- During a presentation at HFMA’s Annual Conference, Tammie Jackson, 2021-22 Chair, said the COVID-19 pandemic represents an inflection point — an opportunity for transformative change.
- Healthcare finance professionals should consider the types of changes they can implement to reduce disparities and promote health equity.
- Jackson, the first Black Chair in HFMA’s history, said everyone likely has experienced being marginalized to some degree, and those experiences can foster the type of empathetic mindset that paves the way for change.
The pivot point marked by the COVID-19 pandemic is a chance for healthcare leaders to guide the industry in a direction that better serves all demographics, HFMA National Chair Tammie L. Jackson, FHFMA, MHA, CHFP, said during a general session Tuesday afternoon at HFMA’s Annual Conference.
Jackson’s chair theme — “Bolder. Brighter. Better.” — reflects the opportunity that lies ahead for healthcare stakeholders.
“What will be the story our industry will write because of the bold initiatives that we have deployed and the bold decisions we have made?” said Jackson, who also is vice president of go-to-market strategy and sales with TransUnion Healthcare.
Thinking about her industry experience working with value-based payment models, including those that strive to address the social determinants of health, Jackson said disparities in disease prevalence, mortality rates and access to care are conspicuous.
Data show that during the COVID-19 pandemic, 3.6 million potential years of life were lost, she said. Of that total, 30% was among Blacks and 31% among Hispanics — disproportionate numbers relative to the U.S. population at large.
Other issues go well beyond the pandemic and affect various marginalized segments, Jackson said. Glaring examples are seen among American Indians, rural Americans, the LGBTQ population and disabled Americans.
“Whether or not you are well-acquainted with these disparities, the numbers are astounding,” Jackson said. “Once we see it, we cannot unsee it. I am hopeful that now that it has been seen, we will not accept that social determinants of health should drive these kinds of results in such inequitable ways and will work to identify what each one of us can do.”