California’s health care system thrives and survives thanks to the diversity of not just the people who deliver care, but also of the different organizational structures that enable those individuals to serve their patients and communities safely and efficiently.
One type of these organizational structures – integrated health systems – has a long history of saving lives, preserving access to care, and lowering costs for Californians.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals were struggling with scarce resources, like personal protective equipment, medical devices like ventilators, physical space to house patients, and staff to treat them. Integrated hospital systems, by nature of their structure, were able to rapidly transfer resources among facilities as needed and were able to accept patients from hotspots that were overwhelmed by the virus.
Integrated systems have many other benefits: they enable people to avoid redundant tests, receive care closer to home, access specialized services such as organ transplants and trauma care, and benefit from advanced clinical expertise. They also ensure that struggling hospitals can remain open, access resources necessary to comply with costly regulations, pay for new technology that improves patient safety and the quality of care, and support outreach programs that keep people healthy and active.