Dave Oliker, MVP’s CEO from its inception in 1982 until the end of 2012, will be retiring next month. This is his final blog post for “Health Care Perspectives.” Denise Gonick is the company’s new President and CEO. Oliker plans always to be associated with MVP: as he puts it, “It’s not ‘goodbye,’ it’s ‘see you around.’”
When I started in the business 30 years ago, American health care was undergoing a major transition. A big new law, passed a few years before, promised major changes in the health insurance industry, but no one knew exactly what those changes were going to look like. Opinions and prognostications came thick and fast, while follow-up regulations came frustratingly slow. In the meantime, doctors, hospitals, employers and insurers were all on edge.
Now, as I prepare to leave it, the health care business has entered a similar era of change. Now, instead of the HMO Act of 1973, we’ve got the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. But the sense of upheaval and anxiety is the same.
And so is the opportunity for innovation and fresh thinking.
When MVP started, it was a humble operation, with limited, local aspirations. But we saw each change as an opportunity to build and expand. I learned not to fear change, but to embrace it. Not to be wary of change, but to be wary of those in an organization who can’t, or won’t, adjust. A new law always contains not just new prohibitions but also new possibilities. It’s our job to figure out how to turn those possibilities into reality.
And the first step is just that: take a first step. It doesn’t even matter if it’s not exactly in the “right” direction. The important thing is not to stand still with fear over where to go next.
That’s what I plan to do as I retire from MVP. And it makes me proud to know that the company I grew up with will embrace its future as well.