Episode 44:
Purveyors of Truth and Beacons of Hope
Chris Howard, President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare
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In this episode of Fireside Chat, we sit down with Chris Howard, President and CEO, Sharp HealthCare to discuss the breakdown of Sharp’s capitated and fee-for-service revenues and how capitated revenue provides a more stable revenue base. We also spoke about the new core competency of scaling up and scaling down developed in response to the crisis, and lessons learned during the COVID pandemic that are contributing to the new normal in healthcare.

Chris Howard is president and chief executive officer of Sharp HealthCare. Howard oversees a workforce of more than 18,000 employees, 2,700 affiliated physicians, and 1,800 volunteers. Sharp provides care and services in a fully integrated not-for-profit system that includes four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups, six urgent care centers, three skilled nursing facilities, home health, hospice, state-of-the-art outpatient facilities and a health plan. Read more

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Chris Howard 0:03
Experience will be the best gift we’ve all had in this and that we’re much better now at forecasting what we think we’re going to be dealing with over the next two weeks. We can feed that to the county. Of course, we don’t know what if any potential surge we thought Memorial Day would bring a surge. Fortunately, it did not. We’re watching now to see if the impact of having a number of individuals in close proximity to one another during the protests will create higher viral contagion over the next couple of weeks. So we’ll watch that.

Gary Bisbee 0:33
That was Chris Howard, President and CEO Sharp HealthCare speaking about increased specificity of modeling to provide more guidance for the volume of elective surgery and treatments during a crisis. I’m Gary Bisbee. And this is Fireside Chat. Chris reviewed the breakdown of charts, capitated and fee for service revenues and how capitated revenue provides a more stable revenue base. He also spoke about the new core competency of scaling up and scaling down, developed in response to the crisis. Let’s listen to Chris discuss the explosion of telehealth visits and how Sharp HealthCare will innovate to embed telehealth technology in care processes.

Chris Howard 1:13
I think to your earlier point, Gary, perhaps what the best thing that will come out of this is that as we need to scale up or scale down our degree of specificity to be able to enact that kind of scaling to the need of the day without over scaling one way or the other, I think will be much more specific and that’ll help us all the way around.

Gary Bisbee 1:33
Chris spoke about cross border traffic with Mexico, and its effect on the incidence and prevalence of COVID in San Diego County, the opportunity that 3000 remote workers will provide Sharp’s facilities planning and operations, characteristics of leaders in a crisis and lessons learned during the crisis that are contributing to the new normal in healthcare. I’m delighted to welcome Chris Howard to the microphone.

Good afternoon, Chris. And welcome.

Chris Howard 2:03
Thank you, Gary, I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today.

Gary Bisbee 2:06
We’re pleased to have you at the microphone. Let’s get back to your background. Grew up in Oklahoma. Spent five or six years in St. Louis, how are you finding San Diego?

Chris Howard 2:17
Well, we’re enjoying San Diego. I mean, the people here welcomed us with open arms, which has made transitioning from the Midwest so much easier than we would have otherwise anticipated. So we feel very fortunate in that regard.

Gary Bisbee 2:28
Well, I’ll ask the leading question. How about the transition to the weather, Chris?

Chris Howard 2:32
I get asked that a lot. To be truthful, one of the things I do miss about the Midwest, aside from family and friends is the weather and people find that shocking, but when you grow up in the Midwest, you actually pay attention to the weather and for good reason. I think here over the last year, I’ve heard thunder once or twice. So this is definitely a new normal for me. Now you’re rubbing it in Chris Well, on the other hand, I’m not complaining. I have to say, those 75 degree days, the ocean, the mountains, the desert. Listen, I feel very fortunate.

Gary Bisbee 3:09
That’s what we wanted to hear. So what have you enjoyed the most about San Diego, other than the weather and the people?

Chris Howard 3:14
The culture here is amazing, not just the Sharp HealthCare but the community as a whole. This is an inclusive community. It’s a diverse community. And as I mentioned, it’s a welcoming community, and we find that enjoyable. It reminds me so much of my days in the Midwest, dating all the way back to Oklahoma.

Gary Bisbee 3:33
Let’s move to healthcare. What was your first position in health administration?

Chris Howard 3:38
Well, my first position was serving as a physician relations coordinator, which was extremely meaningful as an experience because it truly taught me early on the value of what clinical caregivers think about how the enterprise is run, and the importance of having their voice in day-to-day operations as well as strategic initiatives. It was a tremendous experience and a great way to kick off a healthcare career.

