Successful Leaders in the US Health Care Industry

Two of the most prominent profiles in the American health care delivery system of the twenty-first century are Charles N. Kahn III and Ken Seaton-Msemaji.   In this essay, their successful leadership will be discussed in details.

Charles (“Chip”) Kahn III, a Republican, is considered as a successful leader because of his accomplishments and role in the health care system.   Kahn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Johns Hopkins University and a Masters of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree from Tulane University.   He taught about health policy at Johns George Washington University, Tulane University, and Hopkins University.

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He received various appointments as Board of directors member in Zix Corporation, AcademyHealth, Coalition for Health Services Research, The Future of Children, Center for Studying Health Systems Change, Robert Wood Johnson Health Fellowships Program, Medicare Competitive Pricing Advisory Committee, and Delta Omega.

Kahn contributed in the success of organizing the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) as well as in the provision of the 1997 Balanced Budget Act for Medicare.   He was the executive vice president of the HIAA between 1993 and 1994.   He focused national attention through a public policy agenda on the plight concerning the uninsured (a problem that has severely strained the finances of many hospitals; Hernandez & Pear, 2006).

As a result of his effective leadership, the HIAA has dramatically become prestigious and its membership has increased.   From 1995-1998, he served as a staff director for the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Kahn later became an executive vice president and president for the HIAA. Since June 2001, he has been the president of the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH).   The FAH is an organization that advocates health organizations and many privately owned hospital companies such as Tenet and HCA (Hernandez & Pear, 2006; Forbes, 2007).   He is also the Chairman of the University of Michigan’s Economic Research Initiative on the uninsured (BlueCross Blueshield Association, 2007).

He believed that health care executives supported Hillary R. Clinton, whom he works with, due to her effective performance as a Congressional leader and her remarkable knowledgeable about the health care system (Hernandez ; Pear, 2006).

BlueCross Blueshield Association (2007) described Kahn as a significant and renowned expert regarding American health care systems policy and Medicare issues.   He writes commentaries regarding health care financing for Health Affair since 1999.

While Kahn was still in the insurance industry, Fortune magazine also identified him as the most influential insurance trade leader. He also belonged to the list of “100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare” in Modern Healthcare.   In 2001 Kahn was bestowed with “Champion of Public Health” award.   He was also “one of the capital’s top trade association lobbyists” for five consecutive years until April 2005 in The Hill newspaper.   The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation also acknowledged Kahn’s professional skills.

Seaton-Msemaji (together with his wife, Fahari Jeffers) have recognized the difficult, demanding, and undervalued job of home-care givers, which the ageing population of the US. These workers are highly needed because American elders prefer to live with more security, independence, and dignity.

Their initiative to work domestic workers started when they joined Latino United Farm Workers (UFW) with Cesar Chávez, who also dreamed of building a movement for domestic workers. Seaton-Msemaji supported Chavez’ dreams of helping domestic helpers for they believed that domestic workers, who are being exploited more than farm laborers deserve to be given special rights.

The United Domestic Workers (UDW) of America, established in 1979, was the first labor union exclusively for domestic workers including home attendants and in-home-care workers (Leadership for a Changing World, 2007). Seaton-Msemaji became the president and Fahrari Jeffers the Secretary-Treasurer of the Union (Johnson, 2007).

The UDW was affiliated with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and it operated independently until 1994.  It also affiliated as a district in 2001with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), which served as an intermediary between the UDW and AFSCME. The growth of UDW was too slow but it eventually won legislations favoring home-care workers.

For instance, the UDW and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 434-B were each given jurisdictional rights to 29 counties in California. Richard Ybarra of Ycom public affairs company and Chris Long, a member of UDW  and Desert Hot Springs, acknowledged Seaton-Msemaji’s commitment in the union’s success despite the struggles and issues he faced (Kinsman, 2005) like corruption and financial improprieties.

Seaton-Msemaji have successfully fought for better treatment, basic legal rights for domestic workers, fair wage, decent working conditions, and other benefits from the state. His major role was to educate regarding the lives of domestic workers or home-care givers and train volunteers for improved efficiency and productivity in helping the poor people who are exploited in their jobs. Communication and information dissemination were utilized in promoting his advocacy.

Public speaking were conducted in achieving Seaton-Msemaji’s aspirations in helping these workers and writing was also effective, especially when he wrote about the greatest challenge he and his wife had in working with marginalized people around them.  Seaton-Msemaji is dedicated in continuing this movement, to keep their own organization strong and to influence the nation towards building a mass movement for the unprivileged workers in the society (Leadership for a Changing World, 2007).

Both Kahn and Seaton-Msemaji are successful leaders in the health care industry but with different styles and qualities. While Kahn’s extreme performance was a key in his achievements, Seaton-Msemaji used communication and diligence in bringing out the UDW. Kahn maintained integrity and the qualities of being a proficient, academically excellent, and high quality performer. Seaton-Msemaji, used his communication and interpersonal skills, strengthened his dedication in helping home-care givers, determination and courage.

References

BlueCross Blueshield Association (2007) Charles N.   Kahn III.   Retrieved November 17, 2007 from http://www.bcbs.com/news/bluetvradio/healthinfoexchange/charles-n-kahn-iii.html?templateName=template-28719196;print=t Forbes (2007) Charles N Kahn III.   Forbes.com.   Retrieved November 17, 2007 from http://www.forbes.com/finance/mktguideapps/personinfo/FromPersonIdPersonTearsheet.jhtml?passedPersonId=871609

Hernandez, R.   ; Pear, R.   (July 12, 2006) Once an Enemy, Health Industry Warms to Clinton.   New York Times.   Retrieved November 17, 2007 from http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/12/nyregion/12donate.html?ex=1310356800;en=0882715139712152;ei=5088;partner=rssnyt;emc=rss

Johnson, W. (2007) In The Wake Of The Split: Tensions Rising In Labor Movement.   Labor Notes.   Retrieved November 17, 2007 from http://labornotes.org/node/778