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It’s 4 a.m. About 40 emails have accumulated since I last checked my phone six hours ago --- news alerts, various listserves, political updates.
It’s 5:30 a.m. If I’m lucky, the delivery driver has left three newspapers at my door – the Fresno Bee, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Print is not dead, but some days it takes three papers in a blue bag to keep the wind from blowing the contents away. Before I head to work at 6:30 a.m., I will have read two, saving the Journal for later.
It’s 7 a.m. Another 40 emails are now in my inbox -- including the online versions of the Washington Post, Sacramento Bee and Los Angeles Times. They’ll be followed in the next few hours by listserves from the California HealthCare Foundation, Kaiser Health News, the Advisory Board and numerous others.
Before 9 a.m., I will have responded to internal and external email requests, skimmed through online Fox News, Google News, Twitter, Facebook, received updates from various hospital associations and community-based organizations. And a sort of social media Pacman that I purchase will have gobbled up about 800 single-line headers from around the country on issues of interest to Community.
By 10, I’ll have gotten a couple of phone calls, but it is a secondary source of communication most days. Luckily, the fax machine at my desk doubles as a printer/scanner – good thing, as fax machines for me have largely gone the way of dodo bird (you might need to Google that). Of course, there's a fair amount of meetings and regular face time with folks internal and external.
So why this incessant wheel of communications, reading and querying?
Explanation No. 1 – 30 years as a reporter and editor. The endless search for knowledge.
No. 2 – The centrifuge which hit healthcare in 2010 when the Affordable Care Act was enacted.
No. 3 – The light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t want to suddenly experience that light. You want to be the light.
No. 4 – Someone has to sift the information, do the prioritizing and make sense of it, at least as far as it pertains to Community and the Valley. Sometimes that’s me. Sometimes it’s up to me to find the expert internally to determine if changes to “meaningful use,” the “two-midnight rule,” the ”recovery audit contractor” or “ICD-10” are significant, requiring internal responses or calls, letters or visits to lawmakers or regulators.
Maybe 2% of what I read may wind up in my weekly electronic public affairs newsletter. Some items I’ll print and save as future resource material. It’s crucial to have the right information at the right time, or at least know where (that you Internet) to find it.
All that said, my day usually ends with a New Yorker magazine or a good book at my recliner. That’s the only way to unfry my mental motherboard, making it fit for a very early morning reboot.