Chairman’s Letter

I’ll be honest with you: I’m feeling somewhat anxious about a number of issues affecting the health care environment these days. But as I sat down to write this letter, I wanted to start on a lighter note, perhaps with a quote from Mel Brooks’ classic 1977 movie “High Anxiety.” I turned to my copy of the book “Video Hound’s Movie Laughlines” for the appropriate quip, and … nothing!

Disappointed, I looked for movie lines associated with the words “anxious,” “nervous” and “worried,” but I still found nothing. I changed course and searched for a funny movie reference about doctors, hospitals, insurance, medicine or pharmacies and still found no great quotes.

That effort served to reinforce my initial perception that this business is no laughing matter.

There are a number of serious concerns keeping our membership up at night. Among them are the affairs of Congress regarding proposed health care policy and the recent behavior of payers as they develop proposed narrow networks, modify long-standing provider manuals and protract the process of paying legitimate claims.

Add to those issues the strain of an inadequate supply of primary care providers to meet the population health needs of our delivery systems and the communities they serve, the increasing cost and complexity of the information systems necessary to manage our enterprises, the threat to hospitals and health systems posed by decreased revenues as a result of new payer practices, and competition from retail/niche service providers. As leaders, however, we are challenged to embrace change and adapt our organizations in the best interests of our patients. In the words of Albert Einstein, “No problem is ever resolved with the same thinking that was used to create it.” We have much work to do.

This issue of Harmony addresses several critical subjects of concern to our membership. First and of immense importance is the opioid crisis gripping this state and the nation. Indiana is well served by Gov. Eric Holcomb; Jim McClelland, executive director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement; and Jennifer Walthall, M.D., secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Together, they have worked with the state legislature to enact new laws and expand state-funded resources necessary to enable Indiana to combat the ever-growing threat that the epidemic represents to our communities. As you will read, IHA and its members have the experience, opportunity and responsibility to provide leadership and other more tangible assets in this outright war on an evil that destroys lives, families and communities across the state.

Another topic of ongoing concern covered in this issue is IHA’s sepsis awareness campaign, which will run in September. As I write this letter, Rep. Steve Scalise, the victim of a recent shooting, is back in intensive care at a hospital in Washington, D.C. A recent news article focused on the dismal infection ratings of the hospital where he is being treated versus those of another hospital in the area. Infections and sepsis are increasingly public issues, and we must be vigilant about improving the care we provide. Our patients expect and deserve the safest hospital experience possible.

Finally, this issue of Harmony addresses two other timely and highly relevant topics, cybersecurity and patient safety initiatives, including the SOAP UP campaign. These two subjects  demonstrate there is no shortage of infrastructure and process improvement opportunities—nor will there ever be.

There are many important issues impacting our membership and the communities we serve. I know and believe that through our hard work, commitment, sharing and perseverance, many of these issues ultimately will be resolved successfully.

In keeping with my original intent to quote a funny line from a famous movie, I offer the reply the Sundance Kid gave to the losing gambler in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” in response to the question “What’s the secret of your success?”: “Prayer.”