Why is VMC so great? Teamwork!

Mature Students Sitting Together Working on Computers

It’s not every day that you get a ringing endorsement from one of Silicon Valley’s most influential companies, but today is the day.

Facebook (you’ve heard of them?) has a product manager whose son spent weeks at VMC’s renowned Burn Center earlier this year. That’s a hard place to be, obviously, but the care you can expect to get there if you ever need it is fantastic.

So much so, and so impressed was Ms. Budaraju, that she wrote a piece on what she learned about teamwork from the Burn Center. It’s a marvelous and well-written piece, and the information contained crosses nearly every job, every sector I can think of.

So, I invite you to read her excellent post and apply what she learned – what VMC’s Burn Center exhibits – to YOUR work. I know I will!

Medical Legal Partnership Opens at VMC’s new Health Center!

The alert reader of this blog will remember two years ago when we celebrated the five-years of VMC’s Medical Legal Partnership Clinic. This is the innovative idea that, sometimes, a lawyer can solve your medical problem better than a doctor!

Intrigued by that concept? So were we in 2009, and so was FIRST 5 Santa Clara County which funded this great partnership and kept it going for five years.

Sometimes, it takes that long to prove a concept…but the good news is that in Santa Clara County, especially at Valley Medical Center, a proven concept leads to my favorite word: SUSTAINABILITY.

After hundreds of patients helped, fueled by donations from FIRST 5, the leadership of VMC asked the County to make the Medical Legal Partnership a permanent part of its budget, and to give it a home in the new Valley Health Center Downtown.

…and that happened, and today was Opening Day! A huge congratulations to Dr. Leanna Botkin and the team at the Law Foundation Silicon Valley’s “Legal Advocates for Children and Youth” for demonstrating how this collaboration can make such a positive difference for patients who often have little recourse to improve a situation for themselves or their children.

Click here to learn more about the Medical Legal Partnership, and here to learn more about Valley Health Center Downtown, the latest jewel serving the population of our country’s tenth largest city.

Stem cell transplant at VMC makes history

Jake stem cell

photo by Julie Haener, KTVU

Last week, Jake Javier became the 5th person in the world to receive ten million stem-derived cells directly into his spinal cord, in a trial that the VMC Foundation has helped move forward.

Led by VMC’s renowned Rehabilitation Center, the trail is a result of years of work that has made Santa Clara County’s safety-net hospital a focal point for stem cell research.

While much is still to be learned, VMC physicians hope to blaze a trail to a future where stem cells can treat diseases and injuries that at present have no cure.  From paralysis to brain injuries, the potential use of these therapies are vast.  VMC will continue to lead, and the Foundation – through fundraising and administrative support – will be part of the team to help make it happen.

For more information on the trail, visit the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine website here.

VMC staff raises $2,000 to help end sexual assault

Members of VMC’s team: Matt Gerrior, Tau Gaoteote, Chris Wilder, Jerry Wright, Gilbert Gutierrez, Steven Hernandez, James Crew, Paul Lorenz, and Erick Bourassa.

On Wednesday, June 22, a team of male VMC staff participated in the YWCA’s 14th annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes fundrasier at Santana Row. The event, in which men walk a mile in high-heeled shoes, is a lighthearted way to increase awareness about the very serious issue of violence against women.

From the YWCA: “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes may look like a stunt with men racing in heels, but it’s actually a statement about men’s roles in ending violence against women and drawing attention to the issue that is connected to strict gender roles and expectations of men.”

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes has become an international event that engages men in raising awareness and funds to stop sexual assault and domestic violence. Funds raised from Walk a Mile in Her Shoes make it possible for YWCA Silicon Valley to provide critical response, intervention, and comprehensive support services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

The VMC team, led by Jerry Wright, raised $2,000 toward the $68,000 total raised by all participants this year. Congratulations and thank you to all who participated in this important community event!

Our new Annual Report is here!

I’m proud and pleased to share our just-finished Annual Report with you! The report details the VMC Foundation’s work in calendar year 2015 and includes our audited financial statements.

More importantly, you can “meet” some of our generous donors, learn about our programmatic work, and see the real impact of philanthropy on the health of Silicon Valley. Just click here to see the report….it looks great in full-screen mode.

Odds are, if you’re reading this, you arannual report 2015e a donor, a member of the team at Valley Medical Center, or both. That means we couldn’t have done any of this without you. Thank you.

