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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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John Muir-San Ramon hospitals invade ValleyCare's home turf

Uploaded: Feb 6, 2014
The announcement this week that the John Muir Medical Systems-San Ramon Regional Hospital joint venture has purchased an office building in Pleasanton further roils an already challenging health care market.
ValleyCare Medical System has served the Livermore Valley for more than 50 years, existing side-by-side with the Kaiser system throughout its history. ValleyCare operates its hospital in Pleasanton as well as urgent care and outpatient surgery centers on the original campus in Livermore. Kaiser has physician offices in Pleasanton and Livermore and opened a new center in San Ramon last week.
In recent years, ValleyCare opened its second urgent care center in Dublin. It shares a building with the Palo Alto Medical foundation.
The Palo Alto group, the physician affiliate of the Sutter Health System, has offices in building owned by the Eden Township Healthcare District on Tassajara Road. Sutter has operated the Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley since 1997, taking over the district hospital that was built in 1948.
The John Muir-San Ramon Regional partnership spent about $19 million for the vacant building at 5860 Owens Drive. Spokesmen said the partnership plans to have an urgent care center there as well as offices for primary care physicians and some specialists. The non-profit John Muir bought a 49 percent stake in San Ramon Regional, owned by for-profit Tenet Health Care, in 2013 for $100 million.
When the building is opened next year, it will mean two urgent care centers (ValleyCare's in Dublin and the Muir-San Ramon Regional) less than a mile apart with the main ValleyCare hospital between them.
Its part of the scramble by hospitals to develop vertically integrated systems similar to what Kaiser has offered for years to cope with the demands of Obama Care, which will reduce reimbursements to hospitals.
ValleyCare CEO Marcy Feit saw the trend coming five years ago and started to set up the hospital's own physicians' group to partner with the hospital. The foundation now has some of the best physicians in the valley in its network.
Feit also has reached out and built excellent partnerships with the University of California San Francisco's Medical Center for specialty care for infants and children; and with UC Davis for cancer treatment. Cancer patients who once had to leave the valley for chemo and radiation treatments can now be treated locally.
USCF provides the clinical staff for the neonatal intensive care unit at ValleyCare that allows infants needing that level of care to remain here. That partnership potentially got even better last month when the Benioff Children's Hospital (UCSF) and Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland (Children's Oakland) formalized their partnership.
The latest move by Muir-San Ramon demonstrates just how competitive it will be for medical care providers as everyone strives to adjust to the demands of ObamaCare.
Here's hoping that a much better solution comes out of changes in Congress and the White House over the next three years.

Comments

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Tim,

This may be because of the way medical insurance is handled in each state. Not all insurance providers are available in each state.

Humana has been expanding in California. Right now it is primarily for Medicare and their programs are very good for seniors. I wrote about it in one of my blogs last year. Web Link

Humana has an HMO with John Muir, but they wanted coverage in San Ramon so Muir affiliated with San Ramon Regional Medical Center. It appears they are spreading out into Alameda County. That's a good thing. It might hurt Valley Care but it will also provide more options for residents at better prices.

Considering that medical costs are controlled by insurance companies now, the bigger the company the more the clout. Humana has plenty of clout. That's the purpose of Obamacare. I don't like the way it was designed, and it certainly could and should be improved, but it is necessary to control high medical costs.

I would have prefered Medicare for all. Right now Humana plans in California are only for Medicare. But with the aging population, more and more people are qualifying for Medicare anyway. It's big business.

Obama didn't want "Socialist" medicine, which Obamacare isn't, but Medicare for all would be. I'm not an Obama fan, but he's definitely NOT a Socialist.

Roz


Posted by Debby Wright, a resident of Dublin,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I just heard that the the CEO of Valley Care Medical Centers was let go. And the reason behind this is that they are being bought by Sutter.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Feb 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

I have read the blog posting three times and can not find any accusation by Tim that Obama is a socialist. Yet Roz decided it was necessary to respond and defend him against this charge. Is that the general conclusion people are coming to?

Instead, I read this as a very informative article about how local healthcare providers are reacting and reorganizing based on recent changes to federal law. Whatever that law means on any given day.


Posted by San Ramon Oberver, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 1:09 am

San Ramon Oberver is a registered user.

I didn't say Tim said Obama is a Socialist. I said Obamacare is not Socialist medicine like Medicare. I prefer Medicare.

Obamacare gives more power to insurance companies and that will result in changes to the medical industry in California, which is what Tim's article is about.

