How MemorialCare Health System is preparing for the future

Diana Hendel, PharmD, CEO, Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach

As the recent health care reform act rolls out, those who care for America’s communities continue to address the legislation’s goals of better care, better health and better management of costs.

Smart Business spoke with Diana Hendel, PharmD, the CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, part of the MemorialCare Health System to learn more about the impact of this legislation.

What action are you taking to prepare for reform?

MemorialCare continues concentrating on bold goals in clinical and service excellence, maintaining steadfast fiscal discipline, addressing patient satisfaction, enhancing physician partnerships and employee engagement and growing our capacity to improve health care for our communities. We’re adding hospitals, broadening offerings and expanding ambulatory care, including a new outpatient center in East Long Beach with physician offices, urgent care and diagnostic capabilities. Our goal is delivering the best value on a consistent basis at MemorialCare’s six hospitals and 250 outpatient, ambulatory and physician practice facilities throughout the Southland.

We are now moving from a system of caring for the sick to improving each person’s health and wellness. Two decades ago, our physicians undertook an ambitious effort to devise far more scientific approaches to improve the medical outcomes of patients. Those efforts — today involving thousands of physicians, nurses and other clinicians studying the best medical care around the globe — resulted in best-practice, evidence-based medicine as well as medical outcomes surpassing regional and national standards.

How do physicians partner for better care?

Partnership opportunities with our 2,500 affiliated physicians range from leadership and management positions and participation in MemorialCare Physician Society, to joint ventures and collaborations involving innovative medical technology. Many are joining our employment and Independent Practice Association (IPA) models that are part of the physician medical group we call MemorialCare Medical Foundation that includes MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians. These unique partnerships promote an integrated approach to health care delivery and ensure a sound future for our physicians. By offering multiple options and strengthened alignments with physicians, we’re positioned to provide high quality care, offering patients a choice from among the best physicians, while carefully managing the health care costs to employers and consumers. Also critical to this broad-ranging, pluralistic physician partnership approach is our commitment to strong relationships with independent physicians, medical groups and IPAs plus myriad opportunities for physicians to impact the

future of health care.

How does technology improve medical care?

Groundbreaking medical technology yields faster, improved diagnoses; superior, less invasive and more targeted treatments; reduced hospital stays; quicker recoveries; and enhanced quality of life for our patients. Our 320-Slice CT Scanner — the most powerful x-ray imaging device, and one of just a few in the state — provides high quality imaging for early and accurate diagnosis and treatment of the heart, brain and tiny blood vessels — with less radiation exposure. Our robotic surgery suites — among the nation’s busiest — enable physicians to operate with unprecedented precision through tiny incisions for heart, gynecology, urology, gastroenterology, pulmonary, cancer and other procedures. Todd Cancer Institute’s nationally recognized cancer diagnosis and treatment modalities for adults and children, offer the most sophisticated treatment technologies available and is the world’s prominent teaching site for radiation oncology procedures. MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute includes comprehensive centers for diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease with advanced, world-class care.

Digital technologies in the form of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) allow clinicians immediate access to a patient’s health and medical history, maximize clinical quality and patient outcomes at points of decision-making, reduce medical errors and improve patient care. Available in our hospitals, 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?

One powerful example — The Good Life program — is significantly improving the health and wellness of our employees and their families through fitness challenges, nutritious offerings and support for chronic conditions. These critical results-driven activities are extended to local employers who tap our expertise to improve the health of their work forces with on-site screenings, seminars, executive and employee physicals and more. MemorialCare helps employers adapt to health reform, trim health benefits and health costs and improve productivity.

Our focus on preventive care starts with the tiniest newborns and progresses through all stages of life. For example, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, ranking at the top for admissions among Southern California children’s hospitals, features a medical home model. Here, physician-led teams are providing comprehensive and continuous medical care to achieve optimal health outcomes. As the only health system in Los Angeles or Orange county with prominent adult and children’s hospitals, we’re in a unique position to address the life-long health needs of our communities, thus helping consumers take control of their health and their lives.

Diana Hendel, PharmD, is CEO of Long Beach Memorial, Community Hospital Long Beach and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach. The hospitals are part of MemorialCare Health System, a not-for-profit integrated health care delivery system that also includes 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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