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Walking the Talk?

June 6, 2017

Sometimes it helps to look at others and then look at ourselves. Is someone else living up to their word? Are they “walking the talk?” Do their actions support what they say or write? When the answer to those questions is not a firm “yes”, we get a couple choices. We can complain about “them”. We can try to change “them”. Or, we can look inside ourselves for a similar example. How about learning from “them” and improving ourselves?

I have a small example of not walking the talk from two businesses. A health insurance company (UHC) and a hospital (PHP)  are having a “disagreement”. To keep it simple, the two companies cannot agree how to pay UHC for services at PHP locations. This has disrupted thousands of people’s health care. As full disclosure, this does NOT affect me at all.

I recognize that businesses sometimes cannot agree. But in this case, both of these organizations know that people choose their health care in the winter of the year before (in this case 2016) for coverage all year the next year (2017 in this case). So to have a “disagreement” in the middle of a year, knowing that your customers are locked into a year long “contract” that it very disruptive to change, seems to not be fair.

So I looked at each companies’ words. Are they living up to them?

Here is what UHC says on their web site: “What unites us is our mission to help people live healthier lives and make the health system work better for everyone.

We are working to create a system that is connected, aligned and more affordable for all involved. One that delivers high quality care, responsive to the needs of each person and the communities in which they live. We are also partnering with care providers, collaborating in new ways to improve patient care.”

Here is PHP’s Mission: “People will choose Premier Health over any health system in southwest Ohio. We will earn their choice, and grow our market leadership, by anticipating their needs and exceeding their expectations

Their Values include: “Act with INTEGRITY to do the right thing in all aspects of our responsibilities. And,
Serve with COMPASSION that embraces each individual’s concerns and hopes.”

I’ll be honest, I don’t think either company is living up to their words. “Make the health system work better for everyone”? “Do the right thing in all aspects of our responsibilities?”

I am not going to pound on either of these organizations. That is not the point, they are just the example. But do their actions – a dispute that means people cannot get the health care they wish at the prices they contracted at the locations they wish – match their words? I think not.

Here are the interesting questions for you. Does your organization truly live its words? How externally focused is your organization, honestly? Does your organization really walk the talk? How about yourself? Do you really follow through on what you say? Is your public persona backed by your private persona?

It is really easy to justify a position that might be interpreted by some as contradicting your values or principles. In fact, both UHC and PHP are doing that in this case.  But is the justification simply an excuse? Are you willing to do some real soul searching to truly understand if you are living your values, mission and vision?

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