Saturday, December 1, 2012

On the front lines of making health reform a reality

As an integrated health system we are uniquely poised to implement health reform and it is exciting to be part of the transformation of health care in America. A recent story in the Contra Costa Times and San Jose Mercury News on our FamilyPractice Residency Program illustrates just one of the many ways we are helping make this transformation possible.

With health reform, an increased demand for just the type of doctors we train will rise dramatically. Our program, which trains residents to become multi-talented family physicians, has been recognized nationally for years. It attracts more than 700 applicants every year, eager to be considered for one of our 14 positions. Most of our residents - who come from across the country - stay in Contra Costa to practice medicine here. The success of the program is a credit to the amazing work of our doctors and staff who oversee the training of the residents.  

I’m always inspired by the dedication of our residents. The financial pressure to become a specialist is immense these days, yet our residents eagerly choose to be trained as family doctors in a safety-net health system. Why do they make that choice? As one of our residents explains in her profile on our program webpage, “I wanted to learn how to take care of patients, not just hearts or hernias or kidneys. I decided to come to Martinez for the people.”  

Her comment epitomizes who we are and what we do here. Health care delivery is more than treating an illness, injury or virus. The best health care involves ongoing relationships between patients and their providers and care team. In our system, we have many physicians– including Contra Costa Health Services Director Dr. William Walker – who have cared for the same patients for decades. 

It makes me proud to work in a patient-centered health system that is often called a model for health reform. But what makes me the most proud are the people who make our system work – they are the ones making health reform a reality.   

More very soon,