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Fast Facts from Dr. Katz

'Fast Facts' is a bimonthly digest of news and events in the Department of Health Services.  Topics covered are health policy issues, department-wide programs and services, milestones, recognitions and awards, and research.

September 23, 2013

A Message from the Director
We are entering the final count-down period for the major expansion of health insurance under the federal ACA health reform legis-lation. On October 1, 2013, California’s health benefit exchange (called Covered California) will open enrollment. Individu-als who make $45,960 or less and families of four that make $94,200 or less may qualify for a subsidy to help pay for health care coverage under Covered California. Coverage would be effective on or after January 1, 2014.

August 27, 2013

A Message from the Director
When you are sick, you want to call your primary care provider to talk to him or her or schedule an appointment. But what if you get a busy signal? What if you hang up, and call back 10 minutes later and still get a busy signal? What if, in fact, you wanted to schedule an appointment and you got a busy signal all day? Would you go to the emergency room? Would you look for a new doctor? What would you do? Receiving a busy signal when calling our am-bulatory clinics was so common that many of our patients told me they gave up even try-ing to call. This was not anyone’s fault. Our phone systems were so outdated that there were not enough incoming lines. There was literally no way to get through.

July 9, 2013

A Message from the Director
Our celebration of the Innovation Project (see to the right) was one of the best events I have been to since coming to Los Angeles. The event highlighted the 16 projects that received grant funding to improve the care our patients receive and also recognized four special luminary winners.

June 4, 2013

A Message from the Director
The ORCHID kickoff is an incredibly excit-ing milestone for us. Having an electronic health record will enable us to provide better and more efficient care to our patients. However, the movement to an electronic health record is important to DHS for rea-sons that go beyond the usual factors as to why modern medical groups are adopting electronic health records. The establishment of ORCHID will bring us together as a single department. Right now, our computer systems operate on six differ-ent servers corresponding to our four acute care hospitals and two MACCS. The six servers are our history but they are not our future.

April 25, 2013

A Message from the Director
Read the story to the right about how DHS with its partners housed 125 chroni-cally homeless persons. This is such an amazing and meaningful accomplishment. And the accomplishment belongs to all of us – not just the great staff from our Housing for Health unit, not just our social work staff, not just the people of the Housing Authority of the City of L.A. and the Scattered Site Section 8 Housing Consortium – but all of us.

March 27, 2013

A Message from the Director
All of DHS mourns the loss of Dr. Jacquelin Perry this month (see article to the right). Her commitment to excellence and her life achievements are intertwined with those of Rancho. We are sad for losing her, but as long as Rancho thrives, her presence will always be felt.

March 4, 2013

A Message from the Director
We have made tre-mendous progress over the last two years in creating medical homes for our patients. Medical homes provide longitudi-nal care for patients, focusing on prevention and early intervention. We use the word “home” to evoke a place where people belong, where they feel comfortable, where they are known, where others care about them, where people will be happy to see them again, where they will be missed if they don’t show. A “home” means security and comfort especially in difficult times.

February 11, 2013

A Message from the Director
The start of 2013 begins the final stretch of our implementation of health reform. The Governor’s budget and implementation bills in both the State Senate and Assembly set the course of expanding Medicaid in January 2014. At that time, all of our Healthy Way L.A. participants will become fully insured under Medicaid. Enroll-ment is currently at 220,000, but with the help of our Community Partners we hope to reach 300,000 by the end of the year.

December 18, 2012

A Message from the Director
The best part of the holiday season is spend-ing time with friends and family. DHS is part of my family and I am enjoying being here and sharing good wishes with co-workers. I will be away for a few days to see my parents in New York with my children. I am envious of those who have parents near, but I feel lucky that my parents are still alive, now 90 (my dad) and 85 (my mom) and able to see my children grow. It has been a good year for DHS. We have accomplished a lot and I am grateful to all of you for your support and hard work. We will have a lot more to do in the New Year, but for now it is enough to be grateful for our lives, each other, and getting to work at jobs where we can make a difference for others. My best wishes to all for a happy and healthy holiday season and New Year.

November 21, 2012

A Message from the Director
Whether the results of the Presidential election made you happy, sad, or some-where in the middle, it will have profound implications for our department. With President Obama’s re-election, implementa-tion of the Affordable Care Act goes forward. The Act will result in about half of our unin-sured patients gaining coverage through Medicaid or the State Insurance Exchange. Insurance coverage will give our patients better access to health care and may poten-tially increase the revenue our department receives if our newly insured patients choose to stay with us.

