Help Wanted -- Yours

John Taylor: January 11, 20070 Comments

An important part of Community's mission is improving everyone's health. So, when government considers changes in health policy, chances are Community will feel the impact. Sometimes Community will be leading or supporting the effort, and other times it will express concern.


You'd expect that from the region's largest private employer and its safety net.  My job as director of public affairs is to provide research and support for Community's leadership team and Board of Trustees on political and community affairs.


Given the diverse needs of our patients and the complexity of regulations, I count on getting tips from you and the public by phone, email and jawboning in the hallways.


Yes, Community is a member of trade groups like the California Hospital Association and Private Essential Access Community Hospitals Inc.  They provide analysis and lobbying.


But when Medi-Cal announced intentions to close its Fresno office, it was Irene Jauregui in Community's patient financial services office who provided details of the impact to us.  We're still working on that, Irene. 


And, in 2003, it was the nurses in obstetrics and Community's security team who pointed out that police didn't seem to place a high priority on the occasional person who loitered, asking mothers about their babies -- and going from hospital to hospital in the Valley doing just that.  That led us to ask then-Assembly Member Sarah Reyes to introduce AB 936 to create the crime of "baby stalking" -- someone looking for an opportunity to steal a child. There was no law against it -- but Gov. Davis created one when he signed AB 936, after vigorous coalition-building statewide by Community and after testimony in Sacramento by Community's director of maternal child services.


So, while I hope to update this blog at least a couple of times a week with national, state and local news about health care, the best updates and information will come from you. So, this is my "help wanted" sign.


Lastly, a couple of quick updates.


First, thanks to Steve Walter, our chief financial officer, for noting that Community should feel blessed that it is 100% seismically compliant in the face of news that Sutter Health is closing a Santa Rosa hospital and dropping plans for a new one because of the high cost of seismic renovations.


And, regarding my posting on trans fat, this week the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors created a task force to study banning trans fat in county restaurants.