A Letter from Arnese
“Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” ―Rob Siltanen, founder and CEO of Siltanen & Partners and the brain behind Apple’s “Think Different” campaign
I feel like “one of the crazy ones.” I mean, when I stop long enough to really ponder this idea, who do I think I am to believe that I can and will make a difference in such a vast field as Healthcare Reform?
I can’t even begin to tell you why I think (I hope) that my healthcare public service idea will work…will matter…will make a difference. This mission seems so huge.
As a healthcare professional, I’m nervous. Do patients and healthcare consumers really care about participating in reforming their care and the system? I really don’t have an overwhelming sense either way of whether or not they do. And yet I can’t help but think about what a revolution it will be when patients became more involved.
Why do I believe healthcare consumers should care about engaging in reforming care?
Although I work in the medical field, I also am a consumer. Along with patients, like me, it feels as if we are overlooked by the system. We’re never invited to the table to discuss or contribute anything toward reforming healthcare. We are all behind the eight ball—typically we don’t know what the heck is going on and what role we play in the process—or even if we are welcome to join the conversation.
This opportunity that I have right here at my fingertips leaves me a little anxious but a lot excited! My reason for beginning on this path is really quite simple: my life clock is ticking. I want to do something meaningful to leave my footprints for others to follow…to make even a small difference.
I look at this project as an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to society and to fulfill another element of my life’s purpose. It is a chance for me to positively impact patients, healthcare consumers, and healthcare systems.
This may seem cliché or like a mushy mission to some, and that’s okay. Nevertheless, I am more passionate than ever about the need to bring patient and healthcare consumers to a place of understanding and discussion about Healthcare Reform.
Whether or not you believe it, our involvement in Healthcare Reform as consumers is way overdue. You and I need to catch up quickly—we do play a vital role in reforming America’s healthcare system.
As a healthcare leader and consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to travel around the U.S. and experience first-hand the trends, gaps, and variabilities within the healthcare system throughout our country. During those journeys, it became clear to me that people don’t really understand America’s healthcare structure! Nor do most know their roles and responsibilities within the process.
In fact, some healthcare entities don’t really understand the Accountable & Affordable Care Act or the Value-Based Purchasing Program.
Many physicians and hospital teams who do understand the law, strategies, and reimbursements often feel paralyzed about what can and cannot be shared with the patient. They are in conflict between asking patients for their help when needed and that big governmental wall that stops medical officials from telling the consumer how they can help or to empower them with the very knowledge that makes the patient-consumer so powerful.
And there is always an unspoken fear that lurks like a dark storm cloud over the horizon: Federal fines, reimbursement penalties, and hospital closures.
Because of my training and professional experiences, I have an above-average understanding about Healthcare Reform. But, my training, experiences, and awareness during those travels weren’t enough to inspire me to want to impact a change.
A former boss, Quint Studer, regularly told our team, “When you know that you have a solution to a problem that causes pain for someone, you have a human responsibility to act and to do so with urgency.”
At the time that the Obamacare changes were implemented, I wasn’t really compelled to speak up or reach out. I thought about it, but sat where I was. After all, the topic of Healthcare Reform is overwhelming and exhausting.
But there came a time when I could delay no longer. I largely delayed acting on this issue because I believed patients/healthcare consumers really don’t have the time, energy, or care power to engage in the country’s Healthcare Reform fiasco.
Personally speaking, Healthcare Reform to me is like facing a frightening political bogeyman that many avoid confronting.
Like many people, it wasn’t until I was inspired by a personal interaction that I was finally propelled into the skirmish.
During a conversation with my 70-year-old Aunt Bennye, I shared some tips about dealing with Healthcare Reform that patients/consumers should know.
Aunt Bennye said, “I didn’t know that my feedback on those surveys impacts my hospital’s reimbursement. And I had no idea I was supposed to be a part of the discussion when nurses changed their shifts or complained of being short-staffed.” Her conversation with me was peppered with the phrase, “I didn’t know…” on and on.
I’m sure by now you get my point.
I am indebted to Aunt Bennye for being the healthcare consumer voice in my ear that said, “I didn’t know.” And for telling me, “You need to find some way to let people know these things.”
The goal of “The Healthcare Consumer” is to de-mystify regulations so that patients and consumers (you and I) can better understand Healthcare Reform, know what to expect from the healthcare system, and know how to better engage in our own healthcare experience.
Then we can do our consumerism part and support the success of America’s healthcare system.
So…let’s start the discussion. We are all in this together!
Thank you so much for being “The Healthcare Consumer” who is informed, engaged, and empowered.
Founder and Consumer