On Sunday, May 6, we kick off National Hospital Week and pause to celebrate the 5.5 million women and men who make America’s hospitals and health systems such special places. While cutting-edge facilities and technology play a role in healing, everyone from the nurses and physicians to the environmental services workers to the physical and respiratory therapists – and everyone else who wears a hospital name badge – are the lifeblood of our hospitals.

This year National Hospital Week coincides with National Nurses Week, so we also honor the special role that nurses play. The AHA and the American Organization of Nurse Executives have prepared a digital toolkit and other resources to help you celebrate.

It’s also fitting that the AHA’s Annual Membership Meeting takes place at the same time. Hospital and health system leaders will gather to celebrate the field’s successes, learn from one another and hear from health policy experts, elected officials and political analysts on the forces that are impacting health care. They will share with lawmakers the story of the women and men of America’s hospitals and how they are working to redefine the “H.” That means rethinking what it means to be a hospital or health system in today’s rapidly changing environment to better serve patients and communities. That means innovating to enhance value and improve affordability. And that means understanding the social determinants of health and how they affect a community’s unique health needs. Finally, hospital and health system leaders will urge lawmakers to take action to help stem the tide of the opioid epidemic that continues to plague our nation.
 
To the women and men of America’s hospitals and health systems, thank you for all you do every day to heal and comfort your neighbors. And thank you for everything you are doing to advance health in America.