How MemorialCare is expanding to deliver consistent value

Barry Arbuckle, President and CEO, MemorialCare Health System

When the Orange County Business Journal published the newspaper’s annual listing of the region’s Top 50 Employers, the MemorialCare Health System showed a 19 percent increase in its workforce over the previous year — the highest gain among the top businesses.
That growth is part of MemorialCare’s expansion of its physicians, hospitals and outpatient services, including within its six Southern California hospitals, as well as with innovative programs and partnerships.
Smart Business Magazine turned to  Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., who serves as president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System.

How is today’s marketplace impacting health care systems?

While all U.S. health care organizations are being challenged by today’s current economic climate, lower reimbursements and the move by payors to value-based purchasing, organizations such as ours are growing their capacity to improve health care in our communities. We’re expanding our ambulatory care, adding hospitals and broadening outpatient offerings. Our goal is delivering the best value on a consistent basis at all of our sites, improving quality and lowering costs. The expansion of the MemorialCare family of providers enables our integrated health care system to deliver even better and more comprehensive care.
The constant pursuit of bold goals in both clinical and service excellence and steadfast fiscal discipline are essential to the ability to pursue new dimensions in health care. So, too, is the commitment to stay ahead of the curve by implementing new approaches that ensure patient satisfaction, physician partnerships and also employee engagement.

Where does continuum of care fit in?

An important focus for health organizations is to provide the most comprehensive and coordinated care for community members in all their stages of life. That commitment means offering the finest quality care for patients and their families, enabled by best medical practices, the clinical expertise of top physicians and innovative technology.
MemorialCare’s wide geographic coverage in Orange and Los Angeles counties offers a full continuum of care with about 1 million annual patient encounters. This coverage is important to the health plans that are increasingly moving to narrow networks, which only include providers demonstrating that they can offer excellent care, while managing costs. Partnering organizations tell us collaboration offers an unparalleled opportunity for future growth and success.
To further this continuum of care, we added Community Hospital Long Beach and established one of California’s fastest-growing medical foundations. There are also several outstanding medical groups that are part of MemorialCare Medical Foundation, including the MemorialCare Medical Group. Recently more than 400 Greater Newport Physicians’ primary and specialty physicians serving 100,000 patients in Orange County joined us, creating the new Independent Practice Association (IPA) division that offers more physician alignment opportunities. Nautilus Healthcare Management Group now leads the MemorialCare Medical Foundation’s IPA division and practice management services.

What other services are included?

An important growth area is retail health that offers accessible, convenient care for minor illnesses and injuries, including MemorialCare HealthExpress retail clinics located inside ALBERTSONS/Sav-On Pharmacy Stores in Huntington Beach, Irvine and Mission Viejo.
Electronic Medical Records are also critical to the care continuum and available at our hospitals as well as physician offices and ambulatory sites. Personal health records are accessible online to many patients. Through this technology, patients will receive more coordinated care with clinicians accessing information on their condition, allergies and medications — all at the caregiver’s fingertips.

How is staff engaged in these efforts?

MemorialCare is one of just 27 businesses worldwide and the only one in California to receive the prestigious 2012 Gallup Great Workplace Award. Gallup compares employee engagement results of 7.5 million survey respondents from 965,000 work teams in 177 countries and evaluates strategic plans and best practices to select winners that establish new global standards for engaging employees.
According to Gallup, engaged employees are safer, they are more productive, customer-centric and successful. They establish a new global standard for engaging people. When compared to millions of workgroups studied, awardees create an environment that values people. They go far beyond the norm to ensure each employee has an emotional connection to their company’s mission and growth and create an environment that values people, MemorialCare’s 11,000 plus employees, 2,500 affiliated physicians and 2,000 volunteers all contributed to this tremendous honor.

What about health and wellness?

Health systems are increasingly committed to their employees’ well being. MemorialCare  is a national leader in the empowerment of employees to improve both their health and wellness through The Good Life program that builds a culture of wellness.
This unique program features nutritious food alternatives, workplace walking trails, gyms, programs for weight loss, smoke-free campuses and incentives to maintain and improve your health. Learning more about one’s health and risk factors helps prevent heart attack, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
MemorialCare Health System offers to employers workplace wellness programs and executive physicals, and online health risk assessments are at

Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., is the president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System. The not-for-profit MemorialCare Health System includes Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, Community Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente. For additional information on excellence in health care, please visit

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