When it comes to healthcare reform, I've enjoyed watching all this hoopla and history like I enjoy watching March Madness—beer in hand.
But professionally, I’ve been gritting my teeth, trying to remain silent on “what this officially means for our hospital” to everyone who has been asking—reporters, students I teach on Tuesday nights, Facebook friends, my daughter's swim instructor at the Y.
Why am I quiet? Well, my crystal ball conked out on me a while ago, otherwise I would've placed a lot of money on Northern Iowa beating Kansas in the Tournament and taken my winnings to a Caribbean resort.
But we work in health care, so we must have something to say about it, right? Especially if you’re the PR person. Of course. And I've read everything from despair to adulation to (mostly) "middle of the road, cautiously optimistic if a bit skeptical."
I feel the most for those hundreds of "middle of the road" hospitals. We're in a precarious position here—part of the debate, but also assigned with providing exceptional, non-partisan care to our patients, regardless.
Well, here’s what I say: Try your best to be a resource for information, not an agent or an advocate of it, necessarily. We are primarily responsible to our patients, families and visitors. Pundits come second—I'd argue a very distant second. Our primary audiences still need information about the bill.
Our hospital is trying to be helpful to those people who have not read the law. (I swear I’ll read it myself, after I finish reading Gravity’s Rainbow, which I started ten years ago.) We’re writing simple, easy-to-understand info pieces for our Facebook page and blogs. We'll give the facts about what "The Thing Itself" means to everyone. Quick, bullet-pointed snippets. I doubt we’ll have this printed for distribution—we’ll see how it goes online first.
So, let the pundits pundit. We should be the voices of clarity.
And just as Butler proved in making it to the Final Four this weekend, we can predict nothing.