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Interesting Times

Interesting Times

There is a saying that goes something like, “May you live in interesting times.”

Some have attributed this to an ancient Chinese curse or blessing, depending on how one looks at it.

I just got back from a trip to our nation’s capital, and I can honestly say we do indeed live in interesting times. This was the American Hospital Association’s annual meeting, and on Monday I was in a meeting where we were addressed by FBI Director James Comey. I found him to be engaging, humorous, knowledgeable about cybersecurity in the healthcare space, and a decent person who appeared to have integrity. Twenty-four hours later, he was fired.

I also met with Wyoming Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso on Monday afternoon. They genuinely listened to my concerns and the concerns of my colleagues about the current state of healthcare in America, especially in rural America. They gave me insight into what the U.S. Senate may or may not do with the version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that the U.S. House of Representatives passed last week. They know how important and absolutely vital the work we do in rural hospitals is to Wyoming.

The Senate will take at least two months, and probably more, rewriting what the House has passed. In general, the Senate will use the House version as guidelines, but the actual law will likely look much different than what was passed last week.

On Tuesday morning, I heard Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, minority leader in the Senate, speak about how terrible the law will be for most Americans, and then I listened to Hugh Hewitt, conservative columnist for the Washington Post and talk show host, talk about the improvements the AHCA will have in the United States. All the while, President Donald Trump is assuring us that the new law will be good for America and Americans.

What do we make of all these changes? We work in an industry that will continue to be a target for change. The United States spends more than $3.3 trillion on healthcare, so it is no wonder it’s a big target. It will continue to be a target, and those of us who work in this industry have to get used to that.

So often what we do at the local level has no relevance in Washington. The dollars and political stakes are so high that we may indeed be overlooked. However, what CCH staff do each and every day in serving our patients and community matters greatly. I want our staff to know that they make a difference every single day with their expertise and compassion. As caregivers, providers, and those who support them, it is my hope that I properly relay to them though the regulatory, reimbursement, and financial environment changes all around us, we at the local level will continue to be steadfast in serving our community.

I am convinced that if CCH relentlessly pursues quality in every aspect of what we do, then we will be fine. That doesn’t mean it won’t be difficult, but CCH will weather each storm that comes our way and will be better at what we do. Not because of Washington or Cheyenne, but because the staff at CCH are the heart and soul of healthcare in Campbell County, Wyoming. With that kind of heart and that kind of soul, we will be just fine.

One thing I always try to do when I am in Washington is visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, and the National World War II Memorial. Why? Because I always want to be reminded of what it means to participate in lofty causes. Nothing any of us can do in life that is worthwhile will be easy or cheap. The cost to achieve something meaningful, something great, and something lasting can be extraordinarily high.

So, today, I want to say thank you to the medical and support staff at CCH. Thank you for your participation in providing great care to our community.

Bring on the change.

~ Andy