This Week in the C-Suite

March 20, 2020

It has been a week like no other.

It has been a week like no other.

C-Suite offices were empty or minimally occupied-social distance ghost towns replaced by home offices, conference calls, and instant messaging.

WFH, the new norm of abnormal times. With important exceptions-exception like brave healthcare workers, many in dire need of personal protective equipment.

For many, social distancing was not walk in the park-although walks in the park are allowed.

Some parts of the healthcare sector ran as fast they could. Like telehealth, which had a date with history that it’s hoping will turn into a permanent relationship. Government health officials at all levels. Labs testing for SARS-CoV-2. Doctors and nurses in hotspots like California,  New York, and Washington state.

Time warped.

“Last week was a year ago, right?” half-joked Michael Barnett, an assistant professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, when we interviewed him for a story about telehealth.

And time didn’t matter.

“The clock is meaningless now,” said Cynthia Hundorfean, president and CEO of Allegheny Health Network in western Pennsylvania, and a member of our editorial advisory board.

Congress, the White House, governors, mayors, insurers, hospitals, drugmakers-they did act. The right way? Weeks late and millions of test kits too short? That’s worthy of a long, separate discussion.

But amid the general anxiety about COVID-19 and the specter of a severe economic downturn are the palliatives of many crises: admiration for dedicated people, gratitude for the acts and offers of help, and a rare sense of unity.  e of unity of who throw themselves into the dealing with the work that people and unity.

After Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which, among other things increased the federal share of Medicaid funding, Margaret Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, applauded the alacrity and leadership.

“If this crisis holds a silver lining,” Murray, who is a member of our editorial advisory board, “it’s that it demonstrates that Congress can pull together and provide Americans with needed relief to get through these unprecedented circumstances.”

Here’s to silver linings, staying safe, and cradling hope that next week in the C-suite will improve on this one.