The trends and events shaping the future of health care demonstrate that tending to business as usual — the status quo — just won’t cut it anymore.

The good news is that new thinking, new focus and renewed determination to address our field’s challenges are happening across many fronts in ways that promise to help strengthen our future and protect patient access to care.

As part of those efforts, we were pleased to share this week that the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care, which for 24 years has fought to protect access to high-quality care for all Americans, will now be known as the Coalition to Strengthen America’s Healthcare: Protecting 24/7 CareThe AHA is a founding member of the Coalition, which is currently supported by all the national hospital associations, as well as allied associations, and hospitals and health systems around the country.

The new name reflects its renewed focus to protect and strengthen patients’ access to 24/7 care across the country.

Shakespeare famously asked in Romeo and Juliet, “What's in a name?” The answer is: It’s more than a name change, it’s an expansion of the intentionality behind it. 

The rebranding campaign will support the Coalition’s expanded capacity as a proactive, always-on organization dedicated to positively shaping public perception of hospitals and health systems, neutralizing opposition attacks, and holding corporate payers accountable for their role in delaying and denying care while driving up overall health care costs. These activities will complement and help supercharge all of the efforts the AHA is leading.

We are grateful to former AHA Board Chair Nancy Howell Agee, CEO of Carilion Clinic, who chairs the Coalition, for her leadership of this important effort.

As Nancy notes, “The best way to support patients and communities throughout America is to support and strengthen America’s hospitals and health systems. That’s why we are renewing our focus and redoubling our efforts to protect and strengthen patients’ access to high-quality, around-the-clock care.”

The Coalition is a community of more than 2 million advocates committed to defending and strengthening patient care in America’s hospitals. Through its efforts, which includes grassroots advocacy, the Coalition has been very effective protecting access to care for patients. And as part of the rebrand and launch, the Coalition will be increasing its efforts to empower the community to speak up for the strong 24/7 hospital care they want and deserve.

You’ll also see the Coalition implementing comprehensive campaigns that use paid and earned media, digital, local and grassroots advocacy strategies, and research to influence voters, stakeholders and policymakers.

Hospitals and health systems are the foundation of our entire health care system. A strong, healthy future for the American people requires strong, healthy hospitals and health systems.

Please take a few minutes to learn more about the Coalition and how you, your organization and your community can get involved. We’ll continue to share information about the Coalition’s activities and appreciate your continued support in our collective effort to advance health in America.

P.S.

Wanted to say that the story — both in the short-term and long-term — continues to be written about the cyberattack on Change Healthcare. There will be plenty of lessons learned, but one key observation so far is that as the government looks at cybersecurity in health care and hospitals, they need to make sure they address the key area of vulnerability: third-party vendors, which have been the source of many recent intrusions.

Another area of examination is the deep tentacles that UnitedHealth Group has in our health care system. According to the Wall Street Journal, UHG is now the target of a Department of Justice antitrust investigation, which is not related to the cyberattack. You may recall the AHA opposed the Change merger in the first place and worked to get the DOJ to challenge it, but they lost in court.

Keep up to date on the Change Healthcare cyberattack by visiting our webpage.

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