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A Reminder During Intense Times


Dear colleagues:

It’s an intense time. All of you continue to make myriad contributions to the work of moving Medicaid forward, whether that be direct engagement with members and providers, innovation around care delivery, modernization of systems, or . . . unwinding. Who among us doesn’t have responsibilities, there?

In the context of all that is upcoming, and acknowledging that so many of you have been through the most intense and acute phases of the pandemic, a few reminders of what you already know, for the weeks and months ahead.

Remind yourself why. On any given Tuesday, times can feel quite tough. But you know who you are and why you do this work: the millions of people whom we collectively serve. Seriously, the people. Want some quick reminders of who those members are and how much they care? Check out this video that I and other directors were involved in making a few years ago. Or take a look at a few of these That’s Medicaid member profiles. People need you and the program more than they will ever be able to convey.

Exercise your agency. Reflecting back on some previous intervals of great intensity in which I’ve been involved (ACA implementation being top of mind), I realize that I often wasn’t good at is exerting influence over some things that I could control. A few, somewhat tired but still too-little used suggestions:

  • Don’t keep scheduling back-to-back meetings. You need to eat and use the bathroom. I don’t want to see us all turning into older adults with bladder issues!
  • Take that looming pile of things you think you should get to someday (journal articles, issue briefs, data reports) and dump it into the virtual or real trash can. You don’t need to read those things. You just need to know someone who has.
  • Get more sleep. Basically, the fulcrum point of all aspects of wellness, contentment and peace of mind.
  • Make sure that you have at least one person in your life who is regularly telling you how awesome you are. If that seems like too much hubris, or you’re an introvert, call me (also an introvert).

Remember that practice makes perfect (or at least very good). The other night I was watching the documentary on how they stood up the Dr. Dre halftime show for the Super Bowl last year. By the way, that was one of the most stunningly profound concert moments of my life, as I wrote about here.  So, the thing that really amazed me is that the team that was in charge of moving all of those sets onto the field started out needing almost two hours to do so. Then they practiced and practiced and got that down to six minutes, which ended up looking entirely effortless during the show. A reminder that as all everyone soldiers through the unwind, all of the practice and preparation around systems, messaging and community engagement will stand in great stead.

Take good care!

In partnership,


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