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Supreme Court Ruling Reflects "Challenge of Next Decade"

Community medical centers will be on the "front line" in providing care, said Doctors Medical Center's Eric Zell.

The Supreme Court's Thursday ruling on health care hightlights that community hospitals bear a lasting responsibility to expand services for patients needing both immediate and long term care, said Doctors Medical Center's chairman Eric Zell.

Zell, who chairs both the Doctors Medical Center Governing Body and the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, made the remark in a statement issued after the court ruling.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision illustrates the need for community hospitals to be able to take on more families in need of immediate and long-term healthcare,” Zell said. “It has become increasingly apparent that expanding access to local medical care will be the challenge of the next decade.”

Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo is a public hospital that provides emergency and other care within a district that covers West Contra Costa County. It has the largest and busiest emergency room in the reigion, serving more than 40,000 emergency cases per year. The vasy majority of the public hospital's patients are uninsured or using Medcare or Medi-Cal programs. Reimbursement for services provided are far below actual costs.

The ruling demonstrates the need for and value of community hospitals, Zell said.

“Many do believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child,” he said. “But when it comes to health care it takes a community to treat a patient. Community hospitals will be on the front lines of the massive health care expansion and will form the basis of medical care for tens of thousands right here in the Bay Area.”

Last November, health care district a $47 parcel tax to save Doctors Medical Center from an $18 million budget deficit and certain closure. The low government reimbursement rate has been a key reason that the hospital has suffered serious fiscal difficulites for decades.

Doctors emerged from bankruptcy in 2008 after being receiving from Contra Costa County, and John Muir and Kaiser medical centers.

Closure of the hospital would have affected East Bay residents with no alternative for local medical care. Emergency patient cases likely would have been treated instead at the county hospital in Martinez or Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, whether or not patients were insured.

The medical center treats more than 40,000 emergency room patients per year. It is the region’s only public, safety-net hospital. The facility dates to 1954 and also must address concerns about its seismic safety.

Irene July 03, 2012 at 08:52 PM
I am on my second cup already Sal. Margie, we have free choice now and always have...as long as you can afford it. We will continue to have free choice with the AHCA/Obamacare. If you want to change your health insurance you will be able to shop around. Additionally there will also be many different plans to choose from depending on your income. Same as now. It sounds like you have been misinformed. By the way, I Love the Post Office, especially here in Pinole! Excellent, dependable service, friendly and efficient staff. I get my mail regularly. I send mail cheaply. I have great experience with the Post Office. Medicare is another excellently run government service, I don't hear anybody on Medicare asking to abandon it. DMV has improved too, they have lines same as everywhere else we have to wait at stores, restaurants etc. make an reservation, make an appointment and it all goes fast and easy. Obama care is not penetrating anything. It will take 2-4 more years to get implemented; its more like creeping into our health care system.
Toni Leance July 04, 2012 at 12:09 AM
We should be so lucky as to be Cuba they have one of the highest % of doctors to population all health care is free. Margie don't you have government paid health care? You have Medicare right? You get to go to the doctor of your choice? You get to go to the hospital of your choice? You get preventive care for free right? You get your drugs paid for right! So what s your complaint? Your guy on the supreme court cast the deciding vote. He s a Bush appointed conservative right? I don't think it is Obama care anymore I think it is now officially the afforabe health care act and it was upheld by the highest court of the land. Deal with it!
None July 04, 2012 at 01:11 AM
It appears to me that every article, blog, comment or response I read has to do with someone else paying for something that the responding individual wants. It may be smaller classrooms (more teachers), it may be healthcare (someone else paying your medical bill) or a swimming pool (paid for by someone who doesn’t use it) or any other thing some enlightened group wants at some particular time but does not want to pay for. Now we look at a successful business or some successful corporations and the “Enlightened Few” want them to pay for all of these things because they make too much profit. Perhaps we should look at where profit comes from. I have always looked at profit as the return on investment, as being competitive in the market place. When business makes a profit they usually hire people and expand their operation. The “Enlightened Few” look at this as a crime and these companies should be punished, they should pay more taxes! I just fail to see the logic; I guess I should go “Occupy” the local golf course and have someone else pay my green fees, we all know the golf course is ripping us off!
SalthePlumber July 04, 2012 at 01:31 AM
So its you against everybody else, Richard? Paranoia creeping into the picture? C'mon, dont get your panties in a twist. :) Are you saying that excessive pricing for Energy, Health Care, Insurance, Drugs, etc is patriotic? It would seem that anything that the Average Consumer MUST have, is being priced outrageously. You have become used to the ripoff and actually CREDIT the Corps that screw us. Thats called Stockholm Syndrome, when you identify with those who have kidnaped, tortured and/or terrorized you... Years ago, American Corporations were good at screwing everybody on the Planet and we as Americans benefited. Now the World gets smaller and smarter every day and our Corporate friends are left with screwing Americans to make their lofty profits...
Redrock July 04, 2012 at 02:08 AM
We tried it the Republican way under Reagan and Bush and it failed, we were left in a recession- Clinton raised taxes [left office] and handed a surplus to Bush Jr, who gave everyone $500.. Yeepie!!! But the richest corporations [and individuals] in the country made out with BILLIONS! I know “Right Wingers” hate Public Television, They want to pluck big bird every chance they get... but you must watch this [38 minutes]: http://billmoyers.com/segment/jacob-hacker-paul-pierson-on-engineered-inequality/

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