Gary Bisbee 4:01
At what point did you really think about leadership and say “I joy that”?

Chris Howard 4:07
Well, I thought about leadership and the fact that I enjoyed it early on. Even as a physician relations coordinator, you’re put in a number of situations where you have to have difficult conversations, try to solve problems, advance the well being of the organization, and I think impact the culture. So I enjoyed that very much. But from an early age, I always enjoyed the opportunity to be in the middle of things to be what I would call in core leadership. I didn’t know early on that that was going to lead to CEO roles. But I always enjoyed being in that core group and having to be a part of what all was in front of us and what all we were going to do to solve the issues of the day.

Gary Bisbee 4:46
When did you first think about becoming a CEO?

Chris Howard 4:49
Well, it wasn’t when I started. I truly thought at that point, it was a journey and I didn’t know where the journey would take me, but around 2005 I was the executive vice president for SSM’s Oklahoma region, and the CEO at the time left for another career opportunity, and I had been there for a few years. And I thought, why not me. So I threw my hat in the ring and had no idea how that would turn out. But I was fortunate to be granted the opportunity to serve in that role, and it kind of kick started the rest of my career.

Gary Bisbee 5:21
What have you found to be the most interesting about being a CEO?

Chris Howard 5:25
There’s so many things, but really, when it gets down to the crux of it, I very much enjoy developing great teams, watching them flourish, and then truly having the opportunity to recognize the great work that so many others do because as the CEO you aren’t on the frontlines in so many cases, and that’s the way it is but to have that opportunity to watch great work being done – to recognize it, to watch those teams flourish and to watch them thrive as they move on taking on greater responsibility. I’ve always found that a fascinating and most rewarding part of healthcare.

Gary Bisbee 5:58
You’re an experienced executive – experienced leader – you’ve been the CEO at Sharp for roughly 18 months. Have you encountered anything as the CEO there that you weren’t expecting?

Chris Howard 6:09
Sure, something called COVID-19. Seriously though, aside from that Sharp is a wonderful health care system. San Diego’s a wonderful healthcare community and much of it is pretty much what I expected upon arriving, I do and have grown to really appreciate the true clinical integration between our hospitals and our medical groups, the post acute environments, all those things that are part of being a clinically integrated network with full risk and to truly embrace population health. So that’s been a very special experience.

Gary Bisbee 6:46
Let’s move to Sharp HealthCare and then we’ll turn to COVID-19. Will you describe Sharp for us Chris?

Chris Howard 6:53
Sharp is a very special not for profit health system, the largest tell system in San Diego. We’re As mentioned a fully integrated system. Seven hospitals, 18,000 team members, a health plan, Three medical groups as mentioned, we truly are a leader in Population Health Management. And translating that just under 40% of our hospital revenues are capitated, 70% of our medical group revenues are capitated. System is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of being up on COVID impact around 4 billion in net revenue this year. And of course, Sharp is known for this thing called the Sharp Experience. And I’ll tell you, it’s, it’s very real. It’s a part of everything we do and truly the focus on being the best place to work, the best place to practice medicine, and the best place to receive care. Every bit of our DNA is built around accomplishing those three goals. And it’s a wonderful experience to be a part of.

Gary Bisbee 7:53
Now I’ve attended at least what used to be an annual meeting that was pretty impressive. Are you still doing that?

Chris Howard 8:00
Well, we canceled it this year because of COVID, which was a significant disappointment for me, but we will reschedule it and look forward to that this coming year, but it is an event that brings all 18,000 of our team members together on an annual basis, as well as our boards and affiliated physicians. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get people together and something that I look forward to us rescheduling.

Gary Bisbee 8:25
We’ll get to COVID in a moment, but how about the social unrest of the last several days? How’s that affected San Diego and has it affected Sharp?

Chris Howard 8:33
Oh, it most certainly has. Our team members have been working their way through it. Our leadership has been working our way through it. Our community has been working its way through it. I mean, truthfully, George Floyd’s tragic death. It’s heart wrenching, but it’s an all too familiar societal refrain. And it truly, it’s weighing so heavily on everyone’s hearts, minds and souls around Sharp and around San Diego as a whole. It’s yet another reminder that as healthcare providers, and I’ve said this, but we’ve really, truly bear witness to the way systemic racism and income inequality places our communities of color, at higher risk for death and health complications, like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, preterm labor, maternal-infant mortality, and even more recently COVID-19. So, we truly cannot simply be bystanders in this effort. We need to bring our collective voices together to call for change, and I think we’re going to do it this time around.

