Friday, August 20, 2010

Upcoming changes in our system

Posted by Tess O'Riva, CCRMC Communications Director

In last Monday's message to staff , Dr. William Walker, Health Services Director, described some of the ways he is preparing Health Services to best meet the challenges and opportunities within Health Care Reform.

His message is below.
"In recent Director’s Report messages, I described what health reform under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the California Medi-Cal waiver means to Health Services and the patients we serve. As provisions of the Act and new requirements of the waiver – a bridge to health reform’s complete roll-out – are unveiling, I continue to realize that in order to prepare ourselves to meet the challenges that are before us now and into 2014, significant changes in our system, particularly the service delivery side of our organization and our leadership structure, must begin.

The new legislation offers many opportunities for demonstration projects and pilot programs, which would be well suited to our system. There are also new requirements and incentives for integration across our various Divisions. With this in mind, I have asked Dianne Dunn-Bowie to move to a new role as Executive Director, Health Services Integration and Governmental Relations. Dianne, with her many years of experience in all aspects of health care, will help us to strengthen key political relationships, build new community partnerships and develop new models of service integration.

We must move quickly to seamless and safe handoffs of patient care between our inpatient and outpatient systems. We must improve access to primary care and specialty services and develop more effective interactions between inpatient and outpatient staff. We must develop improved case management and care coordination functions. I have concluded that this will not happen within the current structure of separate Divisions. I am therefore combining Ambulatory Care and the Medical Center into a single Division under CEO Anna Roth effective September 1, 2010.

This past year has been an unprecedented year of change at CCRMC. In the last twelve months all but one executive leadership position has turned over as leaders retired after a long and rewarding career at CCHS. Several months ago, CCRMC CEO Anna Roth began redesigning a number of her departments, including safety and performance improvement, professional development, detention health and emergency services, behavioral health, perioperative services, and inpatient medicine. In addition to the ongoing operational redesign efforts, Anna has introduced initiatives to build internal capacity to grow and continually improve.

Also on September 1, 2010, Dr. Chris Farnitano, Chair of our Family Medicine Department, will move into a management Medical Director position with primary responsibility for leading the development of new models of team-based care, patient-centered medical homes, improved patient flow and timely access to outpatient care. Our goal is to be a national model for improved chronic disease benchmarks. Dr. Farnitano will also be intimately involved in the system changes necessary for the installation of our Electronic Medical Record over the next couple of years. We are also currently recruiting to hire a Chief Operations Officer for the Hospital and Health Centers. Reporting relationships for this new structure are now being developed.

In the weeks, months and years ahead we have much work to do. As we continue to learn more about the specifics of health reform, I anticipate that there will be additional restructuring. Some of our efforts will be successful and others will need to be tweaked or rethought. This will be an exciting time for all of us.

The dedication we have to serving the community and to supporting each other makes us a model for the new American system of health care. We have made great strides over the past decades to develop a system that puts the patient/consumer/client first and provides the kind of services that care for the whole patient. I believe that with the dedication and commitment of all of you, we will successfully make the system changes necessary and meet the challenges that are before us."

Putting Contra Costa Health Services at the forefront of Health Care Reform is both exciting and inspiring. I share Dr. Walker's belief that our system is poised to change the way health care is delivered and be a model for the nation, not only because of our unique structure, but because of the people we work with. I can't wait!

Tess O'Riva

CCRMC Communications Director

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