February 12, 2015

Why Hospital and Health System Executives Need Policymaker Relationships Now More Than Ever

By: Doug Swill and Ilisa Halpern Paul, MPP

In a recent issue of Bloomberg BNA Health Policy Report, Health Care Group Chair Doug Swill and District Policy Group President Ilisa Halpern Paul explain to readers the importance of developing and maintaining relationships between health care leaders and policymakers. While most Americans consider the passage of the Affordable Care Act the end-all, be-all of contemporary health care legislation, Swill and Paul note that Congress remains interested in a wide number of health care issues, including fixing the Sustainable Growth Rate formula and limiting expenditures from entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

In light of the legislative climate, Swill and Paul strongly encourage health care leaders to do the following:

  • Build and sustain relationships with the largest possible group of policymakers in your state
  • Establish relationships with health policy thought-leaders in Congress
  • Reach out to federal agency officials, including staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Deploy an interdisciplinary team to engage with federal policymakers
  • Stop talking about cuts and start illustrating value

In developing strong relationships with policymakers, health systems will be better equipped to navigate the ever-changing regulatory, fiscal, and policy environment. As Swill and Paul write, “Now more than ever, having allies among federal policymakers is as important as having a Health Insurance Portability and accountability act compliance program or malpractice liability insurance – it is good policy and good practice.”

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