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By Tim Hunt

Thankful season for ValleyCare

Uploaded: Nov 25, 2014

The Valley Care Health System Board of Directors and senior leadership will be particularly thankful during this season.
The 50-year-old system, founded by community members who invested their funds in the original Livermore hospital, will cease to formally exist assuming its takeover by Stanford Medical is blessed by the state attorney general's office. That should b e a mere formality because health care systems across the country are scrambling to deal effectively with the brave new world of ObamaCare.
Integrated systems such as Kaiser are seen as the best model to deal with the effects of ObamaCare so hospitals are scrambling to build affiliations. ValleyCare, which had lost money five years in a row with a deficit of $5 million in one year, sought partners and Stanford was determined to be the best fit.
The membership's overwhelming approval that was announced last week should be the last major hurdle.
What the board and executive leadership have sought to do is ensure that the valley will continue to receive excellent medical care. The agreement gives Stanford a huge majority on the new board, but there are actions that can only be undertaken with the approval of the three ValleyCare-appointed members. The ValleyCare mix of patients (plenty of Medicare and privately ensured) made it a very desirable partner despite the financial losses.
Stanford will invest at least $50 million into ValleyCare (big ticket items such as digital medical records?a staple of efficiency at Kaiser) to equip the facilities to serve patients well.
ValleyCare pioneered a number of innovative methods of providing services such as nurses on site at Las Positas to provide health screenings and care as well as a nurse practioneer at Wal-Mart in Livermore. The Rotarian Foundation of Livermore bought and equipped a mobile health van just at the dawn of the digital age that offered digital consultation with physicians and specialists.
ValleyCare has suspended the service and is looking for an economically viable model to resume operations.
My daughter, home on a break from a long term mission trip, utilized the Walmart Livermore clinic and was quite pleased with the experience. It has since been closed. There's a bit of irony?the pioneering ValleyCare/Walmart effort in Livermore has been expanded by Walmart into other markets and Target now has launched a similar effort in some markets.


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