By Renown Health President & CEO Anthony D. Slonim, MD, DrPH
I am honored and humbled to have been selected to serve as the President and CEO of Renown Health. As I prepare to begin my new role, I have been reflecting on the current state of healthcare in our country, what it means for our community, and how we can make a difference together.
American healthcare is heavily criticized. By objective measures, U.S. healthcare is costly and those costs continue to rise. Quality of care, defined both in terms of clinical quality and patient satisfaction, lags behind other industrialized nations despite spending levels that are among the highest in the world. While there are several exemplars of outstanding quality, for the majority of Americans access to care is inconsistent, healthcare delivery is highly variable, and the quality varies across the nation. While this may seem like an insurmountable set of circumstances, I believe that these challenges allow us to think creatively about what we aspire to for our healthcare and how we can apply innovative solutions that allow us to make a difference.
Making a difference is why I chose a career in healthcare. As a physician, I know what it means to hold the hand of a dying patient, support a family member when their loved one can no longer feed themselves, and look into the eyes of a patient and explain a new diagnosis and their treatment options. With these experiences, I have come to realize that despite the national debate, healthcare is a very personal issue that is grounded in the local environment and that context really, really matters.
Here in Reno, we are more fortunate than most. There is a solid foundation already in place. We have dedicated community leaders who invest their own resources, time and expertise by donating and serving on Renown’s Boards and Advisory Councils to assure that we can adequately support the needs of the community with our investments in people, technology, and facilities. We have highly skilled physicians, healthcare professionals, and employees who care deeply about their family, friends and neighbors to assure their healthcare needs are being met. I am also well aware of the momentous new affiliation between the University of Nevada School of Medicine and Renown Health. Having been involved in this type of innovative relationship before, I look forward to our growing partnership on behalf of the people in northern Nevada and the legacy that this can provide for years to come. We have what many do not and it is up to us to capitalize on these strengths to assure that we are able to improve the health of the communities and the people we are privileged and honored to serve.
Each of us has our own definition of what ‘health’ looks like. This is the personal piece that I alluded to above. I believe that our work as healthcare leaders should be focused on maintaining health for those who are well and restoring health for those who have an illness or disease. While it sounds simple, more now than ever before, healthcare requires a team of people to work together with common goals to assure that those we serve receive high quality and efficient healthcare services with an experience that makes them feel as though they are in control of their healthcare decisions and the focal point of our interactions with them.
I appreciate the very warm and gracious welcome that I have received so far in Reno and will be spending the next few months getting acquainted; meeting with many people and building the foundation for relationships that will help us to achieve these goals. I look forward to what we will accomplish for our community as partners in improving health and healthcare.
Printed in the 7/6/14 edition of the Reno Gazette-Journal.