As the Daughters of Charity hospitals consider their newest suitor, Blue Mountain Capital, we must not lose sight of the critical function healthcare partnerships play in creating and sustaining a healthcare safety net for underserved populations.
A good example is the alliance between Santa Clara County’s Valley Medical Center (VMC) and our non-profit Community Health Centers (CHCs), who share a philosophy and commitment to improve the health of our communities. Since 1993, we have been in formal partnership with VMC, developing an effective healthcare system that includes a range of primary care, in-patient, rehabilitation, urgent and emergency care as well as ancillary services. This translates into access to the full range of medical and preventive services by our most vulnerable populations, including the working middle class.
VMC and CHCs have developed a partnership that leads the state in effective healthcare collaboration. Together, we are in the midst of implementing key components of the Affordable Care Act, including increase in healthcare coverage, access to primary care, and reducing costs.
In order to accommodate the increase in demand for primary care, VMC once again has looked at CHCs to help develop creative strategies. These have resulted in an increase in primary care access through projects such as e-consult for specialty care, data exchange, and health coaching for patients with chronic diseases. This means that 62,000 previously uninsured persons now have MediCal as their healthcare coverage program and thus able to seek preventive and medical treatment at little or no cost to our county coffers.
CHC and VMC leadership are on a path to create a System of Care that responds to all residents of Santa Clara County. Let’s continue to build on this momentum and experience. Better yet, let’s continue to lead in the spirit of the Affordable Care Act by increasing the capacity of our healthcare system for the safety-net population of our region!