Among the many critical roles during the coronavirus pandemic is one that navigates government affairs and public policy, with ever-changing guidelines and information.
Tom Syverson, director of government and external affairs for the Good Samaritan Society and Sanford Health, proactively watches that changing legal, regulatory and legislative landscape of health care from a national level.
“With the pandemic, what really has changed is the singular focus,” Syverson says. “In the past, we’re dealing with lots of issues. Right now, our elected officials are really having to focus on this crisis.”
He said all of the elected officials in local, state and national governments are doing the best they can to serve.
“This information is coming at them just as fast as it is coming to us in the health care arena,” he says. “I think there is a lot of well-meaning decisions being made, but sometimes we have challenges between state and national guidance, sometimes even at a local level.”
Syverson detailed the process of disseminating information and how work at the state or national level affects individual residents, patients and employees.
“From a public policy standpoint, we’re here to serve,” Syverson says. “The way we serve is by connecting the needs that we have in our locations.”
When asked how the community can help, he suggested to stay engaged and support local.
“We bring that to the state and national level to meet the needs of the people we’re here to serve. It’s an ever-challenging field where there is a lot of strategy involved, compromise involved. … It’s an ongoing effort that we’re trying to serve, ultimately, the people we’re called to serve.”