I was in Chicago for education on Monday and Tuesday.* I love Chicago, but I hate getting there. Sometimes I drive and sometimes I fly - it takes about the same amount of time when you factor in all the waiting at the airport. New though, are flights out of Mason City with no charge for parking, closer than Des Moines, and cheap - $75 one way. A little bit quicker as well. The kicker though is it's a small (8 passenger) plane with no bathroom. And it's a prop plane, and it reminds me of a crop duster.
One of the sessions I was at was an update from the policy wonks from the American Hospital Association. They said that someday Critical Access Hospitals will change and life as we know it will be different. That was it. I wanted to stand up and ask what that means, but I didn't. I bet they aren't thinking that life will necessarily be better ... So, with this in mind, I'm thinking "we need to be at the top of our game. Totally efficient, effective, and all pulling in the same direction." Another session I went to was called Leading and Managing Change. The guy who taught the class talked a lot about trust and a culture that was based on strong values of mutual respect and appreciation. One thing he said that struck a chord with me was that only I am responsible for my happiness (satisfaction) ... and being happy is a momentary sensation. Pride in the organization where I work and to be completely engaged, this is the real prize - what every organization should strive for all of it's employees.
So, as we continue on, the horizon will change. It won't be solely based on reimbursement. From a federal perspective, changes will be coming with regards to mental health reform and guidelines regarding opioid painkiller prescriptions. There's a lot of other stuff, but as the guy from AHA said - this is a do nothing congress and fortunately for us, congress needs to work in a bipartisan way to affect big change (such as changing the Critical Access Hospital program). As a previous Boy Scout - the motto was "Be prepared", and so we will use that and plan to be nimble and change in whatever direction the wind from Washington blows. Stay tuned.
*ACHE - American College of Healthcare Executives
-Steve Simonin, President & CEO