The Tri-Valley, with its high percentage of residents with health insurance, is an area where virtually all California health providers want to do business.
And, we are seeing many of them compete here.
Last month, Stanford Health closed its takeover of the ValleyCare Health System. It's now known as Stanford Health ValleyCare. Leaders of both institutions will conduct events next week to celebrate the union that rescued ValleyCare from an increasingly untenable financial situation and positioned it with Stanford to continue to serve residents well for the next 50 years.
For Stanford, it is a major foothold in a desirable market.
And one that will have plenty of competition.
Last week, a joint venture between John Muir Medical of Walnut Creek and San Ramon Regional (owned by for-profit Tenet Health) started work on a four-story building it purchased across from the BART station and about one-quarter mile from ValleyCare's main campus in Pleasanton. The facility will house medical offices for both primary care and specialists as well as an urgent care center and diagnostic imaging services.
John Muir, incidentally, has a major affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco system to develop a regional network of physicians and care facilities. It also has a partnership with Stanford Children's Hospital.
The joint affiliation with the two major Bay Area research hospitals is exactly where ValleyCare is now that Stanford is running it. ValleyCare has had USCF Benioff Children's Hospital operating a specialty pediatric care unit in the main hospital for a number of years. ValleyCare President Scott Gregerson said that the UCSF pediatric partnership will continue for the foreseeable future.
USCF and Stanford both have been aggressively expanding into the East Bay as they are building networks to compete with the vertically integrated Kaiser system, which was the model for Obamacare. The federal health law is driving the partnership and consolidations.
The other huge health system with a significant Bay Area and Alameda County footprint is Sutter Health, which operates Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley as well as Alta Bates/Summit in Oakland and Berkeley. Sutter also has an office for its physicians' group on Tassajara Road in Dublin, about one-quarter of a mile from ValleyCare headquarters. That group shares a building with a Stanford/ValleyCare urgent care center.
For its part, Kaiser now has medical office facilities in Pleasanton (its first in the Tri-Valley), Livermore and San Ramon (the newest, located in Bishop Ranch). It also owns a large parcel of land in east Dublin that could eventually be a hospital site.
The upcoming Supreme Court decision on Obamacare and its subscriber subsidies through the federal exchange will not immediately effect California because it only applies to states without an insurance exchange. California is operating an exchange.
When the presidency changes in 2017, depending upon who sits in the White House and the party make-up in Congress, then there could be changes that will effect Californians.
In the meantime, one excellent thought from a commercial on televisionthe governor and the Legislature need to fully fund MediCal. MediCal reimbursements are so miserly that for years many physicians have not accepted new patients, which shunts MediCal patients into the public health system with providers such as AXIS here in Pleasanton.