How MemorialCare Health System is positioning itself for future success

Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., President and CEO, MemorialCare Health System

As each element of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act unfolds, those who provide health care for American communities continue to pursue the legislation’s Triple Aim goals of better care, better health and better management of costs.

Smart Business spoke with MemorialCare Health System President & CEO Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., to discover  more about this.

How are you preparing for health care reform?

MemorialCare is committed to bold goals in clinical and service excellence, steadfast fiscal discipline and in staying ahead of the curve. We are now implementing new approaches that we do anticipate will improve and ensure the satisfaction of our patients, our continued partnerships with physicians and engagement with employees while growing our capacity to greatly improve health care for our communities. We’re expanding ambulatory care, adding more hospitals and broadening outpatient offerings with the goal of delivering the very best value across all of our 250 facilities.

Well before reform began, we implemented substantial changes, moving from a system of caring for the sick to one focused on improving each individual’s health and wellness. Then, beginning some two decades ago, top physicians began an ambitious
effort to come up with a more scientific approach to the improvement of medical outcomes. Those efforts — today involving thousands of physicians, nurses and other clinicians who are studying the best medical care around the globe — have led to
MemorialCare surpassing the national standards regarding both evidence-based, best-practice medicine and medical outcomes.

What options are there for physicians?

MemorialCare has a very proud history of physician leadership and engagement. Partnership opportunities with our 3,000 affiliated physicians range from the joint ventures, leadership, management positions and participation in the MemorialCare Physician Society, to joining our employment and Independent Practice Association (IPA) models, and collaborations that involve innovative medical technology. We will continue to forge unique partnerships that will favorably impact an integrated approach to the delivery of health care while also ensuring a sound future for our physicians. Earlier in 2012, MemorialCare Medical Foundation announced that it would be affiliated with Greater Newport Physicians and would acquire the Nautilus Healthcare Management Group. By offering a range of partnership opportunities and forging strengthened alignments with physicians, we’re positioned to provide the best possible care, offering patients a choice from among the Southland’s best physicians, and carefully managing health care costs to both employers and consumers. Critical to this broad-ranging physician partnership approach is our commitment to maintaining strong relationships with independent physicians, medical groups and IPAs, and offering physicians myriad opportunities through the MemorialCare Physician Society.

How does technology improve medical care?

Groundbreaking medical technology has proved to yield faster, improved diagnoses; superior, less invasive and more targeted treatments; reduced hospital stays; quicker recoveries; and enhanced quality of life for our patients. The 320-Slice CT Scanner — the most powerful X-ray imaging device — provides high-quality imaging for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of the heart, brain and tiny blood vessels. Robotic surgery enables physicians to operate with amazing precision through very tiny incisions for heart, gynecology, urology, gastroenterology and cancer procedures. MemorialCare, with one of the West’s busiest robotic surgery programs, boasts the county’s first national robotic surgical training center and is among only a few hospitals that have introduced robotic technology into a hybrid cardiovascular suite.

MemorialCare Cancer Institutes have the latest cancer diagnosis and treatment modalities for adults and children with the most sophisticated treatment technologies that are available today. The MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institutes are offering
comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease with advanced, world-class care.

Digital technologies that take the form of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) are allowing clinicians to have immediate
access to a patient’s health and medical history, maximize the clinical quality and patient outcomes at points of decision-making, reduce medical errors and vastly improve patient care. MemorialCare was the very first health care system in Orange County to initiate comprehensive EMRs for its hospitals that can now be found in physician offices and ambulatory sites. Many patients are accessing their health records to track and improve their own health and wellness.

Are health and wellness efforts working?

Our Good Life program works to improve the health and wellness of our employees and their families through our fitness challenges, our nutritional offerings and support for chronic conditions. Employers can take advantage of our expertise to improve the health of their staff with on-site screenings, physicals and more. MemorialCare can help employers adapt to health reform, trim health benefits and health costs and improve productivity. Further, as the only health system in Orange and Los Angeles counties with adult and children’s hospitals, we offer lifetime care and help consumers take control of their health and their lives.

Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System. The Southern California not-for-profit integrated  health care delivery system includes Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley, Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente; MemorialCare Medical Group; Greater Newport Physicians, an Independent Practice Association (IPA); MemorialCare HealthExpress retail clinics; and numerous outpatient health centers throughout the Southland. For information, go to

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