Weekly Messages From MHA

Weekly Message From MHA

Our Clear Sense of Purpose

October 05, 2018 By: Bob Atlas

Last week, during MHA’s very productive annual Executive Committee retreat, committee members deliberated upon a new strategic plan for your association. The conversation was high energy and yielded excellent insights. Staff will use the time until our November meeting to make the plan ready for formal ratification and dissemination.

To anchor the strategic plan, the Executive Committee also revamped MHA’s mission and vision statements. A unanimous vote by the committee affirmed the following statements:


MHA serves Maryland’s hospitals and health systems through collective action to shape policies, practices, financing and performance to advance health care and the health of all Marylanders.


MHA will be Maryland’s most effective advocate for improving health care across our state and the health of all Marylanders.

While subtle, the changes from our old mission and vision statements are significant.

First, see the overt reference to collective action. This conveys the idea that our hospitals and health systems must work together not only to educate and influence external audiences as powerfully as possible but also to find ways to enhance the value delivered by the whole field. Our state’s unique financing model makes collective action imperative.

Second, note the phrase, “…shape policies, practices, financing and performance….” There’s a lot in there. It includes influencing how regulators and payers treat hospitals and health systems to give us the best conditions in which to succeed. Plus, it speaks to how MHA will help the field raise its own game.

Third, see the points about advancing health care – that is, the business of delivering health services to patients and communities – and advancing people’s health – that is, the well-being of the population. That second one is really what hospitals are about, after all.

Finally, and very crucially, are the words “…the health of all Marylanders.” Yes, everyone could be healthier. However, some sets of people suffer more health challenges than do others – and improving their health, to achieve greater health equity, will benefit our whole state. Those benefits are cost savings, greater productivity, and much more, not least … happiness.

We do understand that the journey to health equity will be arduous and will call upon us to engage with partners in many domains beyond the health care field, in both the public and private sectors.

We will share a lot more about our mission, vision and strategy in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, we welcome all your ideas on how best to fulfill our purpose as the association of all of Maryland’s hospitals and health systems.