Join us this Saturday in celebration of the Downtown Health Center

downtown clinic exteriorAt Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), we strive to make high quality healthcare readily
accessible to all residents of Santa Clara County. This week, we take one more step to improving access to care with the grand opening of Valley Health Ce
nter Downtown on Saturday, June 11th from 9 AM – noon. SCVMC’s beautiful new health center is located on 777 East Santa Clara Street in downtown San Jose.

Many activities are planned to celebrate this opening on Saturday morning.

  • Local firefighters will serve a delicious free pancake breakfast to attendees.
  • Tours of the facility will be available throughout the morning.
  • Elected officials and other guest speakers will be attendance to warmly welcome the

Community to our spacious state-of-the-art healthcare facility.

  • We will have over 20 booths with information, games, and other activities for children and families.
  • The Santa Clara County Sheriff s office will present one of their fascinating search and rescue boats.
  • Guests can participate in a chance to win a free prize.

Our dedicated care team will provide a variety of services, including, but not limited to Urgent Care (open 7 days per week from 8 AM – 10 PM), Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Women’s Health, select Specialty Care, and Behavioral Health. We will also offer onsite pharmacy, laboratory, and radiology services. Urgent care, and supporting ancillary services will officially open on Monday, June 13th.  All other services will be rolled out beginning in late June.

Valley Health Center Downtown has the capacity to serve as a Medical Home for over 30,000 individuals, providing quality and accessible care as part of a fully integrated and comprehensive health care system.

For many years SCVMC has worked to foster close collaboration with our local community, community health partners and advocates, elected officials and the Measure A Oversight Committee to support and guide the creation of this new community asset in the heart of downtown San Jose.

Welcome, Valley Health Center Downtown!

IMG_5318It’s a very, very big week for Valley Medical Center.

After more than a decade, on the site of the former San Jose Medical Center, in the downtown core of the 10th largest city in the United States, medical care is happening. Yes, Valley Health Center Downtown is OPENING!

For folks new in town, a little history:

In the winter of 2004, San Jose Medical Center closed abruptly after 80 years of service. A coalition of downtown activists tried—and failed—to prevent the closure, and then quickly turned their energy toward the future. The question: What could we do to ensure that downtown residents, regardless of insurance status, had somewhere to go for urgent and ongoing medical care?

Meanwhile, up the road at Valley Medical Center, the impact was felt as twice the number of patients began arriving in the Emergency Department than before the closure. Then three times the number.

The team at VMC’s ED worked brilliantly to manage the patient demand. At the same time, a growing coalition began crafting a plan to re-build part of VMC and build another health center downtown.

The opportunity came during the presidential election year of 2008, and the coalition moved with purpose. Measure A was crafted, and long story short, we WON in November. This secured the $50M it would take to build a state of the art health center at 777 East Santa Clara Street where San Jose Medical Center once stood.

And now, eight years later and on budget, Valley Health Center Downtown is serving patients. Last Wednesday we held a VIP and donor reception to thank everyone who made it all possible. The event included many attendees who were there, eleven years ago, working to save what ultimately couldn’t be saved. It was an emotional event and included scores of donors, elected officials, builders and medical professionals. Truly a wonderful evening.

You may think I’m “burying the lead” here, but I’m not. The VMC Foundation throws good parties, sure, but the most important thing is that the mission of Valley Medical Center is being actualized in downtown San Jose…and I am so happy and so proud. For all who made it happen: THANK YOU.

If you would like to be a part of the excitement, a grand opening celebration happens Saturday June 11 at 9am, on site at 777 East Santa Clara Street in San Jose. Free to attend, lots of fun for the whole family – c’mon down!

Announcing the 2016 Physicians & Philanthropy Award Winners!

P&P2016-63

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 Physicians & Philanthropy Awards: Dr. Timothy Ong, Dr. Antonia Charles, and Dr. Richard Silberstein (L-R).

Each year, the VMC Foundation honors three of our physician partners with the Robert Violante Physician Leadership Award. The award is named for VMC Foundation founding board member, Dr. Robert Violante, to celebrate the dedication, partnership, and unique contributions of physicians who keep the VMC Foundation strong and growing.

This year, we were proud to recognize Dr. Tim Ong for his dedication to VMC’s Residency Program, which has inspired a number of charitable gifts to the Jensen Medical Residency Education Fund housed at the VMC Foundation. Dr. Antonia Charles was honored for her past service as a VMC Foundation board member, her founding of the Reach Out and Read program at VMC and associated fundraising to the tune of $1.3M, and for her leadership in helping the VMC Foundation design and launch its employee giving program. Dr. Silberstein was celebrated for his long-term support of the VMC Foundation as a champion within VMC and the community, his consistent attendance at Foundation events, and for his significant personal contributions to the Foundation over the past decade.

