Lawson_Ralph_web

“In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins—not through strength but by perseverance.” 
 
       —H. Jackson Brown

As my term as National Chair draws to a close, I have been thinking about what a phenomenal experience it has been.Words like “challenging,” “fun,” “educational,” “enjoyable,” and “memorable” come to mind when I reflect on this past year. But the word “inspirational” best sums up my experience.

Just a year ago, we were awaiting the ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The future of this signature legislation was uncertain.  Industrywide, many projects were on hold pending the outcome of the ruling. Despite this uncertainty and confusion, HFMA—through the Value Project and other initiatives—continued on the path of building tools to support a value-based delivery system. We understood then, and continue to recognize today, that to change—to significantly impact cost and quality—we must innovate.  

I began my tenure as HFMA Chair by telling you that we must take the lead in finding new ways to significantly increase the value of U.S. health care. Although this continues to be a daunting challenge, I again assert that you have the knowledge, passion, and creativity to make this effort a success. As I think back on my visits to the many HFMA Chapters (from Puerto Rico to Alaska to Hawaii, and many places in between), my assertion has been reaffirmed by all of the great people I have met who have taught me so much. We can lead this change! Honestly, we must lead this change!

Similar to the Inuits who built inukshuks in the vast Arctic landscape to show others the way, so must we continue to build the tools and provide the guidance that will assist others in their path toward a value-based healthcare system.  Still in its infancy, the ACA is in a fluid state and is likely to look very different tomorrow from how it looks today. Nevertheless, one thing is certain. We have embarked on a new way of approaching healthcare delivery in this country. We have begun the journey! You have had the privilege of living through these remarkable times and understanding the landscape under which this historical legislation was passed. It is through your insight, innovation, and leadership that future generations of healthcare finance professionals will navigate through the “new normal.” Keep building! Keep guiding! Keep innovating!

It has been my honor to be a member of HFMA for over 30 years and an even greater honor to have served as the 2012-13 Chair. I am reminded of an anonymous quote: “No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others. The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.” I am truly grateful to all of you for this inspirational year. Continue your hard work— you are on the right trail! Care enough about those who will come after you to take the time to mark the path. And always remember: Leadership Matters! 

Publication Date: Wednesday, May 01, 2013

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