“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”--Winnie the Pooh
Who could imagine that Winnie the Pooh would so aptly sum up my feelings about leaving MHA? But he does. It is hard to say goodbye because you have made it that way. To a person, Maryland’s hospital leaders have enriched the past nine years of my life with your dedication to MHA, your compassion for your patients and staff, your determination to maintain Maryland’s unique status as a national leader and, through it all, your friendship.
When I came to the MHA nine years ago, I had done some pretty important national work over the 20 years I spent at the American Hospital Association. None of it was more important than the historic work we did here, together, to modernize Maryland’s Medicare waiver, and that is work that must and will continue … because it is good for Marylanders.
But what has impressed me most is the way each of you has transformed your hospitals, with no real template to model yourselves after, just the promise of better care. You have partnered with others in your communities, you have adopted global budgets – much faster than the agreement called for – and you have in the process made health care better and held costs down. The system is not perfect, and MHA will continue fighting for the right decisions to be made on the details of policy implementation. But in the face of those challenges you are making the kinds of changes that other states are still only thinking about – including the one I am headed to. You can bet my experience here will color my efforts there.
Perhaps what I am most proud of is that I leave you in the hands of a hugely capable and dedicated – I wouldn’t hesitate to say passionate – MHA team. I can tell you from firsthand experience that they are as talented and intelligent and as committed to the hospital mission as any team in any state hospital association in the country.
If I could sum the MHA team up in one word, that word would be credibility. They have established themselves as experts, and they tell the truth. There is no cooking of numbers or shading of language to accent a point. They fight for what’s right for you and the people who need you.
I am proud to have been only the third president of the Maryland Hospital Association, after the man who created the association, Dick Davidson, and the man who nurtured it for 16 years, Cal Pierson. That’s a sure sign of stability, a stability driven by your participation and support.
I know that whoever is chosen to be the fourth president is in for a helluva wonderful ride. Thank you, each and every one of you, for making my ride such a joy, and for giving me something that, indeed, makes saying goodbye so hard.