Each month we publish an employee newsletter – The View. It is designed to update employees on issues of interest within GHS as well as provide information that may impact them. In the most recent edition, we profiled one of our leaders and she spoke about her role in South Carolina Hospital Association and governmental affairs. I want to acknowledge that internally there has been a small but wide range of reactions to this issue of the View and that tells me people care and are involved. I believe that after the election there will be more opportunities to engage employees and the community in a conversation and understanding of what we need to do to prepare for the future. I have included the article and a link to the SCHA Scorecard in this blog and welcome your reactions.
The View October 2010 Leadership Profile
Sarah Richter, B.S.N., M.S.N., R.N., NE-BC, FACHE, Director, Patient Care Services, Hillcrest Memorial Hospital
In this month’s issue of The View, GHS is collaborating with the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) to do something new – inform employees on how our gubernatorial candidates have voted on healthcare issues.
Sarah Richter has served the past 18 months on the SCHA Policy Council and will become the council’s chair in February 2011. Here, she explains why it is important that S.C. hospitals and health systems play an active role in shaping policies around healthcare issues and why hospital employees should be aware of these matters.
What is the SCHA Policy Council, and what is its purpose?
Congress and the state legislature create or make laws that affect health care every year. SCHA’s Policy Council – composed of senior hospital executives from across the state – works to stimulate, guide and stay abreast of issues affecting S.C. hospitals. Physicians, nurses and hospitals are actively involved in advocacy; but to be an effective advocate, you need a policy objective. That’s where the Policy Council plays a major role. When the SCHA prepares its advocacy agenda, it calls on hospital leaders to prioritize issues.
Why is this year different?
This year, hospitals in S.C. are taking a different approach to policy and politics. National healthcare reform has been front and center, and our industry is changing. There is a simple truth about politics: If you don’t get involved and don’t vote, then you can’t complain about the outcome. We care about whathappens to our industry, so we can’t afford NOT to be involved. Now more than ever before, S.C. hospitals have key issues on the table, and the two gubernatorial candidates have different visions for our state. SCHA believes healthcare employees deserve to understand these issues as they will shape the future of our business.
Why the scorecard?
S.C. has more than 90,000 hospital employees. This scorecard is intended to educate employees on the issues affecting their employers and to show how the gubernatorial candidates have voted on each one. Which candidate you vote for is your right and privilege. Health care is just one of many important issues in this election. No matter what the issue or where you stand, we encourage you to make informed decisions.
Be an Advocate
As one of the state’s leading health systems, GHS has always been active in state-wide advocacy efforts. You don’t have to be a lobbyist to be an advocate. For example, nurse managers at Hillcrest Memorial Hospital were concerned about the behavioral health crisis and wanted to know how they could help. They studied the problem and dynamics, and then they wrote letters to their representatives about the need for support. They educated their frontline staff on how state budget cuts and lack of funding affect the availability of mental health resources. They also learned about the cigarette tax and how it could make a difference for health care.
Like most things, we have to choose whether we try to influence and get involved or sit back and be a spectator. When it comes to the best interest of patients and employees at GHS, I choose to get involved. I hope you will, too.”
Your Vote Can Make a Difference
GHS is joining the South Carolina Hospital Association (SCHA) and its member hospital and health systems in educating healthcare workers on how decisions made in Columbia can affect medical care and healthcare jobs. SCHA members are distributing the scorecard below to show how the two candidates for governor have voted on major issues affecting health care.
Note: SCHA and GHS are not suggesting that you vote for one candidate or the other. This scorecard simply provides education on issues that are important to health care.
On November 2, you will have the opportunity to vote for a candidate to govern South Carolina for the next four years. Please take time to learn where both candidates have stood on healthcare issues. That way, you can make an educated, well-informed decision on the person you believe will best represent interests of the healthcare community.
Howell Clyborne, Vice President, Community Relations and Governmental Affairs
Suzanne White, Vice President, Patient Care Services, Chief Nursing Officer, member, SCHA Board of Trustees
Sarah Richter, Director, Patient Care Services, Hillcrest Memorial Hospital, member, SCHA Policy Council
Election Day is Tuesday, November 2.
The following link will get you to the South Carolina Hospital Association’s 2010 Scorecard.