Author: Adams, Greg
Date published: April 1, 2012
Recently, there has been a lot of publicity about a new basketball phenom in the New York area- point guard Jeremy Lin. Although it's too early to tell whether he will be the next Walt Frazier, he does show the difference one player can make in a team.
In basketball, all the great point guards recognize their teammates' role in their success and put their teammates in positions to succeed. They set aside individual accolades and realize that boosting their teammates' performance will improve their chances of winning games.
One of my favorite players of all time is Jason Kidd. Jason does whatever he needs to do make his team successful- pass the ball, rebound, and, if necessary, score. He always focuses on the team's success, never his own. It was great to see him win an NBA championship. There have been many great point guards- Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Walt Frazier, Magic Johnson, and John Stockton, to name a few. They all had one trait in common. For them, it was all about winning as a team, and they understood it was their responsibility to make everyone on their teams better.
We can learn a lot about teamwork from these successful point guards. The need to focus on team success has been my message to you from the beginning of my year as chair. These beliefs are shared by all successful teams. It may be a cliché, but when a team is working well, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In health care, our high-profile surgeons and other physicians are the star players who garner the most attention and publicity. But they depend on the dedication and hard work of their many teammates in the operating room, on hospital nursing units, and in postacute care settings who help patients heal and resume their lives. When a patient achieves the best possible outcome, the entire team wins. As many hospitals embark on care improvement and redesign initiatives, we are seeing a greater acknowledgment of the important contributions made by all team members- not just the high-profile physicians. There is a greater belief that it takes a team to prevent hospitalacquired conditions, avoid preventable réadmissions, and improve a patient's health.
As finance professionals, our responsibilities lie in ensuring the financial integrity of our hospitals while helping our patients meet their financial obligations. That includes arranging payment for care and ensuring financially seamless transfers among providers across the continuum. In situations when insurance coverage is difficult to verify or when patients need to determine Medicaid eligibility or apply for charity care, the finance professional is the one there to "assist" the patient.
Our professional teammates have a greater understanding and appreciation of our role today than they did years ago, but we in finance are rarely in the spotlight. That's OK. The bottom line is that we achieve more when we do our best to support and help our teammates without concern about who gets the credit for our success. In our business, taking care of our patients and communities is the real win.
Greg Adams, FHFMA