CEO Report: Standing the Test of Time

Posted on January 08, 2019

“An invention has to make sense in the world in which it is finished, not the world in which it is started.” - Ray Kurzweil

MHA CEO ReportIn our December CEO Report, we reflected on several changes and initiatives that marked 2018 as a successful and impactful year for the MHA. As the calendar turns to a new year, we wanted to highlight several trends and activities that will shape the landscape in which we operate. First and foremost: 2019 will mark the 100-Year Anniversary of the MHA. There are not many associations — or companies of any kind — that stand the test of time to this degree, and you can be sure that we will appropriately celebrate this milestone both inside our membership and with external audiences. Stay tuned for further communications on this front.   

For quite some time now, we have been calling attention to three “mega-trends” that will shape our future: healthcare is becoming more integrated, more transparent, and more value-driven. The integration is apparent, as hospitals link together in ever-larger systems that increasingly include all aspects of the care continuum (including employed physicians), united by increasingly sophisticated information technology. The transparency drumbeat grows continuously louder as patients, purchasers, and politicians demand more meaningful and accessible information about both the quality and price of the healthcare that we provide. And while the implementation of payment reform has been uneven (and downright clunky) and characterized by numerous fits and starts to date, there is no question about the trajectory: value is here to stay. In addition to these three core trends, we have lifted up the notion that public policy and advocacy will continue to be more important than ever for healthcare leaders; as clear evidence, witness the growing enrollment in Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the growing healthcare interests of federal and state officials in the regulatory, legislative and judicial arenas. 

These trends will continue and accelerate in 2019, and the MHA will have specific efforts focused on each. At the same time, there are several other issues that will demand our collective attention throughout the new year. None of them are new, but just as the opioid crisis has been with us for years, it wasn’t until fairly recently that the public consciousness of the issue reached a tipping point, and we witnessed a batch of bills emanating from both Congress and the Michigan Legislature in an attempt to make a positive impact. These issues can be viewed in the same light: either the healthcare community will deal with them on our own, or others will certainly weigh in. They include, but are not limited to:

  • Cybersecurity. According to the FBI, healthcare is now the number one global target of cybercriminals. In Michigan alone, we have seen hospitals, physician groups, and insurers fall victim to ransomware attacks, data breaches, and other cybercrimes that threaten to jeopardize operations. Even worse, the countless medical devices that are in use every day in the patient care setting are also at risk. The MHA hosted our first-ever Member Forum on Cybersecurity last year; we have worked with an expert firm to greatly enhance our cybersecurity profile to protect our own data; and we are now part of a leading-edge Healthcare Security Operations Center (HSOC) that will allow us to better coordinate activities in this space. 
  • Behavioral Health. We have heard a message loud and clear from the field: we have a true behavioral health crisis in Michigan. The MHA’s Behavioral Health Integration Task Force is actively involved in developing recommendations that address access to behavioral healthcare services and foster integration with the greater healthcare delivery system. This task force brings together providers and experts from various organizations where collaboration will be key to driving change.
  • Violence. Closely related to the behavioral health issue, we are hearing a steadily growing concern about the prevalence of violent acts committed in the healthcare workplace, often against front-line caregivers. Not coincidentally, we are experiencing a continued increase in burnout levels among care providers, with fear of violence and emotional/psychological safety being a leading cause. The MHA Keystone Center has embraced workplace safety as one of its key focus areas for the 2019 calendar year, stepping forward as a leader to help improve safety for all healthcare workers.  
  • Disruptors. At our first-ever MHA Chairman’s CEO Summit, held at MHA headquarters this past fall, the impact of disruptors was front and center. Disruptors are new and/or nontraditional entities that believe they have a better approach to healthcare financing and delivery. In short, they are out to build a better mousetrap. And their strategy may or may not include collaboration with hospitals and other care providers. In fact, the history of disruptors in other sectors would indicate that we could very well find ourselves on the outside looking in if we are not willing to think (and act) differently.

With each of these challenges, many of the current public policies and payment incentives point us to keep doing business as usual. But to paraphrase Kurzweil, we must take a leap of faith to create approaches that will work in the very different world of the future. 

One thing won’t change: our ability to foster strong relationships and speak with one voice in the healthcare community — key attributes that have allowed our association to be successful throughout our 100-year history. Moving forward, it will continue to be vital as we face a rapidly changing environment. With member unity and commitment to our mission, I’m incredibly optimistic about the progress we can make.

As always, I welcome your thoughts.


  • CEO Report: Standing the Test of Time

Tags: behavioral health, workplace violence, Brian Peters, CEO Report, cybersecurity, 100 Anniversary

Posted in: MHA Rounds

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