National Chair: Dennis E. Dahlen, FHFMA, CPA
Choosing a theme for one’s year as HFMA National Chair is a personal journey, as unique and varied as the individuals themselves. Some Chair-Elects approach the fateful year with a theme already firmly in mind. Others go through a fair amount of dialog to home in on the perfect phrase. My own approach involved seeking inspiration from several sources, including Past Chairs, HFMA leadership, friends, colleagues and even my wife. I also reflected on the fact that, in addition to being right for me personally, the theme ultimately needed to be right for the Association, for the members, for the industry and for the moment in time.
Key insights and soundings I gathered on that journey include:
- Duress on the industry has never been greater. Broad financial challenges are currently being experienced by even the most advantaged industry participants. This includes increasing public criticism of the nonprofit healthcare model, increasing flows of investment in disruptive business models and the looming insolvency of the Medicare trust fund.
- At the same time, opportunities have never been greater. This is thanks to the acceleration of innovation, the introduction of digital and virtual tools at scale, and significant discoveries in genomics and other sciences to advance cures. Additionally, the advancement of leveraging data and technology promise to finally move the practice of medicine beyond an almost singular reliance on human effort to provide care.
- HFMA both exists at this nexus of opportunity and pressure, and influences the path forward. We have outlined our Cost Effectiveness of Health (CEoH) strategy but have yet to fully step into those shoes. We have initiated steps to a global presence, but success is far from certain. Our business model increasingly depends on the support of large-scale industry participants, and the industry pressure will eventually be felt by HFMA. We need to step out and step forward to embrace innovation, visibly advocate for the just cause of CEoH and become indispensable to the organizations that sponsor our members.
While trying to distill all this into a theme appropriate for the time and circumstances, our President and CEO Joe Fifer added another dimension with his retirement announcement. That meant the year in question also would include a leadership change.
Words that described the circumstances ― words like crossroads, pivot or fork in the road ― didn’t fully capture the moment. The convergence of duress, opportunity and a leadership change, however, pointed in the direction of the uniqueness of the moment and the urgency to take advantage of all three forces at work.
In short, it’s time. Time to:
- Reflect on a 75-year history of service to the industry and members, being the trusted authority on healthcare finance and our signature publications, thought leadership content and certification programs.
- Celebrate the many accomplishments from Joe’s tenure, including the Polaris initiative, Chapters 2.0, pandemic operations, CEoH, Boomtown, etc.
- Anticipate a new CEO, new ideas and new business opportunities.
- Act, truly stepping into our new CEoH role(s) and exploring new offerings in service to the industry and our members.