One door par­tially closes, but an­other opens wide

Modern Healthcare - - COMMENT -

Wise, ded­i­cated, pas­sion­ate and com­pet­i­tive— all words that ac­cu­rately de­scribe Mer­rill Goozner who in 2012 raised the bar for health­care jour­nal­ism when he took over the helm at Mod­ern Health­care.

Mer­rill’s ed­i­to­rial vi­sion for this pub­li­ca­tion and its on­line pres­ence was to marry news and in-depth anal­y­sis that in­formed the na­tion’s health­care ex­ec­u­tives and pro­voked dis­cus­sion among them.

Mer­rill’s weekly col­umns have shed new light on health­care pol­icy, pol­i­tics and fi­nances. Ear­lier this month—in the March 13 is­sue—he wrote about the long game be­ing played in the at­tempt to pass the Amer­i­can Health Care Act. A week later, Mer­rill re­framed the AHCA as the “Force Older and Poorer Amer­i­cans to Post­pone Health Care Act.” That was one of the first con­cerns raised about the is­sue. Since then, non­par­ti­san voices have warned that the AHCA could dis­pro­por­tion­ately af­fect the el­derly.

I’ve learned a lot from read­ing Mer­rill’s col­umns over the past four years, and I con­tinue to be in­spired by ev­ery his­tor­i­cal anec­dote, ev­ery ex­am­ple, ev­ery care­fully crafted anal­ogy that Mer­rill taps to il­lu­mi­nate his points and put a face to the trends and trou­bles fac­ing the in­dus­try. Through­out the past few years, Mer­rill has asked health­care lead­ers to con­sider in their daily work, brav­ery (“The im­por­tance of di­ver­sity—and courage,” June 13, 2016), fair­ness (“Give Seema Verma a chance,” Feb. 20, 2017) and in­tegrity (“Re­defin­ing the right to health­care” Jan. 2, 2017). He asked it of oth­ers and de­manded it of him­self.

Here’s just a sam­ple of Mer­rill’s provoca­tive but al­ways prag­matic ad­vo­cacy:

On med­i­cal di­ag­no­sis: “Each so­ci­ety should iden­tify the five most com­mon di­ag­no­sis er­rors within their spe­cialty. They could de­velop tools and run ed­u­ca­tion cam­paigns among their mem­bers. Maybe they should call it Di­ag­nos­ing Wisely.”

On in­ter­op­er­abil­ity: “For the fi­nal word on this, let’s re­turn to (Jonathan) Bush’s orig­i­nal speech on the sub­ject—not the one he gave at HIMSS. ‘By com­put­er­iz­ing health records, we can avoid danger­ous med­i­cal mis­takes, re­duce costs and im­prove care,’ he said. It re­mains a dream de­ferred.”

On the de­cline of em­ployer-based health in­sur­ance: “If Don­ald Trump’s can­di­dacy has taught us any­thing, it’s that we’re in a po­lit­i­cal pe­riod when tra­di­tional loy­al­ties are break­ing down. The same is true for the re­la­tion­ship be­tween health­care con­sumers and em­ployer-based cov­er­age. To loosely bor­row from a song used in a pre­vi­ous po­lit­i­cal cam­paign: Let’s start think­ing about to­mor­row.”

Mer­rill walked into the door of Mod­ern Health­care al­ways think­ing about to­mor­row. So, his de­ci­sion to re­tire from his po­si­tion as edi­tor ef­fec­tive April 1 came as no sur­prise to me. I knew the time he would serve as ed­i­to­rial leader of Mod­ern Health­care would be short but im­pact­ful.

In the 16 years I’ve been with Mod­ern Health­care, there have been other re­porters and edi­tors who in­spired me and shared their craft with me. But Mer­rill took health­care busi­ness news to a whole other level with his news in­stincts, deep knowl­edge of health­care and his prose.

Mer­rill re­mains com­mit­ted to push­ing the en­ve­lope and in­spir­ing pub­lic and pri­vate dis­course. That’s why Mer­rill will re­main with Mod­ern Health­care in var­i­ous roles—as writer of his cel­e­brated weekly col­umn, as ed­i­to­rial con­sul­tant, and as mod­er­a­tor at con­fer­ences and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.

Tak­ing Mer­rill’s place as edi­tor will be Aurora Aguilar, cur­rently our man­ag­ing edi­tor. A vet­eran re­porter, edi­tor and writer, Aurora served in sev­eral lead­er­ship po­si­tions at the NPR af­fil­i­ate in Chicago. She was lead show pro­ducer, news di­rec­tor and spe­cial projects edi­tor—a role that first gave her a taste of health­care and brought her to our doorstep. In her more than 20-year ca­reer, Aurora has won dozens of jour­nal­ism awards from na­tional and lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Scripps Howard Foun­da­tion, Ra­dio Tele­vi­sion Dig­i­tal News As­so­ci­a­tion, As­so­ci­ated Press, James Beard Foun­da­tion and Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Black Jour­nal­ists.

Aurora brings jour­nal­is­tic fair­ness, bal­ance and cred­i­bil­ity to Mod­ern Health­care along with the flex­i­bil­ity, courage and in­no­va­tive spirit needed to help our read­ers nav­i­gate the chal­leng­ing and shift­ing health­care land­scape. I’m con­fi­dent that Aurora will de­liver a pas­sion and ex­per­tise that al­lows Mod­ern Health­care to ex­tend its rich, long-stand­ing tra­di­tion of ed­i­to­rial ex­cel­lence.

Thank you Mer­rill, for ded­i­cat­ing four years to el­e­vat­ing the qual­ity and ex­cel­lence of Mod­ern Health­care and by proxy, its brand recog­ni­tion. And wel­come, Aurora. Your in­tel­li­gence, in­tegrity and thought­ful­ness will per­me­ate ev­ery­thing you do. We look for­ward to a bright fu­ture for Mod­ern Health­care and are proud to serve the al­ways-ex­cit­ing health­care in­dus­try.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.