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February 18, 2011 > County ushers in new era for healthcare delivery

County ushers in new era for healthcare delivery

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Laurel Anderson

Under Healthcare Reform, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors has approved a new strategic direction for the County's healthcare program that will guide the integration of Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System (SCVHHS) services and create a new delivery system focused on prevention.

"We're on the brink of witnessing a dramatic overhaul in healthcare across the United States and must position SCVHHS to be a model for Healthcare Reform," said County Executive Jeff Smith. "In the past, healthcare was based on a disease model, providing treatment after the disease occurs, and hospital care. Now we'll need to focus more keenly on community health and prevention."

The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) known as Healthcare Reform, along with adoption of the California's Section 1115 Medi-Cal Waiver, will extend health coverage and access to care to more Californians, including an estimated 50,000 - 60,000 Santa Clara County residents.

Reform will change delivery of health care services to a balance between disease treatment and disease prevention. This positions the County well for a new healthcare delivery model.

The strategic direction is the outcome of an in-depth examination of the County's healthcare delivery system, including Public Health, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Services, and Valley Medical Center to ensure it is well organized and focused to make the best of the new healthcare model.

"Our current healthcare system can't be maintained long-term," said Supervisor Ken Yeager, Vice Chair of the Board's Health and Hospital Committee. "Keeping the community healthy must go beyond direct healthcare services. Health should be a part of all of our programs, from the Parks Department to Planning and Development."

The Board approved several actions that will begin the transformation, including developing a unified managed care strategy and structure for Santa Clara Family Health Plan and Valley Health Plan; establishing an Office of Program Integration to guide the healthcare system integration; advancing a policy of "health in all programs" across all County agencies and departments; aligning physicians and employees with the new strategic direction; adopting a new vision statement and goals; and exploring renaming the new model as "Valley Health" and engaging the public for feedback.

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