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County Ushers in New Era for Healthcare Delivery

Board of Supervisors Approves Strategic Direction for Integrated Services

The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors is ushering in a new era for how the County will provide health care services under Healthcare Reform. The Board 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 are on the brink of witnessing a dramatic overhaul in healthcare across the United States, and we have to position Santa Clara Valley Health and Hospital System 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 will 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 to 60,000 people living in Santa Clara County.

Reform will change the way health care services are delivered in this nation to a balance between disease treatment and disease prevention. This positions the County well for a new healthcare delivery model.

“Healthcare delivery primarily focuses on a disease model, and of course disease treatment is often needed, however, we will now expand our focus to strengthen disease prevention and overall wellness across a continuum of services,” said Supervisor Liz Kniss, Chair of the Board’s Health and Hospital Committee. “We’re gearing up to strategically offer services in a cost effective, integrated way that will promote health and well-being for our entire community.”

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 make sure 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.
  • Exploring renaming the new model as “Valley Health” and engaging the public for feedback.

”The County’s health related services – Drug and Alcohol Services, Mental Health, Public Health, Valley Medical Center, and Valley Health Plan – are well positioned to be a premier model for Healthcare Reform,” Smith continued. “Now that this strategic framework is in place, we will begin the conversation with key internal and external stakeholders.”

Media Contacts: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119
Posted: January 31, 2011