Gary Bisbee 9:34
Well, I hope so. It’s a tough transition from that topic, but let’s now go to COVID-19. How about the surge in San Diego? How did that roll out?

Chris Howard 9:46
Well, we’ve never truly had what would be considered a true surge, more of a steady crest, followed by a slow decline. Here at Sharp HealthCare we had 140 positive codes Patients on a daily basis, another 35 to 40 persons under investigation. Today we stand closer to 80 positive COVID patients in our hospitals and other 30 PUIs. But we’re still facing the challenge. Here in San Diego as a point of reference. We’ve had 7,940 cases as of a few days ago, a couple days ago, and had 288 deaths. So we have a mortality rate of 3.6%. Here in San Diego County that’s a little less than the United States average of 5.8% of a few days ago. So we’re faring better, but we know we still have a significant challenge ahead of us.

Gary Bisbee 10:39
What about proximity to the Mexican border has that presented any issues or any challenges?

Chris Howard 10:45
Without a doubt so certainly we and other health systems are managing the situation nicely, primarily in the South Bay Community which is on the southern portion of San Diego County, toward the bay side, and then Imperial County. A bit further over to the east. So you’ve got just south of San Diego. You’ve got Tia Juana off to the east, just south of the border, you’ve got Mexicali. So you’ve got areas that have had a higher incidence of viral contagion, as of recent days. And so we have upwards of, most recently, 50,000 or so individuals that travel back and forth across the border, legitimate business, United States citizens, many of which are our own employees coming back and forth. And when you’ve got a hotbed and Tia Juana is getting better. Mexicali is still significantly challenged – has a mortality rate of over 25% Tia Juana, less than that, but far greater than here in the United States or here in San Diego County. And so, while things are improving south of the border, they were for a period of time – well they were a hotbed and so you have a natural incidence of overlap. And so we had cross border traffic. We had more incidents with employees, and our South Bay Community and it’s just a natural environment to have a greater number of cases in our South Bay. As a matter of fact, if you look between Sharp and other health systems here in San Diego County, our facilities in that southern region – South Bay Community – have had a far greater impact than those that are in the mid to northern portions of San Diego County. Again, this is all getting better. We see improvement and we expect that improvement to continue. Knock on wood.

Gary Bisbee 12:28
Moving from the incidence and prevalence of COVID to elective surgeries. When did Sharp resume elective surgeries?

Chris Howard 12:36
We, like many others, a couple weeks ago around May 11. We actually – closer now to a month – we reinstituted elective surgeries and procedures with a slow, methodical plan, like many others based around employee provider, patient safety, PPE conservation as our top priority. We really focused on that. We began With our goal of bringing on about 25% of our lower acuity cases that immediately ballooned up to 50 to 75%. Moving up now closer to 100%, with some of the lower acuity cases, now bringing on the higher acuity cases all being tracked, day by day with our forecasting system that monitors PPE utilization, so that we can be sure that we maintain the capacity for additional COVID patients shouldn’t if they come so we’re preparing for all eventualities. But it’s a slow, methodical return, like others have said we’ve spent significant time convincing our patients that it’s safe to return for care, we did a terrific job of creating the concern for COVID that was necessary during the height of the virus. And now as we’re starting to move into whatever new normal is gonna look like, we’re truly focused on helping our patients understand that A, it’s safe to receive care. B, if you need the care, we’re going to provide it and we’re going to do so with safety first and foremost in mind.

Gary Bisbee 14:00
We’ll talk about this a little bit later, but it does seem if you look around the country, there have been several substantial hotspots led by New York, but much of the country has been utilization about where San Diego has been or where Sharp has been. Do you think we can get better at modeling? Or how do we avoid canceling elective surgeries at a health system like Sharp where you really didn’t need to do that?

