A snapshot of 'public affairs'

John Taylor: November 16, 20070 Comments

It starts at 5 a.m., waiting for the thunk, thunk, thunk outside the door -- the Fresno Bee, Wall Street Journal and New York Times. It ends about 17 hours later with a final check of emails on my Treo.

In between, a lot of what happens falls under the label of "public affairs." It's what I do. Here is snapshot of what any given day might bring.

Breezing through traditional on-line news sources -- Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times -- and others like rtumble.com, fresnostatenews.com and wired.com. Hunting for details of legislation, regulations, trends, troubles, advances in the politics of health care.

I have day-to-day oversight of Community's membership in the California Hospital Association and Private Essential Access Community Hospitals Inc. -- tracking Sacramento and DC via conference calls, lobbying visits, tons of emails and listserves.

When Gov. Schwarzenegger considered holding a press conference at Community on health reform, his advance team and security detail worked with me -- it was a busy day for me and other Community staff, ending when his staff opted to go to Children's in Madera instead. Turnabout is always in play in politics.

When the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hires a private contractor to audit hospital claims for reimbursement for inpatient physical rehabilitation services -- and contractor takes a wacky approach -- it's the job of public affairs to get the details, contact the hospital association and call the staff of Valley congressmen to tell them what's up.

And when the Clovis Rotary needs a speaker, chances are the request will pass through my hands.

I write analyses that only a handful of people see, speeches heard by hundreds, fact sheets used by thousands and the annual community benefits report detailing the $100+ million Community gives away in care and services each year. This year's report will go to the state soon and then be published on this Web site.

As my boss, the senior vice president, once joked: "I wouldn't want you to get bored."  Not a chance, John.