Presidents Message: Spring 2014

Peter Long, Ph.D.

It has been nearly three months since significant expansions of healthcare coverage took full effect across our state and across the country. As we near the end of open enrollment through Covered California, there is much good news to celebrate. There is also a sense that the years of work and decades of commitment it took to get here have felt like a sprint the entire way. 

It is important that we continue to make progress on enrolling low-income families and individuals into Medi-Cal and transforming care to be more patient-centered and affordable. It is also important that we slow down. As we ease into our new reality, we can all take a collective breath to reflect on the accomplishments and challenges to date.

Moving forward, we'd be wise to heed the advice of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden: be quick, but don't hurry. We must move swiftly to create change, while not rushing so much that we miss key lessons and opportunities. Success in the long-term will be defined by our ability to be both strategic and adaptive; pausing at key moments to make sure we're on the right track.

In California, we're just beginning to see data on what's working under health reform. We've made significant strides on enrollment and more modest advances toward value-based healthcare. As we continue to implement the ACA, it’s critical that we remain agile enough to modify our course when needed.

At the Foundation, our strategy is centered around this notion of slowing down to gain perspective. Our framework focuses on learning and being adaptive, as we evolve in real-time alongside our partners and grantees. While our core mission remains the same, how we achieve that mission can, and should, change along the way. We are committed not only to the destination, but also the journey.

A friend of mine recently remarked that when you're a parent, the days are long and the years are short. This also applies when you're working to achieve something that you believe in. I'm coming up on four years as the CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation, and it feels like I just started. There have been days that felt like they lasted forever and progress was difficult to see. More often, I am amazed that another year has passed so quickly. When you put passion into your work, before you know it your daughter is taller, popular music is harder to recognize, and the state has a brand new healthcare system. At moments likes this, I pause to reflect, and keep moving forward. 

In our continued, collective efforts to end domestic violence and ensure access to care for all Californians, we must work quickly, but not hurry.

In partnership,

Peter V. Long, Ph.D.
President and CEO
Blue Shield of California Foundation

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