As I approached retirement at the end of 2018, I attended my last BETA Healthcare Group and District Hospital Leadership Forum board meetings.
The community should be very proud that Lompoc Valley Medical Center was a founding member of both organizations.
In the 1970s, a medical malpractice crisis emerged when commercial insurers in California either abandoned the professional liability market or increased rates so dramatically that healthcare providers could no longer afford coverage. Hospital executives searched for alternatives, seeking to control and stabilize the cost of professional liability insurance and avoid the rate swings that had typified the commercial insurance market.
Seventeen district hospitals, including LVMC, banded together to form a hospital-controlled risk-sharing pool. Currently, BETA Healthcare Group is the largest professional liability insurer of hospitals on the West Coast and provides coverage to more than 250 hospitals and healthcare facilities. In addition, BETA provides workers’ compensation coverage for more than 40,000 healthcare workers in California. BETA has earned a reputation for financial strength, rate stability, quality service and breadth of coverage that is unparalleled in the industry.
It’s been almost 10 years now since I represented LVMC at a meeting in San Jose with four other healthcare Chief Executive Officers to discuss the lack of effective state and federal advocacy for Healthcare Districts in California. During that original meeting, all five hospitals agreed to fund, and create, The District Hospital Leadership Forum (DHLF). Since then, the DHLF played a significant role in advocating on the behalf of healthcare districts for our fair share of federal and state resources. In 2014, the state completed its negotiations with the federal government over the 2015-2020 MediCal Waiver. The DHLF was successful in convincing the state that healthcare districts which were operating hospitals were underfunded. As a result, more than $300 million was distributed in 2018 to California Healthcare Districts operating hospitals – such as LVMC. A similar amount is expected for the fiscal year 2019.
For the past 20 years, I have had the honor to represent LVMC on the BETA Board. I have also represented LVMC on the DHLF Board since its inception in 2009. Both organizations have played and will continue to play, a vital role in placing LVMC in a most favorable position as we navigate the ever-changing health care delivery system.
Finally, I would like to recognize the extraordinary staff at LVMC for their commitment towards excellence. Every aspect of the organization is focused on how to best deliver our community the highest and most compassionate care available.
It has been a privilege and honor to have a 39-year career at LVMC.