President’s Message

The Value that Hospitals Bring to Our Lives

In her poem “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship,” Elizabeth Barrett Browning poignantly captures the essence of hospitals in society:    

“How many desolate creatures on the earth  
Have learnt the simple dues of fellowship  
And social comfort, in a hospital” 

Volunteers Are the Heartbeat of the Hospital

Hospitals are only able to provide essential care to patients because many dedicated people come together every day to help those in need. No one exemplifies this dedication more than California’s hospital volunteers. Next week, April 21-27, is National Volunteer Week, and it is a time for us to reflect on the selflessness, kindness, and generosity that can sometimes go unseen and unrecognized. It’s also a time to say thank you.

Thoughtful Collaboration Leads to Health Care Solutions

Hospitals are facing extraordinary challenges, so being thoughtful about how we tackle the big issues is more important than ever. The pace of what is coming at us every day is relentless. It’s not easy to have meaningful conversations with the right stakeholders at the right time. To truly take on the big issues we need to slow down and create space for deeper insights. That’s a key takeaway for me after attending the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress late last month in Chicago, where I joined 5,000 health care professionals from around the country to discuss the leadership that’s needed for the challenges ahead.

Point-in-Time Counts Reveal Urgent Need for Solutions to Homelessness Crisis

In January, over 1,000 volunteers conducted the annual Point-in-Time Count to assess homelessness in San Diego and Imperial counties. Part of a nationwide effort from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the count surveys those who are unsheltered, on the streets, or in shelters the morning of the count. While the 2024 numbers will be released this spring, we are likely to see the continuation of a trend that started in 2023. Last year, San Diego County saw a 35% increase to approximately 6,500 unhoused individuals, while Imperial County experienced a 23% increase to more than 1,300 individuals. 

We Are All Responsible for Rural Health Care Access

People talk about the rural-urban divide, but the reality for health care and hospitals is that we are interconnected. And California’s rural hospitals are at a fiscal crossroad. Right now, 56% percent of rural hospitals are losing money on patient care — up 16% in just five years. Health care access for more than 2 million Californians is shrinking.

Strong Relationships Are Vital in Tackling Big Issues

Recently I reflected on the start of the year with a colleague and shared that January felt like it was 16 weeks long. We came barreling out of the gate in 2024 with far-reaching issues to grapple with. The list includes matters that touch almost every part of hospital operations, including preparing for the upcoming hospital minimum wage hike, advocating for reconsideration of health care spending targets proposed by the new Office of Health Care Affordability, strategizing with firefighters and emergency medical services in preparation for the implementation of Assembly Bill 40, advocating for resources to reduce migrant street releases, seeking solutions to the growing behavioral health crisis in our communities, and more.

Embracing Heart Health with Awareness, Compassion and Connection 

My mom has Atrial fibrillation. I remember one morning a few years ago when her heart was racing. We didn’t know what was happening. I sat with her in the living room and her heart wasn’t slowing down. We were scared and rushed her to the emergency room where she was diagnosed. Now she’s on medication and the AFib is under control.  

Reflections on 2023: You Made a Difference    

Right now, many of you are probably finalizing your Thanksgiving menus or travel plans if you’re headed out of town for the holiday. And although we all have our own ways in which we will observe the day, gratitude — along with lots of food — will likely be at the heart of the celebrations.