Q & A with the CEO
Being Smart with Our Health Care Dollars
Questions are answered by Mills-Peninsula CEO Bob Merwin. Send your questions to John Loder .
Question: Will health care reform affect the quality of care hospitals can offer?
Answer: Slowing the rising cost of health care is one of the many objectives of health care reform, and it is an important one. I’m proud to say that at Mills-Peninsula, we have a long history of taking a smarter approach to how health care dollars are spent.
Our now 28-year-old Senior Focus program, for example, helps seniors stay out of hospitals or other costly health care settings. By investing just a little more in the resources these seniors need to either stay independent or make a smooth transition from the hospital back to care in the community, we are improving their quality of life, delivering better medical service and lowering health care costs at the same time.
Another way we maintain high-quality care while lowering costs is with wise investments in technology. Thanks to generous philanthropic support, we have access to many advanced medical devices that, while costly to purchase, have the potential to lower costs while improving care. For example, high-end medical imaging equipment can help our doctors arrive at the right diagnosis more quickly and with fewer tests overall. State-of-the-art surgical equipment allows our doctors to perform complex procedures on delicate organs – such as the heart and brain – in minimally invasive ways using focused radiation or catheters guided from outside the body by magnets. The result is shorter hospital stays, less risk of costly complications, and again, better care overall.
Perhaps most importantly, we are empowering our patients – and the community at large – with the information they need to make smart health care decisions for themselves. We deliver information about wellness and disease prevention in numerous ways, including through articles such as those in this issue. We also sponsor health-related community events to help people stay active, well and happy. And when people do come to us for care, we discuss risks and benefits of various care options to help our patients make informed choices about the type of care they would and would not like to receive.
In these ways and more, I feel confident that Mills-Peninsula will be able to continue delivering high-quality care even as we work to make that care more affordable.
One reason we are able to deliver many of these preventive services and advanced technologies that lower the overall cost of care is because we are a not-for-profit hospital that is supported by our community through philanthropy. Without such support, it would be harder to make the upfront investments necessary to maintain high-quality care while lowering costs. We also are fortunate to be part of a larger not-for-profit health care system, Sutter Health, which shares our commitment to building healthy communities.
We look forward to a long and healthy partnership with our communities, and we are grateful for their support.