A Closer Look at Our AF4Q Leaders

While Robert J. Woods (aka Bob Woods) isn’t originally from York, Pa., he and the organization that he leads have certainly made an impact on the lives of many in this area. A former Michigan resident, Bob Woods continues to serve as executive director of the United Way of York, and as one of several community leaders involved with Aligning Forces for Quality – South Central PA.

One of the questions asked during each AF4Q leader interview is “Why are you and your organization involved with AF4Q?” Bob indicated there are a few reasons, starting with how much AF4Q aligns with United Way’s priorities for funding in the focus areas of education, income and health.

“AF4Q aligns well with the mission of the United Way, which is to improve people’s lives by building a strong community through cultivating financial generosity, volunteerism and civic engagement. United Way also offers AF4Q the ability to serve as a facilitator. Through our partnerships, diverse board of directors and committees, United Way can spread information about quality health care, and what’s happening within our own community. Finally, in collaboration with its partner agencies, United Way funding may be used as matching funds for AF4Q programming,” he explained.

As chair of the Healthy York County Coalition, of which AF4Q is an initiative, and advocate for AF4Q’s Employer Work Group, Woods feels AF4Q is a real benefit to the community. “It’s a coordinated effort to improve health care quality, accountability and transparency. It’s a chance for consumers to become more involved in the decision-making for their health care, and the payment of it. AF4Q is positioning York and Adams counties to be ahead of most communities in helping consumers make better decisions.”

However, in Woods' eyes, consumers aren’t the only ones who need to participate in decision-making. Business leaders need to work together with providers, especially when looking at the areas surrounding costs.

Woods hopes he can play a role in convening groups around the issues of quality and cost. “I’m involved with AF4Q on a personal basis because the health care system cannot be expected to improve quality and costs without the active involvement of community stakeholders (business, government, education, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and other sectors). Providing quality health care at a reasonable cost is one of the biggest challenges we face. Our current model cannot be sustained. Through efforts like AF4Q, best practices and other options can be explored and implemented on a local basis,” he said.

While there’s room to expand our efforts, lots of changes have been implemented. “It’s been gratifying to actually experience the impact of changes brought by AF4Q,” Woods added.

He went on to explain that recently, he visited his primary care physician for a physical, and following the appointment, he received a written summary of the session. This initiated an experience that he had not had in the past. He asked additional questions, and became engaged with his physician. He implemented what AF4Q is teaching, and he experienced patient empowerment firsthand.
A few fun facts about Bob:
When Bob isn’t working or advocating for AF4Q, what is he doing?
He enjoys being with his wife and son, working around the house, reading, spending time outdoors, or catching a hockey game – on television or even live.

If Bob wasn’t serving as Executive Director, what would he be doing?
A high school teacher!

What does Bob love about his job?
While he loves that he can be involved in almost every aspect of United Way, he also loves being part of an organization that is making a difference. This is one of the best things about his job.

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