The American Hospital Association Board of Directors held their most recent quarterly meeting in San Francisco. I loved having a short travel distance for a change. While my fellow Board members did the travelling. They came here from Chicago, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Baton Rouge, Seattle and all over the country.
It was a special pleasure for me that this time, 3 members of the AHA Board travelled up to the Mendocino Coast during time off either before or after the meeting. I love this area and I was glad that some of these health care leaders were able to see it.
For the past 3 years it has been my honor and privilege to serve as a member of the 25-person Board of Directors for the American Hospital Association. I still cannot believe that a hospital administrator from a small critical access hospital in a rural community could have been selected to serve in such a prestigious capacity with this group of National health care leaders.
The honor has been magnified by the fact that this Board is highly involved in the National Healthcare debate that is going on in Washington, DC right now. From my experience on this Board and through my travels meeting hospital executives across the country, my opinion is that hospital leaders are ready to embrace change. We are willing to do our part by participating in payment reform in which hospitals are paid for their performance and in which we reward hospitals for becoming safer and promoting preventative care and wellness.
However, we are also looking for the other major components of health care spending (e.g. pharmaceuticals, health care insurance, information technology, etc) to do their part as well. I am looking forward to the day when universal health care coverage becomes a reality. It may happen sooner than anticipated under the current administration, or it could be many years away still. But, every US citizen, regardless of their circumstance or where they live (rural or urban) deserves the best health care that we can offer. It will be easier when no one has to worry about health insurance.