Read more about the awards in a great Mercury News piece by Sal Pizarro here.

Congratulations once again to Tim, Antonia, and Rich!

Healthcare philanthropy should help everyone, not just VIPs

carson

At some hospitals, donors practically get their own butler. At VMC, the goal is to provide the same great care to all.

One major reason I joined the VMC Foundation 12 years ago is that Valley Medical Center cares for anyone, regardless of status. It remains the cornerstone of my commitment.

Furthermore, the quality of care doesn’t vary according to any sort of “wallet biopsy”. The woman living in a shelter gets the same world-class care as the woman living in a Monte Sereno mansion.

You might think this is a matter of basic human dignity, but in fact, this is not the way it goes everywhere. Some hospitals – more than you might suspect – do play favorites, and do so as a matter of policy and practice. “Concierge service” or other VIP treatment of wealthy patients is not uncommon…and I’ve lost count of the number of seminars/conference sessions/webinars I’ve attended that encourage we medical charities to push for this.

As last week’s NY Times’ op-ed points out, this makes obvious sense on one level: Treat your wealthy patients better, and philanthropy flows. But, as the article also reveals, this can also lead to worse care…not just for the non-wealthy patients, but for the wealthy ones too!

It’s also unfair.

And it’s the last thing you’ll find going on at Valley Medical Center.

Read the full article here, and ask yourself: What are the values you’d prefer your medical care team believe in?

Happy 30th Birthday Valley Health Plan!

Chris Wilder Flu Shot 2013

Long story short: When I first started here at the VMC Foundation, the job afforded no health coverage. Which was ironic, don’t you think?

My wife’s company did, and I was already on her plan. I don’t remember what it was, or any of my doctors’ names. That’s because the few times I ever went to see one I felt like a number (at best) or an imposition (at worst). Nobody ever got to know me, or talked to me about my overall health. Many of us have experienced the “five minute doctor visit”…and until 2006 I thought that was normal.

That was the year the VMC Foundation became a true “employer” and had to decide what kind of company we were going to be. If we were going to hire staff, we needed to offer benefits—and they’d better be good, since that’s a core value that the VMC Foundation and Valley Medical Center holds dear. We were finally ready to talk to Valley Health Plan about doing something they’d never done before: Offering coverage to a private non-profit. We were the first, and suddenly, my health care was with VHP and Valley Medical Center!

What. A. Difference.

My doctor, Chris Snow, asked me questions, and not just about me, but my whole family. Some of them went like this: “Why are you taking cholesterol medicine when you’re vegan, and when everyone on both sides of your family live into their 90’s or longer?” Other questions, like “How much time to you spend sitting at your desk?” or “What would it take to schedule some more cardio?” demanded that I truly think seriously about the answers – because by then, I had come to like and trust Dr. Snow and I wanted him to be proud of me.

Not long after, Chris Snow moved on…but not his caring manner. He left that for Dr. Bob Horowitz who inherited me next. Just like Snow, Dr. Horowitz took the time to learn about me and me about him. Rarely, he would refer me to others throughout the VHP system and always, I met world-class providers and Nurse Practitioners and X-Ray Techs and – well, everyone really. Even when I showed up at 3am with the weirdest emergency I’d ever had, I was met with compassion and technical brilliance. I still have ten fingers as proof.

Over the years, as the VMC Foundation grew from a tiny nonprofit to one more robust, Valley Health Plan has also grown. What a thrill it was when they were selected to be part of the Covered California health exchange! Suddenly, our “little” VHP was one of just a handful of choices that anyone could choose through our state’s exchange. For me, it was no choice at all; when was the last time you got to interact personally with the CEO of your health plan? For me, and “super-local” VHP, it happens frequently.

Here’s a bonus: Whenever I get medication or visit my doctor, I’m not asked for a co-pay. This isn’t always the case, but at Valley Health Plan, it certainly is the norm. Other perks include acupuncture, the widest array of specialists for whatever might ail me, MyHealth Online, and because I work here, running into my doctor in the hallway all the time. Okay, that last part has its downsides, but the occasional “getting those 10,000 steps in, Chris?” do have an effect.

And the result? I’m a healthier person for my VHP membership. I know it, and I appreciate it. Happy birthday, VHP. I’m writing this on my 48th, and I expect you and I will both have a lot more birthdays to share.