What They’re Watching: Greg Vigdor on the future of Arizona health care

Greg Vigdor is the former President and CEO of the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association. Vigdor served in his role for six years and recently announced his retirement. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about the questions that remain for him surrounding health care in Arizona as he moves on from his role.

“I would say there’s probably three questions that are troubling me, a little bit, as I leave. One is the future of Medicare and what our role is in, really, a national discussion. There’s this phrase of “Medicare for all,” which means about 20 different things.

But, I do believe we’re coming to this point of trying to understand, for the long-term, nationally, what is the scope of the Medicare program and how does it work? And I think it might be the most essential question facing health care in this country for decades to come. So, where that goes is certainly something top-of-mind for me.

In this state, one of the unique challenges, given our geography and our membership as an association, is the future of rural health care and rural hospitals. We have done an awful lot over my six years to try to make sure that they would be there to take care of their communities. And just about every year we make progress, and just about every year we’re still challenged to wonder if they can make it. It’s another one where I really do think we have to figure out a longer-term answer, as difficult as it is.

The third question is something, frankly, I have not been able to really get much traction on in my time here, and it’s trying to deal with the reality of disparities of care. The people that don’t look like me tend to have much different health status — not just in Arizona, but across the nation. But, this is a diverse state, and we still had challenges trying to figure out where do we go with the proposition of trying to make the system work for all, rather than just some. And, I think we still have a lot of work to do in that regard.”