Beatrice Bostick and Nancy Schmid presented a program on the health care provided by the Alliance Medical Center and Healdsburg District Hospital
Beatrice Bostick spoke first about the Alliance Medical Center and her role with that facility. She been affiliated with Alliance Medical Center for many years and is currently their CEO. Alliance Medical Center began in 1971 to serve migrant workers and has expanded since that time. It has operated continuously in that interval. In 2004 they built a new facility on the campus of Healdsburg District Hospital and have formed a close affiliation with the hospital since that time.
Alliance Medical Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center and follows regulations put forth by the federal government on how they are to provide service. Within those guidelines they are providing patient centered medical care to over 13,000 people with over 50,000 patient visits per year. 70% of the patients at the clinic are Hispanic. All of the staff at the Alliance Medical Center are bilingual. 40% of Healdsburg children are patients at the Alliance Medical Center. 40% of the patients at the facility are uninsured. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, Alliance Medical Center has been enrolling patients and have accepted over 1500 new patients in the past year, 70% of which have been put on to the Medi-Cal program.
With the increased volume there is an increased need for treatment rooms. They are in the process of adding 3 dental treatment rooms and 3 medical treatment rooms. They are adding a pharmacy on site that will be open during regular hours and because of a federal program will be offering prescription medications at far below standard retail pharmacy costs. They hope that this will ensure that patients actually obtain their medications and that the usage of medication by patients can be tracked more reliably.
They are truly the safety net for healthcare in northern Sonoma County. In addition to the Healdsburg facility they also have an office in Windsor was they also serve the uninsured population.
Nancy Schmidt, CEO of Healdsburg District Hospital presented an overview of the medical services that are provided by the hospital and the central importance of this hospital to our community. The hospital is considered Rural Health Center and is considered a Critical Access Hospital, both are definitions used by the federal government to determine the funding of services provided .
Nancy stressed the importance of receiving medical care locally in terms of efficiency and overall patient safety. The outcome of many medical emergencies, such as heart attacks and strokes, can be influenced by minutes of delay in receiving appropriate care. The morbidity and mortality from these conditions increases by a factor of 30-50% if there is as much as a 5 or 10 min. delay in obtaining proper care. Healdsburg District Hospital has positioned itself to provide such emergency care and is the only federally designated stroke center in Sonoma County, having met all of the criteria for this designation required by the federal government.
It is important that the hospital have adequate patient volume to generate revenue to maintain its operations. It is also important that the hospital have adequate technology to provide this quality of care as well as to attract physicians to the community who will be able to utilize that equipment. She gave as an example the digital mammography unit at the hospital, which greatly increases the sensitivity of screening mammograms at detecting early cancer, at a time when it is highly treatable. She emphasized that Healdsburg District Hospital has the best CT scanner in Sonoma County, a status that it will have to share when the Sutter facility opens in Santa Rosa later this month.
The hospital is the 2nd largest employer in Healdsburg. It is number one in terms of high-paying jobs. The economic impact of money flowing through the hospital is such that each dollar collected on healthcare provided by the hospital results in a $7-$8 economic boost to the community.
Nancy encouraged local employers to explore insurance plans that include or require the use of Healdsburg District Hospital for their insured employees.