We Must Remain Optimistic

by Jeff Tieman
VAHHS President and CEO
After living in DC for 15 years, I have many fond memories at the U.S. Capitol. Being in the gallery when the Affordable Care Act passed the House of Representatives. Sitting on a Capitol Hill train with Sen. John McCain. Walking the flower-strewn grounds in springtime.
Last week, those images gave way to TV footage that was so startling I had trouble believing it was real. I texted a friend who works in the Senate and was glad to find him in his home office.
Amid the chaos, our congressman and friend Peter Welch offered a vivid account of the attack. “The doors were literally being battered down,” he said.
Where do we go from here? The only thing I know is to begin with optimism. In health care, we don’t have to look far for reasons to be optimistic. I see them every day:
  • Nurses and pharmacists who are vaccinating health care providers and first responders at clinics where people are excited and hopeful
  • Physicians who lead busy emergency rooms and manage growing COVID caseloads but stay levelheaded and positive
  • Leaders in government and health care who fight hard every day for their constituents, their state, their patients and our collective safety, even when the hours are long and the problems seemingly insurmountable
  • Vermonters who continue to be so thoughtful and patient as part of the nation’s leading COVID response.
As we begin a new legislative session, optimism is especially important. Let’s be optimistic that we can join together as we have since March to:
  • put public health ahead of politics
  • prioritize truth, dialogue and science
  • take the right steps to smartly vaccinate Vermont and get back to normal.
In his State of the State address last week, Gov. Scott said, “I welcome the opening of the legislative session with the same optimism I had as a freshman senator from Washington County nearly two decades ago.”
Even in light of everything he has seen and managed, Gov. Scott expressed
optimism first.
With COVID numbers increasing in the post-holiday timeframe, and our nation still reeling from misinformation and violence, it will be difficult but critical to stay focused. To stay confident. To stay optimistic. And, as always, to stay together.
My colleague Brian Peters, who leads the Michigan Hospital Association, shared this storyabout optimism that inspired my column this week. Thank you, Brian, for your insightful words.
Jeff Tieman
VAHHS President and CEO