It is strange to me that a simple change of date can lead to so much reflection and renewal, yet I find myself entering 2012 with a sense of calm and a revived sense of optimism.
At a conference I attended many years ago, Dr. Don Berwick told a story about one of his first nights as an intern working on the wards and how overwhelmed he was by the magnitude of work and the enormity of the responsibility he had for the patients under his care. As a leader working to change our health care system to ensure Coloradans can get the care they need to enable them to live fulfilling lives, I too, am often overwhelmed by the magnitude of the work and the enormity of the responsibility.
What got Dr. Berwick through the early days of his training was a reminder that having a method and confidence in your capabilities creates a sense of efficacy and optimism needed to persevere in difficult times. 2011 was a great year for CCMU and we learned many important lessons that will serve us well in 2012.
First, we were reminded through our efforts in communities and at the state capitol that creating change begins with identifying shared aspirations for a better way, building relationships based on mutual respect, honesty and trust, agreeing on the principles and approach for the work and then letting everyone do their part. And, sometimes the most significant change comes when we are willing to risk building relationships with new and unusual partners.
Second, we learned that when there are disagreements, the best way to work them out is to sit down face-to-face and talk it through. There may not always be an agreeable solution, but if we sit down and talk it through, we are a lot more likely to preserve the mutual respect, honesty, and trust we have worked so hard to build.
Finally, 2011 showed that we have amazing talent, skills, and capabilities in our state. The CCMU staff and Board are outstanding and continue to amaze me every day. Also, I can’t remember a time in my career when I have worked with such a remarkable network of colleagues as those with whom we currently work, including All Kids Covered, Aurora Health Access, Colorado HealthStory, the Connect Campaign, and the Exchange Board.
2012 will have its challenges, no doubt; there will be election year politics, a potential for stalled progress on needed reforms because of the political and legal uncertainties, and the continued importance of finding a way to increase access, improve quality and manage costs. But, I begin 2012 optimistic because I believe with the right approach, the right people and the desire to help people heal and thrive--we won’t fail.