We shouldn’t be surprised by now, but 2020 continues to be an extraordinary year … and it’s not over yet.

In the middle of a pandemic, a record number of Americans — across the ideological spectrum — exercised their precious right to vote.

Regardless of the outcome of the election, now is the time for our country to come together around the core values and beliefs that unite us as a nation. 

When it comes to health care — that means continuing our efforts to advance health in America for all people.

There are some unmistakable trends in health care that we must recognize:

  • The role of government will likely increase while we maintain a balance with a private system.
  • We will continue to see the acceleration of alternative payment models and the movement away from fee-for-service toward value-based payment.
  • We have seen an increased awareness of and will see an increased emphasis on primary care and the social determinants of health.
  • We will continue to see the entry of new players into the so-called health care ecosystem, which makes it incumbent on hospitals and health systems to “redefine the H” so that we remain major players as the foundation of care in the communities we serve.
  • And while we likely will not see Medicare for All in its truest form, we cannot ignore public support for it as it can be seen as a cry for help about the need to fix a system which some find difficult to pay for; difficult to navigate; and difficult to access … which is why we must continue to build on the Affordable Care Act to expand access, improve care and lower cost.

What’s also clear: The healing mission of hospitals and health systems has never been more important.

We continue to be society’s ultimate safety net … and islands of stability in the midst of uncertainty. Along with physicians and nurses, we continue to be the indisputable trusted partner in taking care of patients and communities. And perhaps most importantly, we continue to show respect, compassion and civility in everything we do … serving as a role model for the communities we serve.

On Wednesday, while the spotlight was on counting votes, our nation tallied a single-day record 104,000 new COVID-19 infections. On that day … just like they do every day … our nation’s hospitals and health systems — along with our brave front-line caregivers —  were saving lives, performing miracles and keeping people healthy.

President George H.W. Bush in his 1992 concession speech said that regardless of our differences, all Americans shared the same purpose, “To make this, the world's greatest nation, more safe and more secure and to guarantee every American a shot at the American dream.”

No matter how the results turn out this year, that’s a sentiment that I hope we can all embrace and get behind.

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