Getting to Know: Randall (Randy) Rutta, Chief Executive Officer
Following is a Q&A to get to know Randall (Randy) Rutta, the National Health Council’s (NHC’s) new Chief Executive Officer who began working with us in mid-February.
Putting Patients First (PPF) Blog: Why did you want to lead the NHC as its new Chief Executive Officer?
Understanding that millions of people struggle every day to access the care they need to lead full, healthy, and productive lives, I am inspired by the NHC’s frontline advocacy for putting patients first in all aspects of health policymaking and practice. Joining the NHC in this role enables me to contribute my skills and experience to resolving the most persistent problems facing patients today.
PPF Blog: As the Chief Executive Officer, you will provide the NHC’s team with strategic direction for both new and ongoing NHC projects. What is your vision to move the organization forward?
My vision for the NHC is to focus the team’s significant talent on projects that are bold, transformational, and actionable to achieve real and sustainable improvement in both health policy and care that directly benefits patients, their families, and communities. This vision, shaped by extensive and ongoing input from the NHC Board, membership, and stakeholders, embraces strategies for assuring patient engagement, access, affordability, equity, outcomes, and innovation.
PPF Blog: What makes the NHC different from other organizations in the health ecosystem?
The National Health Council is uniquely positioned to advance the engagement, influence, and experience of patients in key areas that affect their health access and outcomes. For more than 100 years, the NHC’s membership of leading patient-centered groups and stakeholders assure that people with chronic diseases and disabilities are at the center for decisions in health care that ultimately impact their health and their lives. The NHC provides a focal point for understanding, problem-solving, capacity-building, and advocacy that is informed and advanced by its membership and valued by decision-makers as patient-centric and sound.
PPF Blog: How do you think your past experiences will help you lead the NHC in its ongoing efforts to increase access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care for all?
My career, dedicated to helping vulnerable people access the health care that they need through public policy, hands-on care, and the development and delivery of community-based services, has given me the education and skills essential to supporting the NHC’s next chapter of mission-driven impact. I was privileged to take part in pioneering policy-to-practice initiatives that advanced civil rights for people with disabilities and safety-net health care for children, low-income individuals, and the elderly. I know that by working together the NHC’s membership and partners can create pathways to increase access to affordable, high-value, sustainable health care for all. Collaboration, consensus, and courage across the spectrum of health care will deliver dividends for patients and society.
PPF Blog: As the former President and CEO of an NHC member, the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, how to you think that insight into NHC member relations will influence your engagement with the NHC’s diverse membership?
As a former executive of more than one NHC member organization, I cannot overstate the NHC’s value in supporting the success its members’ mission impact, advocacy, and organizational excellence. I will listen attentively to our membership to understand exactly how the NHC can advance their individual and collective goals. And I plan to foster engagement in NHC’s governance, advocacy, research, and programs to promote mutual benefit and synergy in tackling challenges facing patients and the health care system. I will chart a course that embraces consensus and alignment among our diverse membership to leverage best thinking and collaboration, while considering potentially disruptive strategies that ultimately yield optimal benefits for patient health and health ecosystem sustainability and innovation.
PPF Blog: What is your top priority for the NHC this year?
My top priority is to advance the NHC’s leading goals for health care reform that yield significant, meaningful, and measurable improvement for patients – to move the needle in ways that are important and recognizable to patients and those around them. Gaps in equity, access, and affordability facing patients require the ground-breaking leadership strategies that the NHC is uniquely equipped to advance. Concurrently, the NHC is challenged to support patients, members, and the broader health ecosystem in navigating the ongoing COVID pandemic in support of patient and population health, the resiliency and strength of membership, and a new and better normal for America’s health care system.
PPF Blog: Tell us something about you and your interests.
Beyond my passion for health care, I enjoy hiking and bicycling – especially in the desert Southwest. I enjoy being in nature, spending time gardening and landscaping, which, with an accompanying interest in architecture, means that I am often in the midst of a home or yard project. And, in contrast to the past 14 months of COVID-lockdown, I enjoy traveling in-country and abroad, with a particular affinity for the history, cultures, cuisines, and climate across the Mediterranean region.