Perspective: Reconnected and ready to rebuild and reinvent a better health care system

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Courage. Compassion. Workforce. Health equity. Hero. Challenges. Innovation. Community partnerships. Leadership. Opportunities.

These are some of the most common words we heard from attendees and speakers about our field at this week’s AHA Annual Membership Meeting in Washington, D.C.

It was great to have so many hospital and health system leaders from across the country at the meeting, which we held in person for the first time since 2019.

During the meeting, we:

  • Reconnected with friends and colleagues and established new relationships;
  • Heard the views of senior administration officials, influential senators and representatives, media personalities and opinion leaders;
  • Hosting several special “in-depth” forums connecting strategic insights and relevant research with policy-driving experts on the biggest issues affecting our field, including health equity, workforce, COVID- 19, rural health and post-acute care;
  • Individuals and organizations honored for their outstanding contributions to the field of health care, as well as for their incredible work during the pandemic;
  • Launched new meeting elements, including a “Power Up Lounge” where members could relax, recharge and reconnect during breaks, as well as watch live podcasts being recorded; and
  • Prepared members to bring powerful advocacy messages to their elected officials on Capitol Hill.

These messages, which were delivered directly to lawmakers, revolved around urging Congress to support continued efforts to defeat COVID-19 and strengthen public health; strengthen the health workforce; and ensuring the financial stability of hospitals and health systems to ensure that we are always there, ready to care.

Please take two minutes to watch this impactful video which captures some of the sights and sounds of the meeting. We also have more in-depth coverage and videos of key presentations available on our Annual Members Meeting videos webpage. And we’ll be working over the next few weeks and months to share more ideas and develop new resources on some of the key themes and issues discussed at the conference.

Our field continues to face incredibly significant challenges, including the unpredictability of COVID-19; an exhausted and strained workforce; the surge in inflation which increases the cost of care; and cracks in the supply chain, to name a few.

At the same time, we have a tremendous opportunity to rebuild and reinvent a better health care system for everyone in every community. This system enables convenient, coordinated and seamless care, including behavioral health services; provides superb clinical results; and focuses on promoting wellness. And all of this must be done with a focus on diversity, inclusion and health equity. That’s why the AHA was pleased to provide its members with the Health Equity Roadmap, a customizable tool that healthcare organizations can use to chart their steps on the path to equity. .

What happens here in Washington matters. After all, Medicare and Medicaid represent on average more than half of the services we provide. And, there are so many federal policies that impact our daily lives when it comes to providing health care.

Equally important is what’s happening across America – hospital by hospital and community by community – as you work to make care better than ever. The AHA will continue to provide you with tools and resources to help you address key challenges ahead, with a focus on workforce, equity, and behavioral health.

We all know the healthcare industry is in the midst of historic change – and America’s hospitals and healthcare systems are helping to lead the charge to shape the future of our patients and the communities we serve.

Our patients and our communities need us. . . that’s why I’m optimistic about the future.

At this year’s membership meeting, I saw so many people – administrators, doctors, nurses and executives – whose leadership, commitment and passion for the health care needs of the communities they serve make me confident about our path ahead.

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