david jarrard mike schatzlein

Reflections from Two Healthcare Leaders

A candid dinner-table conversation at the NBJ Health Care Awards ceremony

Growing up there were at least three things you shouldn’t talk about at the family dinner table: money, politics and gross health stuff.

David Jarrard

That’s what happens when visionary Dr. Harry Jacobson is keynote speaker and you’re honoring more than 30 movers and shakers in Nashville’s healthcare world. The 200-plus of us in attendance listened to and talked about all the good stuff.

Since two of the honorees – David Jarrard and Dr. Mike Schatzlein – are from our shop and were seated together at Table 9, we engaged them to riff and reflect on their combined 70 years in the business and give insight on the healthcare of tomorrow.

Mike Schatzlein, M.D.

For background: David is Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock’s president and CEO. He’s earned a national reputation helping healthcare systems and health services companies succeed in high-stakes moments. He literally lives and breathes the goal of making healthcare better. And Mike Schaltzlein – aka Dr. Mike in our office where he serves of counsel – is a former hospital system CEO, heart surgeon, D.C. insider, healthcare thought leader and rock and roller. (Ask him about his music-recording studio.)

Here are some outtakes from our lively table talk:

What’s your least favorite healthcare buzzword and why?

Mike Schatzlein: “Patient-centered.” Overused, too often as an excuse for things that aren’t patient-centered at all.

David Jarrard: “Innovation.” True innovation is rare and much that is claimed to be simply isn’t.

What’s been the single most important change in healthcare over the past 10 years?

MS: The slowly-dawning recognition of the need to shift from volume to value.

DJ: Mike’s right on. I’ll add the passage of the Affordable Care Act that accelerated the transformation of the industry. As a bonus: The accelerating consolidation of the entire provider sector.

What’s been the biggest change to the healthcare ecosystem in Nashville?

MS: The addition of the I.T. component to complement the delivery excellence.

DJ: The shift in private funding from acute care to non-acute care and information technology.

It’s 2050 and a patient has diabetes. How is this addressed?

MS: I sometimes try to be visionary, but I can’t see that far into the future.

DJ: My hope is that genetic testing will have identified the potential for diabetes in the patient and addressed it. Failing that, that the patient will be surrounded first with environmental medicine — a diet designed for their code, exercise that fits with their life and a community of support — and then given personalized pharmaceuticals that help. 

If you could give career advice to your 25-year-old self, what would you say?

MS: Be nicer to the nurses in the OR.

DJ: Take it all in; take full advantage of the opportunities that are right in front of your nose.

Emme Nelson Baxter