Sunday, October 23, 2011

"No one left out"

I thought some of you may like to read this Contra Costa Times article, Public hospitals carry burden of charity care despite big tax breaks for nonprofits. The article examines the distribution of care provided for people who are under-insured or uninsured in our region. For those who have followed the cantankerous discussion around Contra Costa Regional Medical Center and whether we need such a hospital in our community, I think you will find it worth the read.

"In Contra Costa, the county hospital alone accounted for more than 75 percent of the countywide charity care total in 2010." Sandy Kleffman, Contra Costa Times

Click on the images to enlarge
Image Source: Bay Area News Group

Many people continue to have a limited understanding of the essential role public hospitals and health systems. California ’s 19 public hospital systems make up the core of the state’s medical safety net – delivering care to all who need it, regardless of ability to pay or insurance status.

Though just 6% of all California hospitals statewide, public hospitals:
• Serve 2.5 million Californians each year
• Are located in counties where 81% of all Californians reside
• Deliver 10 million outpatient visits per year
• Operate more than half of the top-level trauma centers
• Operate almost half of the state’s burn centers
• Are teaching hospitals, training 43% of new doctors in the state
• Provide nearly half of all hospital care to the state’s 6.7 million uninsured (in some regions like Contra Costa County it's even greater than half)
• Provide 69% of their care to patients who receive Medi-Cal benefits or are uninsured; all other hospitals together provide 25% of their care to this population
• Deliver 30% of the state's inpatient care to the Medi-Cal population
• Serve a diverse patient population that is 48% Hispanic/Latino, 29% White, 12.5% Black, 6.5% Asian and 3.9% Other

Although there are many differing perspectives, we all look to the future of health care in our nation with great hope. For me, my hopes for our nation's health care system, and for our community, are summarized in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement's (IHI) "No Needless List":
• No needless deaths
• No needless pain or suffering
• No helplessness in those served or serving
• No unwanted waiting
• No waste
• No one left out

...No one.

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