MemorialCare Health System Executives, Business Leaders Join with Physicians March 16-17 to Focus on State Health Initiatives and Identify Collaborative Solutions at Annual Advocacy Days with State Legislators

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The annual MemorialCare Physician Advocacy Days to educate state lawmakers on how their current and future decisions impact the health and wellness of California communities is set for March 16-17 in Sacramento. MemorialCare Health System—with hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties—is the only health system that has created this unique partnership with its community physicians. The goal is to advocate for health coverage for California’s 6.8 million uninsured, emphasize the need for fair and equitable reimbursement and continue discussions among those making the law and the physicians, nurses and other clinicians and support staff who provide the critical medical care and health services 24/7 to Southland communities.

“This collaboration of community physicians, health system and hospital executives and business leaders demonstrates that answers to the crisis in health care statewide and nationally demand creating a forum where we can discuss solutions,” explains Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System and past chair of the California Hospital Association. “The conversations offer a collective voice to the legislators of our overall concerns, both as individual community-based physicians and as part of a larger system.”

MemorialCare Health System believes collaboration is key to resolving today’s health care crisis. “As a priority for decades, MemorialCare partners with our physicians,” adds Peter Mackler, government relations director. “Together, we provide a well-rounded perspective on health care, from a provider and hospital view. This offers a unique opportunity for physicians to travel to Sacramento with our executives to advocate for a balanced health care delivery system.”

MemorialCare Health System and its physician partners depend heavily on government funding to care for Medi-Cal patients, the uninsured and underinsured. “As economic conditions cause larger numbers of Californians to lose health coverage through their employers, they increasingly rely on their local hospital emergency departments for their primary care. This results in patients delaying much needed health care until conditions worsen, creates backlogs in emergency departments and hospitals and adds significant dollars to the cost of health care,” says Dr. Arbuckle. “These advocacy days also allow us to meet with legislators to outline and discuss the views and positions of proposed legislation under consideration for the 2010 sessions.

Sixteen community physicians, MemorialCare system and hospital executives and business leaders will meet with Assembly and State Senate members from Orange County and Los Angeles County and with California Hospital Association, California Medical Association, California Department of Health Care Services and other statewide entities. Speaker of the Assembly John Perez will keynote a group session.

MemorialCare Health System is a nationally recognized not-for-profit integrated delivery system with top ratings for quality and safety. With 10,000 employees and 3,250 physicians in Los Angeles and Orange counties, MemorialCare includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. These medical centers—serving nearly 4 million people—are filling critical community needs as either the area’s major tertiary provider; region’s only designated children’s hospital; sole community hospital; or located in communities experiencing significant growth.