Catherine Jacobson, FHFMA, CPA

Paula Christian is a leader who makes it count.

Paula is a registrar at my hospital, Rush University Medical Center in Chicago-and she's received more employee recognition awards than almost anyone at the hospital. Every day, Paula leaves a lasting impression on the many patients she encounters.

When you speak to Paula about the patients at Rush, she describes them as her patients, and she takes a personal interest in all of them. She knows that she is often the first person patients see when they come through the door. She also knows that most patients are coming in for a procedure that has unnerved or frightened them. She defines her role as making patients more comfortable, getting them through the paperwork process, offering them help if they need it, and walking them to their next place in the hospital.

Paula understands that health care is about caring for people. She is a leader who makes it count for every patient she meets.

"Making It Count" is the theme I've chosen for my year as HFMA National Chair. Making it count depends on leadership-on individuals like Paula who are willing to take an extra step, take a chance, speak up, or make a difficult choice because they believe their actions will help a patient, better their community, improve an organization, or bring about a needed change.

Leadership is an integral part of how we make it count in the business of healthcare finance. I see people throughout my finance department who are making it count as leaders every day. And through my work with HFMA, I've had some great conversations with members who are passionate about enhancing our healthcare system so that we can do a better job of helping people in need. That passion extends to HFMA members in provider and vendor organizations alike. For instance, on a recent trip to the Tennessee Chapter, Cynthia McBride, the chapter's new president, shared with me her passion about how her work for a healthcare IT vendor helps her clients deliver better health care to the communities they serve. She knows that the work she and her clients are doing is having an impact on people's lives. She knows that they make it count.

As healthcare finance professionals, we have a unique opportunity to help our organizations help people. As our industry moves forward through these challenging times, our leadership as finance professionals will become more important than ever. We are all being called upon to make difficult decisions while preserving the mission of our organizations to help the many people who depend on the care we provide. By cultivating a spirit of "making it count," we can ensure that our organizations continue to make it count in service to our communities. And by drawing from the inspiration of our achievements and the achievements of those we admire, we can also make it count for our profession and our Association.

What have you been doing to make it count?

Publication Date: Monday, June 01, 2009

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