MHA's 94th Annual Convention & Trade Show ended this morning. Excluding Wednesday’s executive briefing, the featured speakers provided interesting bookends.
Don Berwick, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on health care improvement, opened the general sessions. He explored how our system got to where it is, and where — with leadership and intention, it could be going.
Charlie Cook, one of the nation’s eminent political prognosticators, closed the convention. His remarks focused on the upcoming election and its implications for the nation and our national health policy. Both offered thoughts on systems that are clearly fragmented, if not broken.
Having attended both sessions, I can’t help think that the public dissatisfaction with the political system and with our health care system are remarkably similar. However, there are amazing bright spots in the health care realm.
Last night, we honored several hospital-community leaders and hospital organizations for the work they are doing to improve care and build stronger communities. It’s hard work, worthy of recognition. And, it demonstrates that when effective leaders are given the opportunity to make change — from incremental to fundamental change — they both can and will.
Charlie Cook reflected this morning on President Gerald Ford’s comments after the Nixon resignation — “our long national nightmare is over.” He was, of course, referring to next week’s election. Yes. I can say with confidence that no matter the outcome, no one will long for the relentless political ads or the historically low political discourse. However, next Wednesday begins the work of mending our social and political fabric.
The leaders we recognized at the convention will continue their work to improve care, moving toward Berwick’s Triple Aim of better care, better health and lower cost. These leaders will be spirited forward or stymied in their progress by the policies of the next set of political leaders in Washington, D.C., and Jefferson City.
The truth is, change requires courage and commitment. The rate of change, and its direction, will be determined by those willing to recognize the faults in our system — of health care, politics and policymaking — and work to proceed despite them.
Several months ago, MHA added resources to our “your vote matters” election information site. I encourage you to review the candidates’ positions and the issues during the next four days. Please share them. Our ability to serve effectively will depend, in part, on the election.
Pres. Ford’s words remind me of the words of another president who offered them in times much more contentious than our own. In closing his first inaugural address, Pres. Lincoln said, “Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
We can only hope that next Tuesday’s politicians become post-election statesmen. That would smooth the path for our health care system to move from incremental change to fundamental improvement — and why your vote is so important.
Let me know what you think.
In This Issue
Herb B. Kuhn
MHA President and CEO
CMS Issues Final CY 2017 OPPS And ASC Payment And Policy Updates
CMS Releases Final CY 2017 PFS And MDPP Payment And Policy Updates
MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
CMS Announces OQR Program Payment Reduction Results For CY 2017 Payment Determination
CMS Announces IQR Webinar
NAHSE Schedules Annual Symposium