October 31, 2012

A Message from the Director
Recently, I was travel-ing to Sacramento on Southwest Airlines. The person ahead of me in line handed the gate agent her printed boarding pass and went out the door to board the plane. Before her foot touched the tarmac the scanner buzzed instead of binged. Her boarding pass was for San Francisco, not Sacramento. She made a mistake of going to the wrong gate or get-ting confused about where she was going (I have done both). But the IT system prevented her from going to the wrong place.

October 1, 2012

A Message from the Director
This week I am working as an attending on the medicine service of LAC+USC. I love it. It gives me great pride to see so many wonderful nurses, doctors, pharmacists, social workers, technologists, therapists, phlebotomists, interpreters, dietary, and environmen-tal services staff working together to care for our patients. And I know that none of us providing care could do so without all the other people who support the direct clinical providers including staff from health information, finance, personnel, supply chain, facilities maintenance, and on and on.

August 21, 2012

A Message from the Director
Who knew there was a great bike path through East L.A. on First Street? I used to drive to my walk-in clinic at Roybal Compre-hensive Health Center because it seemed too far to ride. But biking allows for a much more direct route and I discovered some great finds: a green-painted bicycle lane, an historic cemetery, the Ben Frank-lin Library, and a park with exercise equipment (I was tempted to stop, but I kept going). Now that I know what an easy and pleas-ant ride it is, I will be bicycling there on a regular basis.

June 24, 2012

A Message from the Director
It has been an exciting summer. The “kickoff” was a visit by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to Hudson Comprehensive Health Center. It isn‟t every day that a United States Cabinet Secretary visits us. The first thing I noticed as I was bicycling up to the clinic was that the place was crawl-ing with secret service agents with plastic earpieces.

June 11, 2012

A Message from the Director
Last week I visited El Monte Comprehensive Health Center and felt so proud of what I saw. The team approach to ambulatory care has really caught on there. Nursing director Cristeta “Kristy” Garan-Martinez and care manager Hui Sito showed me how they use the i2i disease registry to identify patients who need preventive medicine interventions or more intense follow-up by their physician.

May 16, 2012

A Message from the Director
We have four great hospitals. I sometimes worry that people think I don’t fully appreciate our hospitals because I have focused so much of my energy on our ambulatory settings. But that’s not the case at all. Every single day lives are saved and changed at our hospitals and people are comforted through life’s most difficult moments. It is hard work and requires tremen-dous vigilance. A patient’s life can be saved or lost by a single action, and I am proud of our staff for delivering that difficult care seven days a week.

April 24, 2012

A Message from the Director
A highlight for me last month was attend-ing the Rancho Los Amigos “Amistad” gala you can read about below. The work of Rancho makes one believe in miracles. Be-sides, who doesn’t love a story where a boy (using a wheel chair) meets a girl (on titanium legs with high heels) and they fall in love and marry? As is true of all great achievements, whether regaining skills through physi-cal therapy, learning to do things in a different way, or maintaining a successful marriage, it takes work, hard work. Achievements don’t just happen.

April 11, 2012

A Message from the Director
We are on our way to implementing an electronic medical record (EMR) for DHS. Over 150 people are participating in an ongoing evaluation process to select the right vendor. This is a big investment and we must do it right the first time.

March 13, 2012

A Message from the Director
Last week we had a very interesting session at LAC+USC with Melissa Stafford Jones. She is the President and CEO of the California Association of Public Hospitals. Her basic message was that there has been a sea change in how public hospitals are viewed at the state and federal level.

February 9, 2012

A Message from the Director
This issue of Fast Facts is filled with examples of how DHS-the people and the system-are extending themselves. Particularly dear to my heart is the story of how administrators within DHS are contributing in a direct way to our patient care. As you will read, Beryl Brooks, Harry Furuya, Carla Nino and other administrators through-out the Ambulatory Care Network are extending themselves to work beyond their administrative responsibilities to answer phones, interact with patients, eliminate back-logs in medical records, and do whatever is necessary to increase our ability to care for those who need us.

January 18, 2012

Irene Recendez ”Nursing Champion”
LAC+USC Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Irene Recendez, RN, was selected by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the County Commission for Women as an award recipient at the 27th Annual “Women of the Year” luncheon to be held in March. For the past 26 years, the Commission has recognized women who have worked to bring about social and economic change, served as outstanding role models for women, worked on behalf of women's issues, and demonstrated outstanding performance to further advocate women's rights Recendez will receive the Community-at-Large Award in the area of Health.

January 6, 2012

Major Achievements of 2011 and  Director's Message
Happy New Year! I hope that 2012 brings health and happiness for you and your family. The New Year is a great time for taking stock of where we are and for making resolutions about the next year. In that spirit we are devoting this Fast Facts to our major achievements in 2011 and our major goals for 2012. I hope as you look through our major achievements you feel a sense of pride about what you and your colleagues have accomplished in just one year.

Safely Surrendered Baby

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