Roz

PS I wasn't defending Obama for not being a Socialist. I was criticizing him.


Posted by resident, a resident of Bonde Ranch,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 6:11 am

Tim -

Marcy refused to get along with anyone and ran ValleyCare into the ground It is bankrupt. She refused to cut her own salary, yet slashed the salary of her employees. The foundation loses millions of dollars per year. She needed to go. Affiliations with Stanford, Children's Hospital, etc have all failed because of her autocratic style. The tri-valley is better off without her.


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 9:03 am

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Hoping that someone can help us understand comments from Roz. The double negatives and the many "nots" are confusing. There seem to be several conflicting ideas in a single post. What is she in favor of?

She tells us:

- Competition leads to better pricing for medical services and that is a good thing. (This would be free market capitalism.)

- The purpose of Obamacare is to give insurance companies more clout and is necessary to control medical costs. Here she seems to be in favor of limiting competition, strengthening a few large companies. This would be more in the realm of the type of socialism practiced in Europe and perhaps with some crony capitalism added for good measure.

- She likes Medicare which she says is a socialist concept.

- For unknown reasons she then wants to tell us that Obama is NOT a socialist. (No such statement was made in this blog or in the responses.)


Posted by Doug Miller, a resident of Country Fair,
on Feb 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Doug Miller is a registered user.

Well Tim, your "brother blogger", as he calls himself, has decided to take on your blogs on his blog site. He has done this twice in the past week. He must think your topics are more interesting than his own. Some brother!


Posted by Long term valleycare affiliate, a resident of Vineyard Avenue,
on Feb 8, 2014 at 10:06 am

Web Link

Dear Tim,
Please look at the facts to explore further, perhaps interviewing different employees and staff from valleycare INSTEAD OF putting all words and phases directly received from Valleycare public relationship department.
Health care is changing drastically in local, regional and national levels and Board of directors of valleycare has been trying to evolve with the changes but has been "heavily-handled, handpicked and manipulated" by CEO Marcy Feit over last decades. It is now financially non-sustainable state independently and on the edge of outside financial help/affiliation to continue to survive.

Following are facts to be discovered by interviewing with Board of directors, employees of valleycare, different long-experienced independent and hospital owned physicians serving the area longer than Mrs Feit's era of CEO since 1997. Perhaps the sequel or Part 2 of above article ?
(1) Financial state of Valleycare hospital before forming valleycare foundation medical group (i.e buying physicians as employees) and current financial state. Financial sustainability of Valleycare Hospital and ValleyCare foundation medical group now.
(2) Actual rather than perceived impact of Valleycare foundation Medical Group on employees and hospital outpatient services which led to current financial state. It divided physicians into hospital-owned employee physicians and independent physicians who were treated very unfairly and discriminatively. It invited and helped growing of more competitions such as San Ramon/John Muir and Palo Alto and Kaiser. Many physicians left valleycare to work for PAMF/Sutter and referred outpatient services to San Ramon/Muir owned facility such as Pleasanton Imaging, and others such as Norcal and Quest Diagnostics etc.
(3) HOW AND WHY board of directors allowed and rewarded Marcy Feit, CEO with more than market compensations over years (compared to similar-sized hospitals) while hospital financial situation is in jeopardy? SEE ATTACHED FROM 2011 ARTICLE FROM CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Web Link
(4) What is the "ACTUAL REASON" for letting go Marcy Feit, who has been in the organization for about 42 years and was CEO the past 17? Just a short memo from the board to approximately 1,400 corporate members of the private nonprofit health system, members who have each donated $1,000 or more to the nonprofit? DON'T WE ALL DESERVED TO KNOW MORE Mr John Sensiba, chairman of board?


Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 10, 2014 at 8:32 am

We are living smack in the middle of a time when healthcare and medical insurance AND Medicare is changing "left and right" - hard to keep up! KP opened their office in SR in November and though a member, I'm retaining my own doctor in Pleasanton. I am very supportive of the great emergency clinic across the street from the new KP/SR of John Muir. Absolutely essential and great cooperative tie with SR Regional. There is no question a certain amount of competitiveness is essential. The area populations can handle it I surmise. Though we needed Obamacare (-just a question of how it all came down) We all knew? Whatever MASSIVE change needed to occur, that it would take a decade to work out the kinks and true to form, and so it is (-and there are MANY) None of the occurrences cited above are a surprise or unexpected. At least? By some of us...


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