Thursday, December 31, 2009

Welcoming a new year...

"And now let us welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke


It’s an exciting time to work in a safety net hospital. We are privileged to serve the residents of Contra Costa County and it is my privilege to work with all of you. This year Contra Costa Regional Medical (CCRMC) begins a three-year planned cycle of ongoing quality improvement using a number of new approaches. CCRMC has seen promising results in clinical system performance with our initial redesign efforts. We are now well into the next phase of system redesign and performance improvement using leadership systems and tools like ‘systems engineering’ and ‘lean management’ to accelerate the transformation of our health system.

Fulfillment of our mission is a dynamic and ongoing process. In order to “do common things uncommonly well,” we need objective information to support us. The heart of the work ahead must focus not only on science, but also on action. Quality must be at the heart of all operations. Our efforts must be directed toward specific areas of work to assure no needless pain or suffering, no helplessness in those served or serving, no unwanted waiting, no waste and no one is left out.

Currently, health care makes up about 17% of our nation's gross domestic product (GDP) and is climbing at a steady and unsustainable rate. In America, we hear daily debates about bailouts, stimulus packages and health reform. Although the solutions are still in the development phase, it’s clear we will change course nationally and we must do the same here at the local level. Our mission is being challenged by the current economic downturn. The number of people who are struggling to meet their most basic needs is increasing in our community. It’s during these difficult times when safety net hospitals are called on to stretch already tight resources making quality, evidence-based practice, teamwork and communication the keys to success.

The debate will continue in our nation’s capital about what reform legislation will look like. Yet it is here, at the local level, that the actual impact of health reform will be determined. Just as an individual's experience of our system is determined at the point of care delivery and not in a conference room, health reform will be realized at the local level, not far away in the halls of Congress.

Together, in partnership with those we serve, we will continue to provide quality care to all people in Contra Costa County with special attention to those who are most vulnerable to health problems. We recognize and stand ready to embrace our responsibility to engage as active members of America’s Health Care Safety Net and as participants in the nation’s movement toward health for all.

Now let us welcome the new year.


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