(Note: This column was written by Larry Caruso, who at the end of the year completed his tenure as KHC’s Co-Chairperson and shared some of his thoughts on his time with the KHC and the progress we’ve made as a community. The KHC and our partners thank Larry for his dedication to our mission.)
As I step down as Co-Chairperson for the KHC, I am proud of the progress the organization has made in the past four years. We have energized the community in several ways – by bringing world class speakers to Louisville and starting the initiative to transform how healthcare is delivered by continuing to bring all participants into the conversation. We have made health quality data available to the public via the HealthShare website. We have worked with local and state government to help move the needle on improving healthcare in the Commonwealth. Yet there is still much more work to be done. Kentucky ranks near the bottom in most healthcare statistics. Quality and safety ratings for our hospital systems need to improve. The culture around health needs to change. Yes, health outcomes are correlated with poverty, but we can’t accept that as an excuse, for both economical and moral reasons. If kids do not receive the support and learning at home they need to achieve better health outcomes, we need to figure out how to provide it elsewhere. Unless we can stop the spiral of declining health, we will continue to lag other states in attracting business; our costs will skyrocket and our health systems will crumble financially. I believe we can do it. But it requires an all-out effort by everyone involved. The KHC can play a meaningful role in making that happen.