“Our affiliation with an academic medical center allowed us to bring nationally ranked programs to our South Bay community. Our patients have benefited from our ability to offer a spectrum of advanced procedures that were never previously available in our market and to provide a more advanced level of care within the community.”– Craig Leach, President & CEO, Torrance Memorial Medical Center
Integrated hospital systems often help bring innovative, state-of-the-art medical care to communities throughout California. Patients who need specialized care — cancer treatment, cardiac care, or organ transplants — often can be cared for closer to home when doctors, hospitals, and caregivers are all part of one integrated delivery system. Consider these case studies, detailed in a new report from national health care consulting firm Kaufman Hall:
In Los Angeles
Since Cedars-Sinai and Torrance Memorial Medical finalized their affiliation in 2018, patients have benefited from greater access to specialty services and a higher level of care at Torrance Memorial. The affiliation has enabled Torrance to achieve comprehensive stroke center designation and expand capabilities in thoracic surgery, cardiovascular surgery, cancer, and clinical trials.
In the East Bay
Integration can produce significant improvement in the services financially struggling hospitals can provide to their communities. When ValleyCare Health System, a community-owned, single-hospital health system in the East Bay found itself in need of a capital partner, it found that partner in Stanford Health Care — and the partnership was approved by 97% of ValleyCare’s community owners. The resulting turnaround has been dramatic: Stanford ValleyCare was able to enhance the medical expertise of its clinical staff and introduce new service lines, including a stroke program that has now developed into a center of excellence.
In Mendocino County
In March 2020, 92% of voters in Mendocino County approved a partnership between a local public hospital — Mendocino Coast District Hospital — and the Adventist Health system. The critical access hospital was facing a rocky financial future, and Adventist’s deep experience operating rural hospitals helped to ensure the residents of the northern California coast could continue to get the health care services they need close to home. The partnership is benefiting both patients and the community:
Health care services are being kept local, a stark change from a time when residents were driving as far as 70 miles away for care
New specialties have been made available, including orthopedic, gastrointestinal, and cardiac care; residents now have access to 32 newly recruited physicians
Travel nurses have been replaced with permanent, locally hired nurses, providing a boost not only to health care services, but also to the local economy of a struggling region
In Sonoma County
In November 2020, 85% of voters in Sonoma County approved the sale of Petaluma Valley Hospital to Providence St. Joseph Health. The hospital had struggled for years with limited funding and was in dire need of infrastructure repairs; without action, the hospital could have faced closure. Now, nearly 400 employees who faced an uncertain future have been provided with stability and job security, and needed hospital infrastructure repair — including millions of dollars for seismic compliance — can begin.
In South Central Los Angeles
Long-struggling St. Francis Medical Center in south central Los Angeles received a much-needed lifeline with its purchase by Prime Healthcare in 2020. Through a focus on local hiring, Prime Healthcare has been able to stabilize jobs for 2,000 St. Francis employees, and patients have benefited as well. St. Francis has expanded its behavioral health capacity by 60%, enhanced its cardiology and radiation oncology services through new clinical capabilities, and, through new partnerships with Children’s Hospital of Orange County and UC Irvine Health, brought neonatal clinicians to residents of Lynwood and the surrounding neighborhoods, keeping patients closer to home and improving maternal health in the communities St. Francis serves.