The program costs $2,500 annually, with a two-year commitment. This cost covers initial certification for any new board members or executive leadership, as well as ongoing recertification training, tracking of credits, and reporting. While only the CEO and CFO are required to be trained, any executive deemed by the CEO may complete the training for no additional cost.

What does the fee cover?

The fee covers all required initial and ongoing recertification training for all board members and executives. This includes access to all on-demand modules and monthly interactive Standard 1 webinars; recertification via repeating training of the original standards (Pathway 1); a 1-hour review course for recertification pathways 2 or 3; required pre- and post-testing; individual learners' accounts within GSU’s distance learning system Folio; and monthly reporting of completion status to GRHIC and the participating hospital. (Every quarter, hospitals must also report their current board and executive leadership to GRHIC.)

To attend recertification CE sessions at GHA member meetings, such as the Trustee Conference or other qualified membership meetings and webinars, each participant must be a representative of a subscribing hospital and registered attendee. Additional registration fees may apply.

How do I get recertified?

The GHRIC has outlined three “pathways” for recertification:

Pathway 1: Repeated Training

  • Repeat the original curriculum of 8 standards in its entirety.
  • Standards can be completed in any order and entirely online via Folio.
  • Up to 4 hours can be completed in the first year of recertification (the year following the initial certification due date).

Pathway 2: Recertification Units

  • Learners can participate in other education programs approved by the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center for a total of 7 Recertification Units, plus a 1-hour review course of the original 8 standards.
  • Up to 4 hours of Recertification Units can be earned in the first year of the recertification cycle (1 year after the initial certification due date).
  • The review course and at least 3 hours of education approved for Recertification Units must be completed in the second year.

Pathway 3: Hybrid

  • The review course and at least 3 other hours of education must be completed in the 2nd year.

What is the timeline for recertification?

Participants are considered “certified” after passing quizzes on all 8 Standards and are certified for 2 years from their certification due date, or 3 years from their hiring/appointment date.

It is important to note that recertification training cannot start before the certification due date (1 year from start date), regardless of when the participant completes their initial certification training. Up to 4 hours of training can take place in year 1 of the recertification cycle, and at least 4 hours of training, including the 1-hour review course, must take place in the second year.

See this helpful timeline.

Can courses I take through other providers or other meetings I attend count towards recertification?

No. Courses must be provided by a training entity certified by the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center and individually approved by the Center for Recertification Units.

Where can I find a listing of all the courses that have been approved for Recertification Units?

New courses are announced as they are approved by the Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center and highlighted in monthly reporting emails to CEOs and designated staff.

The following events and webinars have been approved for Recertification Units and are posted in Folio, the Georgia Southern learning management system.

  • Pursuing Health Equity Through Regulation and Reimbursement (1 hour)
  • Driving Workplace Violence Prevention Through Strategy and Best Practices (1 hour)
  • The No Surprises and Surprise Billing Consumer Protection Acts (1.5 hours)
  • The Current State of Digital Marketing (1 hour)
  • Georgia Litigation Update (1 hour)

How do I choose the Pathway I take for recertification?

The Pathway you take is entirely up to you. You do not need to register for any particular pathway; simply participate in 8 total hours of training in whichever way works best.

  • Pathway 1 can be done entirely on your schedule in an online format, but it will be an exact repeat of the original content and may seem redundant for experienced board members.
  • Pathway 2 provides more options for new information, including GHA meetings and webinars throughout the year that feature expert speakers. Virtual sessions will be recorded, but in-person meetings must be attended live.
  • Pathway 3 blends Pathway 1 and Pathway 2. You can attend one or more GHA meetings and/or webinars, complete the 1-hour review course, and make up the balance of any remaining hours by repeating some of the original standards in Pathway 1. See the chart below to plan how to complete the training most efficiently.



Standard 1: Governance, Liability & Accountability

2 hours

Standard 2: Regulations/Legal

1.25 hours

Standard 3: Finance

1 hour

Standard 4: Compliance

45 minutes

Standard 5: Ethics

1.25 hours

Standard 6: Continuum of Care

30 minutes

Standard 7: Strategic Planning

1 hour

Standard 8: Grants 

15 minutes