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Column | Leadership

When the bones are good: Healthcare industry challenges can be opportunities to grow

Column | Leadership

When the bones are good: Healthcare industry challenges can be opportunities to grow


It has been an interesting beginning to 2020! We already have a presidential election shaping up to overwhelm us in the media and beyond. And despite the unrest and volatility in various parts of the world, the U.S. economy was humming along, with low unemployment and other strong economic indicators until …. COVID-19. Suddenly, we have a new level of uncertainty.  

I recently heard someone say, “Grow your roots deep in the sunshine.” There may not be a better time to reflect on that statement and what it means for each of us working in the healthcare industry. 

As I traveled and talked with our members about Dare You to Move, I had a slide that asks the question, “Are you prepared for the biggest wave of the day on our head?” It’s a thought that comes from Laird Hamilton, an entrepreneur and surfer who rode the biggest wave ever at the time in 2000. But Hamilton didn’t just wait until he saw that big wave and suddenly decide to ride. He had prepared for it for much of his life. And while he had great fear of the wave, Hamilton points out that fear is to be respected. Fear must be understood and costs calculated before taking on the wave.

We are getting a big wave on our head today. The COVID-19 crisis is not the first and absolutely will not be the last emergency we face in our careers. The current situation is challenging our healthcare supply chain, our reliance on China for supplies and pharmaceutical ingredients, our investment returns, our clinical protocols, our professional education and travel, our personal hygiene habits and much more. Are we ready to grow and learn through this challenge?

A new song I enjoy by Maren Morris and Hozier titled “The Bones” says it this way: “The house don’t fall when the bones are good.” We need to make sure our bones are good and trust that foundation. We need to trust our principles, our values and our sense of taking care of each other in these moments of doubt and fear. Hamilton would say we were made for this — made to respond in new and positive ways to the fearful things around us.  

HFMA grew its roots deep in the sunshine. We have the reserves and resources to help our members learn, grow, connect and engage during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. We will continue to be the go-to source for healthcare finance education, news, research and more for you, our members, and your organizations when you need us most. 

About the Author

Michael M. Allen, FHFMA, CPA,

is CFO, OSF Healthcare System, Peoria, Ill., and 2019-20 Chair of HFMA.

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