Harry Nelson

Looking Forward in a Transforming Healthcare Arena

When I mentioned to some friends that I was thinking of launching a blog outside of the law firm and other business ventures in which I’ve been involved, their reactions gave me the sense that they regard me as a crazy person. Between leading our firm, advising clients, supervising and working with colleagues on an array of law firm matters, and taking part in the other ventures in which I play a part, didn’t I already have enough on my plate? I am already all too often an absentee father. Haven’t I already spread myself thin enough?

It’s true that I have a lot else going on. And it’s true that taking on something new is not an ideal strategy in the quest to simplify and live a more peaceful life. So why the new blog?
In some part, this is about taking my own medicine. For over a decade, I have been preaching to healthcare industry clients that they are too reactive and fear-driven – especially in relation to the world of compliance and regulatory risk. I tell them that the only path that leads to growth, stability, and accomplishing their mission is one that is proactive and strategic. From my vantage point, the difference between the winners and losers in the healthcare industry is driving toward forward-looking goals rather than looking out the rearview mirror for the government, the competition, and other sources of bad news.

Meanwhile, I too have been stuck in a reactive mode. I scan my emails, texts, and phone messages to figure out what “fire” needs putting out next. I jump from project to project in a problem-solving mode. And I am so busy with client work that I rarely reach out to the people and companies that we are interested in working with. While some of these realities are inherent to law practice, I am starting this blog to proactively address the topics and themes that are on my mind, instead of focusing exclusively on the ones that are on my clients’ minds.

I am deeply grateful to clients for their trust in sending us an endless array of interesting work addressing the challenges they are facing, whether it’s how to structure a physician-owned business, how to adapt a business model that works in Texas to one that does so in California, or how to develop a revenue model that enables an organization to deliver a particular type of service. The problems that my colleagues and I tackle in our practice are more often than not highly technical, “in the weeds” of healthcare licensing, operational, and reimbursement compliance. This is great work, but it often it leaves less time for the strategic issues and “10,000 foot” discussions that are not only about a one-client model for success, but about trends in the industry, and about where things are going next.

Some of my favorite projects involve collaborating with business leaders who want to talk about long-term strategy, rather than short-term tactics or technical compliance. What’s on my mind are three central questions: Where are things heading? Where are the opportunities? And, how do we drive towards them?

We are living through a time of unprecedented transformation, and I think there is an ocean of need for new ideas and leadership as we move toward the healthcare landscape of the future. I hope that this blog will offer a positive vision for the future and insights into how to get there from here. So here goes. Let’s share ideas about some of the most the critical healthcare issues, opportunities, and risks, and have bigger conversations. I’ll start.

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