Amid the grand legislative battles that play out at the Capitol, along with other street fights like those over public ballot initiatives, it’s important to take a moment to call attention to the quiet, steady, and often unheralded work that goes on to help hospitals.
A fair amount of this work is related to regulatory bodies, like the California Department of Public Health, an agency hospitals have expressed frustration over due to what has felt like inconsistent interpretation and application of state rules.
That’s why we’re grateful for two occasions last month that we hope will herald a different working relationship between hospitals and the department. On Nov. 19 in Sacramento and on Nov. 21 in Pasadena, we facilitated two programs where hospital leaders had the opportunity to connect directly with regulators — to share concerns and collaborate on ideas that could improve effectiveness and efficiency.
This was the first time such meetings were held.
In all, nearly 400 hospital representatives attended, along with nearly 100 regulators from CDPH and its district offices.
A few key takeaways:
- Heidi Steinecker, CDPH’s new deputy director, Center for Health Care Quality, deserves credit for bringing a fresh approach to the department in the hopes of creating statewide uniformity, reducing redundancy, and working more efficiently with hospitals. She wants input from hospitals and welcomes texts or calls on her cell phone at (916) 502-3773.
- In at least one district, CDPH seems willing to schedule visits to hospitals for facility-reported incidents — to minimize disruption to patient care resulting from unannounced visits.
- Breakout sessions revealed many inconsistencies and concerns related to CDPH’s survey process; we will be working closely with the department to develop a more streamlined approach.
These inaugural two meetings were just the beginning. We intend to hold more, with agencies such as the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development and the State Board of Pharmacy, so processes and interactions can be improved across multiple regulatory bodies.
Here’s why: We know this work will never dominate headlines like seismic safety compliance, or independent contractor laws, but it’s invaluable because it helps you focus more of your staff’s limited time in the right place — on the patients and communities entrusted to you.
— Carmela, Bryan, George, Dimitrios