Back Button
Menu Button

Heartland Health Research Institute
‘Pivoting’ Forward

HHRI-215For those of you who are not familiar with my past, I have spent over 30 years in the employee benefits arena, specifically concentrating on employer-sponsored health coverage. A good portion of that time, from 1995 – 2011, I owned and operated a benefits consulting organization designed to educate and assist employers in making benefits decisions based on their workplace culture (and budget). In 1999, we began our annual “Iowa Employer Benefits Study©,” which is now entering its 18th year.

Due primarily to its impact on employer-sponsored health coverage, I developed a great deal of interest in learning more about the many aspects of our healthcare ‘system,’ – the good, the bad, and, well you know, the ugly. You might say that I fell into a ‘deep well’ of curiosity and continue my descent to the endless unknown. If there is one constant artifact that I can humbly share, at least in the healthcare realm, the more I learn, it seems THE LESS I KNOW!

Healthcare is a labyrinth of human behaviors at many levels and is extremely complex at any given level. In fact, when politicians, media and others talk about ‘healthcare,’ what level are they actually addressing? Are they referring to having access to various health services? Obtaining health insurance coverage? Physically interacting with medical providers? Maybe it’s our diet, or whether we engage in physical activities, such as exercise? One word can mean different things. And, so it is with ‘healthcare.’

Regardless of how we might personally feel about the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it is here to stay. Or at least, it has forced this country to develop new ‘dialogues’ about how our healthcare ‘system’ must look and behave in the future. This dialogue, as difficult and messy as it is, will hopefully provide promising results in the years ahead. Have no doubt, it will be a slow and arduous process.

With this in mind, I have gradually pivoted into healthcare-related research. With this latest pivot, Heartland Health Research Institute (HHRI), an organization we started in 2012, has now become a non-profit organization with the vision to advance the transparency of facts through objective research. In short, HHRI’s intent is to help transform healthcare into high-value care, specifically from the patient’s perspective regarding their confidence and trust in the healthcare system today and into the future.

Over the last number of years, I have identified a need for an independent organization that will strictly function in an objective and unbiased manner and not as an advocate or opponent of any position. HHRI is organized as a public benefit 501(c)(3) corporation that seeks grant-based awards from public and private foundations to conduct research to serve the public on health-related topics. To help fulfill our vision, HHRI desires to collaborate with other organizations to coordinate our efforts.

Topics addressed by HHRI in the future may include the following:

  • Community-Focused Health Projects
  • Healthcare Quality and Safety
  • Patient Engagement & Activation
  • End-of-Life Care
  • Employment-Based Health Benefits & the Value of Coverage
  • Population-based Health and Environmental Issues
  • Attitudes toward Healthcare Reform
  • Other Tangential Issues

So what is HHRI’s newest healthcare-related project? Last week, we unveiled a family of ‘Silently Harmed’ white papers for Iowa and each of its six neighboring states along with our new HHRI website. We look forward to taking this new pivot into the vast unknown!

To stay abreast of employee benefits and other tangential issues, we invite you to subscribe to our blog.


  1. This is great news!! I’m really looking forward to what comes out of the HHRI in the future. This idea has wonderful potential for those of us on the frontlines of healthcare benefits.

Join the Conversation