Column | Leadership

'Here Comes the Sun'

Column | Leadership

'Here Comes the Sun'

Done! Over! 2020 is behind us!

What a long, strange trip it has been. Are you ready to get back to normal in this new year? Me, neither. I’m just ready to get back to anything other than shutdowns. The “reset” of 2020 wasn’t all bad. For many, it meant an inconvenience or a change of habits. For others, it was a nice retreat from the busyness of life. Yet for others, it exacerbated hardships.

There are so many perspectives, but there’s one thing most would agree is a good thing: We have vaccines! To be sure, they won’t solve all our problems, and there remain many distribution-related issues that need to be resolved. But one thing vaccines will solve is our need for human connection. We humans are meant to socialize, to gather and learn and grow and enjoy all of the things that make life rich and fulfilling, like music. “Here Comes the Sun” is the iconic Beatles song with George Harrison on vocals — a cool vibe and maybe a song for 2021.

“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it feels like years since we’ve been here.”

There is much to celebrate about the vaccines and their development. There was an intriguing article in New York magazine by David Wallace-Wells, titled “We had the vaccine the whole time” (Dec. 7, 2020). The article has many interesting storylines, but three things emerge. 

First is that these vaccines were created faster than any in the history of mankind. Most vaccines in the past arrived about the time the disease had already swept through the population and only served as a way to close the door on its coming back.

Second, through a humanitarian act, Chinese scientist Yong-Zhen Zhang (umm, Nobel Peace Prize, please) released the genetic sequence of the virus to the public in January 2020. And within two days, Moderna created their vaccine! This was Jan. 13, 2020 — one week before the first confirmed case in the United States.  Maybe this vaccine thing can go faster.

Third, scientists believe it is possible that vaccines can be created proactively to deal with 90% of all viruses we may ever experience.

“Little darling, I feel the ice is slowly melting. Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear.”

This story has an important lesson for us about embracing the possibility of acting faster when it comes to our own healthcare finance work. What can we get done in two days that used to take weeks or months or years?

“Here comes the sun. Sun, sun, sun, here it comes.”


About the Author

Michael M. Allen, FHFMA, CPA,

is CFO, OSF Healthcare System, Peoria, Ill., and 2020-21 Chair of HFMA.

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