Now more than ever we need people who are from medicine in elected office. We need to elect doctors, nurses and physician assistants. We need people who have been on the front lines clinically caring for patients, dealing with the important issues of our day and fighting for your health and welfare. They alone know this complex healthcare system inside and out.

Providers are crisis managers, skilled in decision making, depending on science, never relying on gossip or myth. Accountants, administrators and managers will not solve our problems. They only seek to confound and use the healthcare system to their advantage. They have tried to turn healthcare into a business with profits and large CEO salaries. They have failed. Patients ultimately pay the price. During this Covid-19 pandemic we have seen how deeply broken our system is.

Providers have many skills. They can think fast on their feet, they collaborate very well and they move deliberately towards a solution that is based only in science and fact. Clinicians have always worked as a team to get things done. Working in the legislature is teamwork and collaboration. Who better than a provider as a legislator, a team player who gets results?
They are innovative and keep trying even when others say "it can't be done". They know the need to keep trying because the only other option could lead to death or disability. They are very persistent and very resourceful.

We need these qualities in our law makers. Resourcefulness, teamwork, innovation, crisis managers, scientists. Who can argue with this? Healthcare has become intricate and complex. Those not of the system can't begin to comprehend this complexity. Lobbyists cannot do enough education. Those not of this field can only wonder in amazement how our medical experts keep so much information in their brains, acting swiftly and assuredly when necessary. They do it without thinking. It becomes second nature. It is a part of them.

Those in government say they understand and will work towards a better healthcare future. But they are not providers and they only barely comprehend what needs to be accomplished. We must heal and fix a system that is broken beyond belief. No other group but providers can fully understand the how and why. They have been in the middle, tossed and turned for decades.

Healthcare providers have this. Legislators who are clinicians can explain healthcare and where it gets tangled up, to non-healthcare people. Legislators with clinical backgrounds have the expertise to lead during emergencies. They will be calm in the storm. They will be steady and bold. We need them now more than ever on the inside. They are the change we need to make things better for everyone.

Written by Sharon Girard, PA-C emeritus, a candidate for the Arizona State House.