Chris Howard 14:29
That’s a great question and not an easy one to answer. I mean, every community is different. But I think the private health sector working in tandem with county health officials to model and forecast capacity and demand something we’re working aggressively on here at Sharp we have again a sophisticated modeling formula that we use to forecast our demand for not just elective cases but other cases and bed capacity that will be utilized and we monitor it literally on a day by day, sometimes hour by hour basis to understand for X number of additional procedures that will be brought in with X acuity. What will the PPE utilization be, that’ll be an X percent of N95, surgical gowns, etc, some of which ebb and flow in terms of the criticality of their availability. So I think we can do a better job, but I also think experience will be the best gift we’ve all had in this and that we’re much better now at forecasting what we think we’re going to be dealing with over the next two weeks. We can feed that to the county. Of course, we don’t know what potential surge we thought Memorial Day would bring a surge, fortunately, it did not. We’re watching now to see if the impact of having a number of individuals in close proximity to one another during the protests will create higher viral contagion over the next couple of weeks. So we’ll watch that but we still have capacity. And I think the short answer to your question, although I didn’t give it to you is, we can do a better job of forecasting. I think we’re doing that and so I think as we add in flow moving forward, I think we’ll be able to maintain capacity at a much higher degree of specificity so that we can bring in those elective cases and keep bringing them in even if we have maybe if it’s not another surge, but a crest as we had before.

Gary Bisbee 16:14
And part of it is I’m assuming your relationships with the governments, county, state and so on, probably have lines of communication that are broader now. Maybe you can work with the governments not to make these unilateral decisions that ended up probably being inappropriate. Really?

Chris Howard 16:33
Absolutely. And we are a voice that our county health department looks to provide guidance. We and the other health systems here in San Diego County, and we do provide that, most recently as the county proposed a plan to the governor to help move into phase two and to provide trial basis opportunity to move into phase three, opening of our communities, a subsequent set of triggers was developed to help guide when things should potentially open up more or close down to some degree, and we were a voice and have been a voice of reason to help prescribe the correct values to be placed on those triggers. Of course, it’s a work in progress, but we’re fortunate that we’ve had a tight relationship with the county health and our elected officials, and I think that will continue as we move forward.

Gary Bisbee 17:23
Remote working, did you have many people at Sharp working remotely or any people?

Chris Howard 17:29
Yes, of our 18,000 team members, we now have 3000 working remotely, a large portion we have sent home to remote work environments over the last two months. And that’s been extremely successful. Of course, we’re working our way through learning what it means to provide the resources to have that remote work performed effectively and it truly is ushering in a new era of what’s possible.

Gary Bisbee 17:55
What do you think it’ll affect your facilities planning opportunities

Chris Howard 17:59
I do, actually it already has. So we’re reviewing not only current space utilization within our existing facilities and asking the questions such as will we bring 1000… 2000… individuals back? Will we leave or provide the opportunity for X percent of those to work remotely? And if we do bring back only a portion, what do we do with the space we currently have? How do we transform that so that we are most effective and efficient with our space utilization. And then secondly, with our planned capital investments, so we have a number of clinics, planned ambulatory sites, office locations for non clinical space, and we’re reevaluating all of that because we realize now, we should need less space. And if that can save on capital resources, that’s capital that can go somewhere else, hopefully for clinical needs. So it’s an opportunity we see it as an opportunity and we look forward to solving for what that new normal is gonna look like

Gary Bisbee 18:25
How did you decide to communicate with your community and with the caregivers? What kind of communications plan did you implement?

Chris Howard 19:09
We’ve been aggressive, Sharp HealthCare has had a wonderful marketing and communications team from the very beginning, at least, and certainly, I’ve seen that over my last year and a half or so here at Sharp it’s been a wonderful group to watch in action. And we’ve had a concerted effort both internally and externally to communicate, daily, weekly, monthly on all that is needed to be known about what’s going on at Sharp, what’s going on within our community. We educate our board, I send out one to two communications per week to our board. I speak on a daily basis with one board member or another. And it’s all part of a process because we’re all learning during this, this new event that none of us saw coming. And, it is an opportunity I see as a tremendous learning opportunity. And we’re taking advantage of that. And I think more communication is better than less and sometimes if you provide information that some don’t find valuable, I’d rather step to that degree than to hold back and have people wondering what is.

Gary Bisbee 20:16
Just thinking about communication, anything new that came about because of COVID that you’re going to continue?

Chris Howard 20:23
The need, I think – twofold – the need to communicate more, certainly, we always viewed communication as important, but it’s perhaps now and with what will be a lasting impact of COVID-19 going to be more important for us moving forward both for leadership for our team members, for our affiliated physicians, our board, and even for our community, all of whom are looking to us to provide the vital information they need to understand what’s going on, what they should be concerned about. What good news is out because in the midst of all of COVID, that can be challenging. There’s a tremendous opportunity before us. And I think they look to us to provide that. So providing ample and meaningful communication to our key stakeholders on a more regular basis than before. I think that’s important. And using this new technology to even have more face to face, virtual meetings, still makes it a bit more personal and I think people enjoy that.

