It’s not Rolling Stone, but neither is being on the cover of hfm something I ever sought or even imagined.
And it really isn’t my style. So, you may ask, “Why did you do it?” I mean, I am the CEO, and doesn’t that suggest that I have full control over this? You’re right, I do. So let me explain why.
Reason No. 1: I wanted to highlight major changes in hfm. We’ve made it much easier to read. Articles are shorter and more to the point. Our editors write and curate around current topics that are aimed at contributing to your career success. And we’re featuring more pictures of you, our members. This month, we’ve redesigned hfm. I hope you find the new format more pleasing to your eyes and better suited to your busy lives.
As part of our January theme, “Healthcare in the 2020s,” I was asked to interview with senior editor Rich Daly, a former Modern Healthcare reporter who covers healthcare policy. This meant not only expressing honest, unfiltered views but also agreeing to be on the magazine’s cover. Frankly, my first instinct is not to be in the spotlight. But I realized that a message needs to be articulated right now, and if not by me, then who?
Reason No. 2: Over time, my love for the healthcare industry has been tempered by misgivings. I fell in love with healthcare as a young staff accountant when the business of healthcare was not as prominent a pursuit or as desirable a specialty in public accounting circles as it is now. I loved it nonetheless, for both the professional challenge and the public service, starting with my first audit engagement. Here I am, 39 years later, still enjoying this fascinating industry.
Yet I can’t say I’m proud of all we do. On the cusp of the new decade, I’ve been reflecting on how healthcare got to a point where trust is declining, costs are outpacing inflation, the financial toll exacted on society is increasingly unsustainable — and business practices are largely consumer-unfriendly. I’ve also been reflecting on my role, as the head of a major association, in how we got here. Frankly, I don’t want to be a bystander. I can’t pass up an opportunity to have an impact. So, despite the ribbing I’ll get for being on the cover, I decided to “step up” to this challenge, as HFMA 2010-11 Chair Debi Kuchka-Craig so aptly advocated with her chair theme.
So here you go: My attempt to move us forward. In his theme this year, Mike Allen, our 2019-20 Chair, has dared us all to move. This is my move. In this issue, I’ve expressed some thoughts on the challenges facing our industry. Next month, I’ll go a step further, addressing our role in creating a healthcare system that’s understandable to consumers. In the following months, we will recap the consumerism guidance HFMA has developed over the past 15 years. All told, it’s not a cure-all, but it will highlight an essential area for improvement that’s both within our control and long overdue for being prioritized by healthcare finance leaders.
That, my friends, is why my eyes are glaring out at you from the cover this month.