Chair File: Protecting Coverage and Care

On May 7, 2017, I swore an oath to become the 118th chairman of the American Hospital Association. It is the honor of a lifetime. The challenges we face in health care right now are real. They won't be met easily or quickly. But after this year's Annual Membership Meeting, I am confident of one thing: they will be met. To do that, we must wage three battles, not only for the organizations we represent, but most importantly for our patients and the people in the communities we serve.

On May 7, 2017, I swore an oath to become the 118th chairman of the American Hospital Association. It is the honor of a lifetime. The challenges we face in health care right now are real. They won't be met easily or quickly. But after this year's Annual Membership Meeting, I am confident of one thing: they will be met. To do that, we must wage three battles, not only for the organizations we represent, but most importantly for our patients and the people in the communities we serve.

First, we absolutely must fight to protect and expand access and coverage for our friends, families, and neighbors. There are some who seek to do the opposite—to roll back the gains that have been made. But without access to coverage and care, the health and lives of millions of our fellow Americans may be jeopardized.

Second, we must reach outside of the hospital's traditional walls, and better engage with the communities we serve. When it comes to keeping populations healthy, our responsibilities do not begin or end at the hospital door.

Finally, we must have the courage to set firm the aspiration that no one in this country should have their lives cut short due to inequities in care. Those with mental illness, veterans, members of the LGBTQ community, minorities, and the poor in rural and urban communities—they are our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, and our family. And they need our help.

These are battles we must fight and win. We can with your support. I continue to be inspired by your stories and experiences of delivering care in your communities. Thank you for all that you do.

Gene Woods, AHA 2017 Board Chair

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