The Players


RICHARD UMBDENSTOCK
PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION

Date of Birth: Oct. 4, 1950.

Education: B.A., Fairfield University; M.S., health services administration, State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Career Path: Umbdenstock worked as a health system administrator and hospital consultant before becoming head of AHA in 2007.

Role in Health Care Reform, 1993-1994: None.

Why He's a Player Now: Umbdenstock represents an industry with considerable economic and political clout. AHA wants universal health coverage and sees it as a means of lessening the financial burden of treating uninsured and underinsured patients.

Quote: I think that from the hospital perspective, we believe that reform has to be comprehensive, and it has to be inclusive of all of the stakeholders … We're very pleased to hear the president's commitment to [coverage for all] and we believe we really can't solve the cost problem that he highlighted so clearly in the opening session until you start to get everyone into the system at the right time and in the right place.

But the president has also noted, and we would agree strongly, that you must deal with the cost issue. And that gets us to a variety of things in the system, not the least of which are the payment incentives, and to try to align those incentives much better than they are today.

I don't think the nation knows the right next version of payment systems for providers, or incentives for hospitals, physicians, insurers, but, we have to find it together … We know that an awful lot of the quality challenges stem from the handoffs or the tumbles in the handoffs in this current non-system as patients move through this system from provider to provider, location to location. (White House Forum on Health Reform, March 5, 2009)

Read about the other 'Players'.