Here’s a wild and crazy suggestion: Let’s celebrate National Hospital Week May 8-14. No, I mean, let’s really celebrate it this year. Put some effort into it. Do it up right.

To inspire you, I came across this quotation, and it comes from an unexpected source:

“The American hospital, whether it be the great urban institution or its humble rural prototype, is constantly making large contributions to that most valuable of all conservations, the saving of human life. Moreover, it is continually accelerating our progress in the field of preventive medicine through medical research; it is giving us ever advancing ideals in humanitarian effort; and it provides us with an institution through which the spirit of community service finds one of its most inspiring expressions.”

That appeared in the April 1927 issue of the American Hospital Association’s The Bulletin, and it was made by then U.S. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. He was urging communities to recognize their local hospitals and the people who work in them on National Hospital Day, which that year fell on May 12.

Certainly, Hoover’s words still hold true, and they could serve as a sort of theme for 2016’s National Hospital Week.

Here’s my thinking: In all the heated discussions over the last several years about the need to reform health care — to rein in costs, to expand coverage, to adopt more business-like practices, to move care to appropriate settings, to enhance patient record sharing while protecting the information, and all the rest of it — something has been lost. Those goals are worthy and, in fact, critically necessary, but guess what: It’s the leaders and staff of hospitals who are working their tail ends off to make them happen. And even as they’re doing all that, they continue to press their shoulders to the wheel every day to deliver quality, compassionate care to their communities.

Have we — and by we, I mean the public, the politicians and even health care professionals, themselves — lost sight of that reality? I worry that the sometimes valid, sometimes vitriolic debate over health care that’s taking place in this country has led to a skepticism about the field that’s unfair and damaging. You, as a hospital executive, deserve more credit than you’ve been getting, and so do the people who work in your hospital.

So let’s make some noise May 8-14. This year’s theme is “Health Care from the Heart” and there’s plenty of help available to make the most of your observance. You can order gifts and awards online, as well as promotional tools and templates for press releases and social media posts. Just go to

As future President Herbert Hoover said about National Hospital Day it back in 1927, it “affords us an opportunity to give deserved recognition and honor to this institution which is accomplishing so much to maintain the high personal and civic standards we have set for ourselves here in America.” — You can reach me at