Hospitals have long been viewed as leaders in our communities—we’re among the biggest local employers; we’re supporters of local initiatives and philanthropic efforts; we’re promoters of better health. Truth is, though, our leadership capabilities and responsibilities stretch far beyond our local communities. It’s impressive what we can achieve when we work together and speak with one voice.
For example, elsewhere in this issue you’ll find an update on the recently completed Indiana legislative session. As health care providers, we advocated together and made noteworthy progress in a number of areas. Consider the issue of medical malpractice caps, which had not been increased in years and, according to many legal experts, were at risk of being ruled unconstitutionally low. We worked hand-in-hand with legislators, trial lawyers and other interested parties, and achieved a compromise that balances our needs with the needs of others.
We also collectively helped to move the ball forward on telemedicine. The General Assembly approved legislation allowing physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants to write certain prescriptions following a telemedicine visit, rather than an in-person appointment. Indiana had been one of the few states without a law enabling this important advancement.
Our state’s hospitals, years ago, joined together as pioneers in electronic health information exchange—there’s an article on that topic in this issue, as well. We’ve made great strides together in improving patient safety and are now called upon to lead in the fight against opioid abuse, which also is spotlighted in this publication. And when we announced our intention to collaborate on improving Indiana’s performance in national health rankings, our leadership as hospitals sparked an inspiring outpouring of enthusiasm among other interested parties. Watch for more on that topic in future issues.
I think we’ve only just begun to tap into our capacity to lead our state to a healthier place and a better quality of life. We’ll continue to serve as anchors for our local communities, as hospitals always have, but we’re also playing on a much bigger stage now, and our willingness to collaborate and lead together is already resonating across Indiana!