Friday, November 18, 2016

The Main Thing

Published in VC's Notes on November 18, 2016

The Main Thing

"The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Stephen R. Covey

I spent several days last week in Seattle at the Association of American Medical Colleges' annual meeting along with about 5,000 others from academic medical centers across the U.S. and Canada. There were many formal and informal conversations about the impact of the recent presidential election on health care.

student_roundsUncertainty abounds as to what shape the delivery of health care will take. Because our research and education missions are absolutely intertwined with our patient care mission, these uncertainties bleed over into every aspect of what we do. 

What does the future look like? How should we prepare for it? 

The fact is we never know with certainty what the future holds, so what do we do? We keep the main thing the main thing! Our main thing is working to make Mississippi stronger and healthier.   

We will continue to grow our education programs based on workforce needs. We will continue to grow and invest in research and discovery around those diseases that are most harmful to our friends and families right here at home. We will continue to find and work with willing partners - such as the Gertrude C. Ford Foundation and the Bower Foundation - that believe in and support what we are doing. 

In the clinical arm of our mission we will continue to serve the state by providing tertiary and quaternary care, safety net care, pediatric specialty care, trauma care, and by standing ready to respond in a public service role in time of disaster. We will continue to look to partnerships with other health care providers to improve our ability to coordinate care for Mississippians.  We will continue to grow telemedicine as a way to support physicians and hospitals in smaller communities and rural areas.

We will continue our efforts to improve clinical quality and lower our cost structure to provide the best value to patients and payors, within the context of an academic medical center. And we will continue to reach out to the underserved in our communities with compassionate care and to make health professions education available to those who have traditionally been underrepresented.

Whatever changes the new administration enacts, we will adjust as needed to keep true to our mission. The vision for the Medical Center doesn't change.  Our purpose doesn't change.  Adjustments and accommodations will always be part of our life because laws and regulations will always impact how we do what we do. But the why doesn't change.  The MAIN THING doesn't change. 

Years ago, I heard Dr. John Hall describe the top three things one had to do to be successful. I perked up, eager to hear this advice from someone who has, indeed, been very successful. He said, "Number one: focus. Number two: focus. Number three: focus." 

And that is what we will do, despite what changes may come from a new administration: Keep our focus on our main thing and be true to our mission. 

In the lingo of my kids, "You keep doing you!"  And we will. Our main thing is to stay on the path we are on, working hard each and every day to achieve A Healthier Mississippi.



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