As yet another unprecedented year draws to a close, I’m reminded of how far we’ve come and all that we’ve accomplished in 2022. This year has not been without its challenges — including ambulance patient offload delays, workforce shortages, and the most recent tripledemic of flu, respiratory syncytial virus, and COVID-19 — which makes it all the more important to take time this holiday season to celebrate and reflect on what has been done:
- Geriatric emergency department accreditation: This effort kicked off in 2019 when hospitals across the region pledged to make significant improvements in the care of senior citizens by participating in a new Senior Emergency Care Initiative. This initiative is a one-of-a-kind, public-private partnership between the county, West Health Institute, and San Diego hospitals and health systems. Three years later, this collaboration to improve health equity for older adults has resulted in all eligible San Diego County hospitals achieving this designation, which establishes guidelines for the care of elderly patients. San Diego County is the first county in the nation to have all eligible hospitals reach this milestone.
- Annual meeting: After two years of being apart, it was great to return to an in-person meeting and hear about the issues important to hospitals and our members.
- Community health needs assessment: This report, which was released in September and is conducted every three years, was the result of months of collaboration among health systems, community coalitions, social service providers, county public health agencies, community clinics, philanthropic organizations, community-based organizations, and other community partners who generously shared their time and expertise. For the first time, every private hospital, health system, health district, and behavioral health hospital in San Diego County participated in this collective effort to better understand San Diego communities’ health and social needs.
From the efforts of your hospitals and staff to our partners in the community, all of this year’s achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of so many. And while many of you may be eagerly waiting for a new year and a fresh start, there are a number of ongoing issues that are poised to greet us right off the bat — wall times, behavioral health, and financial struggles. But as I look back on the past 12 months, it’s hard for me not to feel proud and humbled by the incredible things your hospitals accomplished — even under the most trying circumstances.
No matter which holiday you celebrate — and however you celebrate — I hope you are able to share this season with friends and family and will take pride in all that you have accomplished. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season.