Change. A six-letter curse word to some. It doesn’t have to be. Perspective is everything.
Reality hit several days ago that “change was coming’” when the mail room called my office and informed me that I had a very large box waiting for me. I asked what it might be. The answer, “I think it is a chair?!” The long-standing tradition in the Health Law Section is to present the Section Chair a rocking chair upon completion of his or her term. My personalized chair arrived two months early, causing me to wonder if the staff was ready for the changing of the guard! So I asked. No, I learned. They just didn’t want to forget. They ordered the chair when it came to mind, not realizing that it would be delivered so quickly. It was, however, for me a wake-up call that time flies, especially when you are having fun, and change was coming soon.
If I could point to a word to describe this year in the Health Law Section, “change” would be appropriate. The election in November set our substantive area of the law on a whirlwind course. The maneuvering to effect change was rivaled only by the resistance to change. The Section rose to the challenge not only to keep up, but to provide non-partisan, thoughtful and reasoned comments on the ACA, the AHCA and the BCRA. Indeed, our Section’s mission is: “Dedicated to enhancing the practice of health lawyers and improving the understanding and development of health laws.” Section leaders, you nailed it this year!
Some people fight change. Some people live to create chaos around change. Some people deny change is needed. Other people embrace change. It seems to me that the best course of action when the prospect of change is presented is to: (a) assess your current state, (b) look to history to provide perspective and guidance (don’t make the same mistakes twice), (c) determine whether you need to start over or just enhance and tweak what you have, (d) set goals, (e) develop a plan, and (f) provide positive constructive guidance leading into the future, listening to friends and foes alike. Always keep the ultimate goal in sight, and build a coalition around the process.
Perhaps this is not only fair guidance for organizations, companies, families and life, but also for our government, as Congress seeks to determine the best course of action for the future of the provision of and payment for healthcare services in our nation. As a Section, we stand not only ready but willing and fully prepared to offer substantive guidance on the current health laws and the development of future ones. It’s our mission.
“Change.” I like to think of it as an opportunity to build on the past and make things better for the future.
C. Joyce Hall
P.S. Mississippi Trivia: And if we want to talk about a major change in the music world: The King, Elvis Presley, was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8, 1935.