‘There is hope’: MGMA’s Fischer-Wright provides leadership perspective on COVID-19 crisis

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There’s no perfect blueprint for medical practices to follow on how to survive the COVID-19 crisis. But according to MGMA President and CEO Halee Fischer-Wright, MD, MMM, FAAP, FACMPE, there is still hope for the future – and with it, the chance for healthcare leaders to rise above as they work toward establishing some semblance of a new normal. 

“The thing is, this is a finite period of time, and we don’t know what’s on the other end,” Fischer-Wright said on a recent episode of the MGMA Insights podcast. “But there is hope. And honestly, I think there’s going to be tremendous opportunity to do things in a different way. If you look at any huge crisis – the pandemic of 1918, after world wars – you see growth, creativity, inspiration and innovation.”Dr-Halee-Fischer-Wright.jpg

As practices continue to move forward, Fischer-Wright emphasized the need for administrators and executives to embrace “the care aspect” of their positions. Curiosity, connection and communication can all be helpful tools for keeping teams happy and productive – even those who may not be in “a zen state of mind right now.”

“I’m insisting that I touch base with people,” Fischer-Wright said. “It’s more than just about, ‘Did you finish the project? Where are you on budget?’ It’s much more of a personal, ‘I care about you. I want to make sure you’re OK.’ And that actually, I think, feeds the leaders as well.”

While caring for others is essential to effective leadership, Fischer-Wright stressed that self-care is equally important. Setting work-life boundaries, meditating and maintaining personal relationships are just some of the ways she’s found balance during these difficult times. Fischer-Wright also highly recommends keeping a gratitude journal, pointing to research by Duke University that found writing a nightly list of things you’re grateful for over the span of a week can be as effective in promoting happiness as taking an antidepressant. 

“Particularly in healthcare, we have been so devastated … that it feels like everything is out of control and it’s never going to be OK again,” she said. “To start with a simple action before you go to sleep like that helps people to wrap their arms around simple gratitude, ground them into what’s going on and help focus on the things you can control.” 

Additional resources:


To keep up with the latest regarding the pandemic, be sure to visit MGMA.com/COVID. Click here to register for the May 21st Online Seminar: Coding Essentials for the Non-Coder, with a spotlight on telehealth and COVID-19. You can also connect with fellow members and healthcare peers at community.mgma.com.

If you like the show, please rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher or countless other platforms to make sure you never miss an episode. 

MGMA Insights is presented by Decklan McGee, Rob Ketcham and Daniel Williams.

Thanks to nThrive for sponsoring this episode. 
  • For more on how nThrive is helping organizations drill into their physician data and achieve substantial results, visit nThrive.com. You can also click here to check out their recent on-demand webinar titled “Leverage Data Analytics During COVID and Beyond to Improve Physician Practice Profitability,” which is eligible for ACMPE, ACHE and CEU credits.
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