"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Where Did the Summer Go?

I sat down to write my blog this AM, the first of this week and realized that it was already September.  Where the heck did the summer go?  Wow!  This will be my last blog for a while as I will be traveling for the next week and a half.  So, this blog will be a collection of items.

First, many have been asking about my son-in-law, Terrell, and he continues to receive inpatient chemotherapy treatments on almost an every-other-week basis.  Treatments are now scheduled through November.  He is doing as well as can be expected under the circumstances.  He and my daughter are two very amazing people based on how their lives have changed since that mid-February diagnosis and how they are coping.  They have fast become my heroes. We had a chance to visit with them a few weeks ago and I have attached a photo.

Then, there is their dog, Sammy.  Sammy is a fox red lab who is the nicest dog.  He is so nice that their plan is to train Sammy as a therapy dog in the coming months.  They all live in a very nice neighborhood in Charleston, SC.  Sammy is very well trained and never leaves their property unless he is a accompanied by one of them.  Well, that all changed yesterday. Sammy ran away.  They were devastated as they couldn't find him anywhere.  Then, their neighbor from down the street came to their door and said I found Sammy, but you have to see for yourself where he is.  Upon arriving at their neighbor's house there is Sammy doing laps in their swimming pool.  As a retriever, Sammy loves the water and demonstrated that yesterday.  I think that an invisible fence is in Sammy's future.

On a more work related note, yesterday I had the opportunity to hear Anirban Basu, a Maryland economist speak on our global economy, our national economy and our local economy.  His presentation was excellent.  He said that the global economy has rebounded for the most part, but expanding economies of China and India are down this year from previous years.  Anirban said that the next quarter will be strong and the following quarter will be even stronger for the US.  

Corporate profits are at their highest along with stock prices.  Consumer spending, i.e. autos, retail shopping and restaurants, is also up; however, housing, jobs and incomes are down overall.  

He said that Maryland continues to underperform as we are pretty much a government dependent state.  Our state is over dependent on federal government jobs, according to Anirban.  In addition, our lack of energy production and our over regulation make us one of the worst performing states related to economic recovery.  As a state, we rank 43rd in recovery with WV and PA at 36th and 38th respectively.  North Dakota, Texas, Utah and Colorado, because they are energy producing states, are leading in economic recovery.  

Anirban said that what is negatively impacting western Maryland is no ability to have a business formation strategy.  Our young people are forced to leave the area for employment so, there is little to no entrepreneurship among our twenty and thirty-somethings where new business occurs.  In addition, western Maryland needs natural gas drilling in order to have economic recovery.  Unfortunately, Maryland is focused exclusively where the most votes are--Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, Baltimore city and Baltimore County.  If legislation doesn't benefit any of those jurisdictions, it will not pass.  According to Anirban, the state has no interest in seeing any county outside of the previously mentioned succeed.  He said that the statement is harsh but it is reality. 

During the Q&A, he offered the following: the US needs conditional amnesty  through an immigration policy because right now we have none.  That policy should  be socially and fiscally sound and include a a secure border and a well thought out  path to citizenship.  He then commented on our debt and said what is more troubling than our over $17 trillion dollars in debt is our $45 trillion in entitlement commitments to Medicare and Social Security that directly impact our ability to address infrastructure needs in the US, including bridges, roads, the electrical grid and broadband development.  Infrastructure improvements are key for the US to remain competitive in the global market.  No other country has the entitlement burden that the US has now and into the future.

As I mentioned earlier, the presentation was excellent, but at the same time sobering.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Anirban Basu speak, don't pass it up.  I am excited in that he and I will be speaking at a GE/Sage Group presentation in two weeks in Baltimore with a focus on health care.

I will return to blogging the week of September 22.  Have a good weekend.

1 comment:

  1. The actual photo from our visit a few weeks ago was missed but will be added. The attached photo with Sammy was from a year ago.