This year was one of many changes, both large and small. Across the country, Americans braved a tense election cycle that raises questions about the future of health care. Here at WSHA, we celebrated 40 years of our Rural Hospital Leadership Conference in Chelan. We are also preparing to say farewell to WSHA President and CEO Scott Bond, who will soon be retiring. Scott has been a visionary leader, a trusted advisor and a wonderful mentor. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to work alongside Scott for the last six years and during our time of transition here at WSHA.
These changes, whether they are ones that cast uncertainty or make us proud, also mark the start of a new chapter and a fresh start. As you’ve already heard us say many times, preserving health care coverage for our communities is at the top of our list of priorities, but that’s just the beginning. There’s going to be a lot going on at WSHA in 2017.
Our policy team, now led by Senior Vice President Chris Bandoli, is hard at work preparing for the coming legislative session, where we are pursuing improvements to the health care policy framework in our state. There are opportunities to make much-needed improvements to our state’s mental health system, as well as budgetary challenges in the form of cuts to hospital-owned clinics. (Be sure to join us for our legislative kickoff webcast January 10 to learn about our priorities for the legislative session.)
Our patient safety team is focusing its efforts on our Partnership for Patients work, which now includes collaboration with Alaska and part of Oregon. Expanding our innovative work across state lines will make care safer for the entire region. Patients may rarely know what WSHA is, but they will see the results of our work in the form of better health outcomes.
I will be spending some time on the road in 2017, visiting member hospitals and health systems to learn how we can better serve your needs and ensure that we remain the organization that you can rely on to lead the way into a future that has both challenges and opportunities.
I am optimistic for what 2017 will bring, and I look forward to sharing our successes and challenges with you along the way.
Incoming WSHA President and CEO