Iwould like to thank HCCA for the opportunity to write for this column. I would also like to acknowledge the con-
tributions Erika Riethmiller has provided us
over the last several years. One column I’ve
never forgotten was from June 2017,
“The ‘reasonableness’ of HIPAA.”
Erika wrote: “Compliance isn’t
perfection. It’s about where you’ve
been, what you’ve learned, how
you’ve improved, and where you’re
headed.” I can’t think of a more
perfect string of words capturing
the reality of our profession. Wow.
These are going to be big shoes to fill.
For those I have not met, I’ve been in
healthcare since 1999. A time after the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability
Act (HIPAA) was signed into law, but not
yet implemented. A time when Netscape
and AOL ruled the internet and Y2K was
going to end civilization as we knew it.
Since then, I have been fortunate enough
to work on the provider and payer side of
the market for organizations consisting of
200,000 employees and ones consisting of
20. Going forward, my intention is to share
with you insights based on these diverse
So, with that brief introduction aside, I
offer a New Year’s challenge: “embracing
your zone,” that is, your discomfort zone.
First, identify something professionally
outside your comfort zone. Are you uneasy
about taking on a new role, sitting for a cer-
tification exam, or speaking publicly? If so,
step two is tackling it, thereby voluntarily
embracing your zone.
Of course, at times, we have no choice
but to embrace our zone. Resolving a
large-scale breach for the first time, responding to an Office of Civil Rights (OCR) audit,
or investigating a new type of issue are all
examples where we’re required to operate
outside our comfort zone.
Whether voluntary or involuntary, when
a new-to-you circumstance arises, apprehension is often rooted in what you don’t
understand. There is also a tendency to
see only the negative (e.g., “Ugh. I’m gonna
have to figure this thing out.”). Overcome
the negativity by recognizing these situations for what they are — personal growth.
When you think about our careers, the real
growth comes from the times we’re put in
our discomfort zone. So, embrace your zone.
The cost is short-lived while the benefit lasts
a lifetime. As for me? Trying to carry on
where Erika left off is now squarely within
my zone. I am, however, very excited for the
growth that will come.
New Year, new you:
Embracing your zone
by Jay P. Anstine
Jay P. Anstine ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the President of
Bluebird Healthlaw Partners in Fort Collins, CO.
When you think about our
careers, the real growth
comes from the times we’re
put in our discomfort zone.