Gary Bisbee 21:26
I love the point about providing positive information that’s just terrific. On to telemedicine, which has been a terrific story for everybody. How did telemedicine fare at Sharp?

Chris Howard 21:38
It exploded like everywhere else. Our medical groups prior to COVID were literally in many instances, performing less than 25 to 50 telemedicine visits a day to some segments of our population that has exploded now to thousands on a daily basis, which is wonderful to see. It was slow in coming, but once it broke, people embraced it. Both our patients and our clinical caregivers have embraced it. So we’ve definitely reached now this new normal, and I think it’s here to stay. The question is how do we embed it within future care processes and delivery, such that it’s a service line in and of itself almost.

Gary Bisbee 22:23
I know you think a lot about innovation. Do you see any further innovation in the whole telehealth end of the business?

Chris Howard 22:30
I definitely do. I mean, we’ve seen the explosion as everyone else and as mentioned, but you gotta look ahead, and you have to think that embedding what technology that does exist with additional home-based diagnostics, coupled with potentially down the road virtual reality, you’ve got to think down the road that this could create the closest thing to an in-person visit without actually being in person. Has got to be an opportunity. That plus Just the opportunity to make this technology and this experience available to so many more individuals than was ever available before. It’s truly an opportunity. And I think we’ll all take advantage of it.

Gary Bisbee 23:11
Moving from a very happy story to one that’s not so happy on the economics side of the equation, how has Sharp economics fared in COVID.

Chris Howard 23:23
It’s been brutal, like other systems, our revenues over the last 60 days were down 90 million. We tried to dig out as much of that up as we could. Fortunately, we were able to make up some of that, and ended up with just a pure net operating loss over the last two months in the proximity of 50 million, which I know is less than many and more than some on a relative basis. For us. That’s significant. Fortunately, we received Cares Act funding that helped offset some of that. So, that plus our significant reliance on a capitated book of business I think has provided us a level of protection that some others may not have had. So we see a continued challenge over the next three months. But as we’re bringing electives back on now, depending upon our ability to bring a full load back in, as we reach the beginning of our fiscal year, which begins October one, we’re hopeful that the primary degradation we’re going to see in fiscal year 2021 will be essentially a pair mix shift and a payer mix shift will no doubt move toward Medicaid, which we’ve already experienced the 3 to 5% increase in, expect that to continue, and then we’ll see what happens with telemedicine reimbursement, because we clearly have launched the ship of providing additional telemedicine services, and depending upon reimbursement is available to us there that’ll affect our forecasts as we move into 2021.

Gary Bisbee 24:49
Well, CMS raised a trial balloon about continuing to reimburse it, there was nothing there about the rates, but at least they’re saying that they’re not going to put the genie back in that bottle. So let’s hope that private insurers will come along and follow suit. How do you think 2021 looks now your next year?

Chris Howard 25:10
Well, again, I think we’re fortunate in that we’ll probably fare better than some, just because of our diversified book business, which has been purposeful in the evolution of Sharp over the years. But again, with the degradation of payer mix, potential adjustments, if they are negative relative to reimbursement for those services, which will convert, we know we have the potential to take a step backward, although we’ve forecasted from a volume perspective getting back to full strength by October one. So it truly will be a matter of the degree of impact of those other changes as we move into the next fiscal year. Will our revenue hold steady? We’re hopeful, we understand that there have been forecasts from others to expect a 5 to 10% decline in reimbursement heading into 2021. For those factors I mentioned, we’re hopeful that that will be of a lesser impact at Sharp HealthCare, but as many others we’re not counting on anything right now.

Gary Bisbee 26:06
Do you see scaling up and scaling down in the face of a crisis might be a new competency for our health systems?

Chris Howard 26:12
Definitely, we scaled down. We consolidated Medical Group sites through Sharp Rees-Stealy, many of our Sharp community Medical Group sites consolidated their services or limited their in person offices and took up telemedicine services at a significantly higher rate than before. We curtailed other services, obviously, electives and others. But I think to your earlier point, Gary, perhaps what the best thing that will come out of this is that as we need to scale up or scale down our degree of specificity to be able to enact that kind of scaling, to the need of the day without over scaling one way or the other, I think will be much more specific and that’ll help us all the way around.

Gary Bisbee 26:54
Yep, that’s good. Let’s move to leadership for a second, always important during a crisis. Seems like even more important, what characteristics of a top leader do you think are required in a crisis?

