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CEO Corner: Hindsight 2020 – We’re Stronger Together

CEO Craig Brammer finds silver linings in the accomplishments we’ve achieved collectively.

Dec 15, 2020

Craig Brammer, CEO The Health Collaborative & NRHI

Craig Brammer, CEO The Health Collaborative & NRHI

2020 has been a year like no other; challenging, unprecedented, transformational.


Upon reflection, I consider the harrowing work of my healthcare colleagues and friends – whether on the front lines of caring for the sickest, monitoring community-wide data or coordinating a regional response to this pandemic. And while it is easy to become disheartened by the toll this year has taken on so many, we are not defined by the adversity.


Instead, we find the silver linings in the accomplishments we’ve achieved collectively. 

The power of collaboration is proven time and time again as we leverage the “network effect” for regional problem-solving and advancing solutions. Even in the face of COVID-19, the work hasn’t stopped. We are indeed much stronger together. Here are just a few things we’ve made happen this year:

Coordinated our region’s response to COVID-19 with our member health systems, Greater Cincinnati Disaster Preparedness Coalition, public health, skilled nursing facilities, senior housing, shelters, and correctional facilities

Launched the Regional COVID Communications Center (RC3) in conjunction with Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber to provide culturally competent and equitable information about COVID-19 prevention, community spread, testing availability, and other critical news to help individuals and businesses make informed decisions

Partnered with Hamilton County, six health systems and a university to provide convenient, no-cost COVID-19 testing for people and organizations in our county who need it most

Together, we also:

    • Celebrated the February 2020 graduation of the latest cohort of Operation Cincinnati S.M.A.R.T. participants: pioneers in best practice partnerships for the US military and health systems across the country
    • Co-created Solutions to Strengthen Regional Value, an Affordability Summit highlighting national and regional actions underway to advance healthcare affordability by improving health, reducing cost, and eliminating waste
    • Continued our monthly utilization reports and completed our HR studies which include two compensation surveys, two employer workforce and diversity surveys, and a benefits survey. In addition, we added new diversity metrics to our employer workforce and diversity studies to better inform our peer-to-peer learning forum
    • Through The Health Collaborative’s CPC+ practice facilitation efforts in Ohio and Northern Kentucky, 71% of primary care practices in CPC+ are now at or above the 80th percentile in A1c measures this year, improving from 49% in the previous year
    • Received renewed funding to address health-related social needs; Gen-H Connect and sixteen partner organizations continue to provide screening and navigation for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries
    • Expanded our healthcare workforce pipeline initiatives with the addition of three new funded programs
    • Showcased the region’s top health and healthcare careers and employers at the first-ever virtual HealthFORCE career expo
    • Enhanced our ongoing efforts to incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a best practice for policies & procedures at THC and its member organizations

You likely noticed we canceled our Inspire Celebration this year. While we miss seeing you all and celebrating your efforts in improving health and healthcare, the responsible decision was to heed stay-at-home guidelines and not gather. We’ll be back with much to be thankful for and a big Inspire party in the coming year.


This year also brought some significant losses to our THC family. We lost a dear friend and mentor in Keith Hepp, a loss we’ll be feeling for some time to come. Colleen O’Toole retires at the end of this year and we will miss her friendship and good guidance. Others on our team have moved on, and we’ve welcomed several new members all while seamlessly adapting to a virtual work environment. Our team is nimble and resilient and despite the setbacks we’re ready for what comes next.


I could write a multi-volume series on the immeasurable heroism and tireless dedication to protecting the health of our communities we have seen this past year from all of you. There will be room for that in the coming months as time and space allows for adequate reflection. COVID-19 has disrupted healthcare possibly more significantly than anything else in our lifetimes. As we enter a new year and new decade all eyes are on opportunities for reinvention and improvement. In the meantime, I encourage all of us to focus on how far we’ve come in such a short and challenging time. This year has reminded me not to take any of the time we spend together for granted. Take care of yourselves and each other. I look forward to all the great things we’ll accomplish together in 2021.


Wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season,

Brammer signature


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