Health care is going through its most rewarding and challenging times since the creation of the Medicaid (Medi Cal) and Medicare programs in the 1960s. These changes bring the stimulation, excitement and opportunity I look forward to each day at SFCCC.
It is impossible to imagine a time in our history with such an opportunity to embrace change; to partner with our patients and communities; to make historic changes in diabetes & heart disease; and to create systems of care that enhance patient experience. Working with a dynamic staff, an energized board of directors, and a dedicated partnership of nine community-based, nonprofit community health centers is an experience of a lifetime! Creating new programs that involve team-based care, cutting-edge technology, and a patient-centered approach to care all combine to improve our patients’ health and experience of care. This makes my days stimulating and my job rewarding.
Over ten years ago, SFCCC joined the nation in embracing the Triple Aim of health care: 1) better health for individuals; 2) better health for communities; and 3) greater value for health care spending. Today, I am happy to report that SFCCC are achieving these national goals. In the past three years we have seen more diabetic patients with their diabetes under control. Persons with HIV/AIDS are living longer and healthier lives, thanks to advances in care management. Technological developments have expanded the availability of e-consults for specialty care and consultations, allowing primary care providers and specialists to determine treatment plans while saving time and effort – for themselves and patients – while allowing for more timely access to care for those most in need. People experiencing homelessness are being connected to and enrolled in health homes, thanks in part to SFCCC’s own Street Outreach Services program, a mobile medical clinic for homeless San Franciscans.
The Affordable Care Act has been a cornerstone on the path toward meeting the Triple Aim. Through a partnership with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi – a dynamic national leader whose partnership has been a highlight of my career – and her leadership in the United States House of Representatives, we have expanded the successes of the ACA by creating a state program that expands Medi-Cal for uninsured patients with incomes above the federal poverty level and those with lower individual and family incomes. People are gaining access to health care, often for the first time in their lives, and avoiding costly emergency room visits by establishing care at community-based health homes. SFCCC’s health homes understand our patients’ cultures, environmental backgrounds, and languages.
As for tomorrow, the health care world will continue to develop new ways of offering care, involving patients in new and more effective ways. I look forward to SFCCC being in the center of this movement, providing leadership, direction and guidance to ensure that all patients, and all communities, get the health care they need and want.