Support VMC the easy way…Rock n’ Roll and BBQ!


So, last night’s band practice was totally excellent…I know because my ears are still ringing.

We’re practicing for the upcoming VMC BBQ, put on annually by your public hospital’s award-winning Therapeutic Recreation department. This dedicated crew supports our patients with spinal cord and brain injuries – and their family and friends.

Oh – the band…yes, it’s the famous Idol Hands, in which your humble author plays bass guitar. We do blues, rock, R&B…fronted by our amazing singer Veronica Giles, R.N., we provide live entertainment for all the big VMC events…maybe because we play for free.

Come support VMC’s Rehab Center, National Parks and Recreation Month, and the Idol Hands Band:

Thursday July 9, 11:30 – 1 (ish)
Valley Medical Center’s Rehab Lawn, Bascom at Renova
BBQ, live music, games, prizes and fun
Five Dollars for lunch, rehab patients FREE

This great mid-day, mid-week escape is open to the public…tell a friend or two and come on down!

Deep cuts to the County Budget – it’s happening now

Typically I like to use this space to tell you some good news, or uplifting information. Today, I’m afraid, not so much.

Today is the day our county will decide on some of the most drastic cuts we’ve faced – it’s happening now, and so this is getting to you a day later than I’d like…but you may have seen the editorial in yesterday’s Mercury News that outlines what we’re all facing:

Half of the county’s regional public health nurses — gone. These are the people who, among other things, make sure expectant mothers get prenatal care and that TB cases are properly managed.

Transitional beds for people recovering from mental illness — gone. Drug and alcohol treatment programs designed to keep people working — gone.

After eight straight years of budget deficits, there’s no obvious fat left to trim. Programs once seen as bare essentials will be dramatically curtailed.

Please read the full editorial here. this nightmare would have been worse had the Santa Clara Valley Health & Hospital System not worked with Deloitte to find $60M worth of savings and efficiencies…but it’s bad enough, and there’s little our county leaders can do about what they must do today.

…and, depending on what happens at the state level with California’s budget crisis, this may not be the end of this story. Watch this space.

Protect children’s health in California!


In my spare time (ha!) I serve on the board of directors for the Santa Clara Family Health Foundation, which helps fund the “Healthy Kids” program for our county. You may know that Santa Clara County was the FIRST in the nation to ensure health coverage for all kids.

That’s all at risk now.

We knew this fight was coming with our state’s budget mess, and fortunately we have an army of fighters. One is Dr. Heidi Roman, a pediatrician at Valley Medical Center. Her article in today’s Mercury News says it so well…in part:

I understand that California legislators face an exceptionally complex and difficult task in balancing the budget. Yet elimination of Healthy Families is not only morally reprehensible, it is fiscally irresponsible. The state currently receives 2-to-1 matching funds from the federal government to administer Healthy Families. This money would be lost. In addition, we know that lack of health insurance leads to poorer health and increased future reliance on the state in the long term.

Read the full article here, and let’s hope the Governor does the same.

Turner turns golf into GOLD!


Turner is a big company with a big heart: Founded in 1902, they build schools, airports…and of course, medical centers!

For the last dozen years or so, Turner has also been supporting the VMC Foundation with their annual golf classic. This is a fun way for the Bay Area team and their subcontractors and partners to raise funds while proving that they spend more time working than playing golf…yes, there was some bad golf played this week at Oakland’s Claremont Country Club, led of course by your Hacker-in-Chief, me.

No matter – at the evening banquet, the VMC Foundation was presented with a BIG check – $58,000, which is the most Turner has ever raised for us in one year. We are absolutely thrilled about this, so please help me give a shout-out of thanks to Kevin Antonelli and his great Turner team for all they did to make this day happen.

VMC Foundation Water: Good for you AND the planet!


Hey VMC staff…I’m pleased to announce the arrival of VMC Foundation Water!

For now, this unique product is only available in Valley Specialty Center and the AOB, but it’s coming soon to a Valley Health Center near you assuming the response is positive.

We hope it will be, and here are a few reasons why: First, VMC Foundation Water Bottles are not your typical plastic; they are plant-based, and biodegradable and compostable in commercial facilities! Just place your empties in our normal recycle bins, and they’ll be separated off site.

Second, we should be drinking more water. As part of the “Soda Free Summer” campaign, our County Public Health Department encourages us to “rethink our drink” as we see the effects of sugary beverages on our community’s weight and health. The VMC Foundation is proud to partner with BANPAC, Kaiser, and others to ensure these messages get out far and wide.

Third, every bottle sold benefits the VMC Foundation, which benefits YOU! What could be better? We hope you enjoy the convenience of VMC Foundation Water, and hope this trend in plant-based packaging starts replacing some of the plastic that’s filling up our planet at an alarming rate.

You see, more than sixty million plastic bottles wind up in our landfills every day. We’re proud to NOT be contributing – so drink up…to our health!