Chris Howard 27:07
I’ve always believed this, and I still believe it that leaders in times of crisis are purveyors of truth and they’re beacons of hope. And people look to us to maintain stability and paint the path forward to show there is a path forward. This too shall pass. Sometimes it doesn’t feel as though it will. But there will be a new day and I think people look to us, and they listen to what we say. And they look at the look on our face. And what we say and how we portray ourselves is an image that is indelibly linked in the minds of those that are looking to leaders for guidance. It’s something that I’ve always taken seriously and I think in times like this, we have to put at the top of our list of initiatives to undertake to show that we are the stable beacon of truth and Vision forward for those who look to us.

Gary Bisbee 28:02
Well said. You have several new members of the management team. How have you factored that into your response to the crisis?

Chris Howard 28:11
It’s been seamless, I have to say, Brad McLean, who’s joined us as our Chief Operating Officer, Rick Grossman who’s joined us as our Chief General Counsel, Mike Reagan is our Chief Information Officer. The wonderful thing about those individuals is they all fit the mold of Sharp coming in. So while they’re all getting their feet wet, and they’re all getting up to speed on what all is San Diego and Sharp HealthCare, they have those virtues and those values that are Sharp Healthcare’s, and they’re solid, stable leaders. So in the midst of a crisis, such as we’ve had, we’ve been about as stable as you can get. Plus, Dan gross, who’s our outgoing Executive Vice President of hospital operations, has remained on board over the last couple of months to provide vital leadership in the area specifically of COVID That’s been a tremendous asset and opportunity for Sharp HealthCare as well

Gary Bisbee 29:03
Transition into governance. You mentioned how you’re communicating with the board of directors. Have you had a virtual board meeting yet, Chris?

Chris Howard 29:10
We’ve had several actually, we’ve had more than several. So at our system level, our last three meetings have been virtual at our entity boards and our foundation boards, they have all been virtual. And so we have become quite accustomed and adept to utilization of virtual technology. And I have to say, it’s been fantastic. Our engagement, our attendance, in some cases has been improved. Because it’s easier to get to the meetings. We provide more information in advance. And we asked them to submit questions in advance that are on top of mind so we can be sure to answer them because you don’t want to get into the food fight of having 100 hands go up on zoom or whatever technology you’re using, and it’s hard sometimes. We’ve tried to change the paradigm of how we operate a board meeting, but by utilizing that technology, we’ve actually found engagement to be quite high.

Gary Bisbee 30:02
Any tips for a smooth virtual board meeting?

Chris Howard 30:05
Some I just mentioned I definitely want more information sooner, so that members have a chance to digest it because sometimes the opportunity for dialogue on a virtual platform is less and you for sure want to meet the opportunity to answer those questions, and then get the questions in advance. Go over them. Take time to answer them and provide additional time at the end of the meeting. For additional questions, make sure you are ready to engage at a level that perhaps an in-person meeting is more obvious because you’re sitting there staring at somebody when you’re looking at somebody on the screen from 20 feet away. And they’re one of a number that look like The Brady Bunch up there. It’s hard to read faces. So we try to provide as much pre-work as possible and then make the meetings as efficient as possible.

Gary Bisbee 30:51
Chris, this has been a terrific interview. We really appreciate your time. Let me ask one question if I could, and that is we’re all talking about a new normal developing. What changes would you like to see happen coming out of COVID?

Chris Howard 31:05
Hopefully the lessons we’ve learned. So let’s just take the lessons we’ve learned that we have been able to control, contagion across this country with things and in some cases, simple things, social distancing, facial coverings, additional hand washing practices, sterilization, all of those things as a whole – as difficult to some of them have been to implement have been opportunistic for us to control the spread of COVID-19. So fast forward to a day when COVID-19 is eradicated, knock on wood, we still face seasonal influenza that kills 30 to 50,000 plus Americans each year, if implementing these practices can help reduce the strain of influenza, the mortality of influenza and I think it can, then those are lessons learned for us to take forward. That plus just reengineering how we act as society, these virtual meetings we’re having, when you’re in the height of influenza season as an example, why not utilize one or two more? It could be saving some of your senior board members the opportunity to come into contact with influenza or anything else. And so, I think many of these are just lessons that we’ve experienced that sometimes in painful ways, but hopefully those are all things that will truly be lessons learned that can benefit us in those years ahead.

Gary Bisbee 32:33
Chris, thanks again. Terrific interview. Love the Way you’re thinking about being the leader of Sharp and good stuff.

Chris Howard 32:40
Thank you for the opportunity, Gary, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Gary Bisbee 32:43
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