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Kaweah Health Streamline Care

A Foundation to Strengthen and Streamline Care

On Nov. 1, 2015, Visalia Medical Clinic became an affiliate of the new Kaweah Health Medical Foundation. Directors of the boards of Kaweah Health and Visalia Medical Clinic created this nonprofit organization to strengthen and streamline patient care. Though new to the Visalia area, the concept of a medical foundation has taken hold across the nation.

“The healthcare industry has undergone great changes, and will continue to change,” said Richard Strid, Chief Executive Officer at Kaweah Health Medical Foundation. “With this affiliation, we are better positioned to adapt to these changes while continuing to deliver high-quality care.”

As healthcare services transition to a value-based model, medical foundations play an important role by allowing hospitals and health systems to own corporations that provide physician services with integrated systems for greater efficiency. Affiliated doctors can focus on seeing patients while their foundations handle the business of insurance and regulations.

Supporting Local Physicians

Lindsay Mann, Former Chief Executive Officer at Kaweah Health, first began meeting with area physicians in 2012 to discuss the idea of developing a foundation. With greater collaboration between the hospital and local physicians, patients benefit from opportunities for unified scheduling, easy access to medical records and better coordination of services. The doctors at Visalia Medical Clinic seized the opportunity to enhance care in our community by helping to form the Foundation.

“One of our primary objectives for the Foundation is to support physicians in their practice of medicine,” said Mann. “We’re helping to ensure the structures are in place for an integrated delivery system and the best possible outcomes.”

“VMC is the largest multispecialty group in the Central Valley,” said Strid, using the familiar abbreviation for Visalia Medical Clinic. “We have 55 providers in a multitude of specialties. And now with the Foundation, VMC and Kaweah Health are an even stronger team, with well-coordinated and convenient access to primary care physicians, specialists and hospital services from diagnostics to follow up.”

Facilitating Physician Recruitment

Bringing quality primary care and specialty care doctors to the Valley can be difficult, especially with the national shortage of physicians. However, the graduate medical education program at Kaweah Health is attracting dozens of doctors-in-training to our community.

Residents are generally some of the smartest and most competitive medical school graduates. Kaweah Health has six approved residency programs: emergency medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, surgery, transitional year and neurology. The first graduating class of residents will complete training July 1, 2016. This class includes both family medicine and emergency medicine doctors.

“When residents finish their program they will look for a place to establish their practices,” said Mann. “We want them to think first of the community they’ve come to know over the past three to five years. Many will say, ‘I can see raising my family in Visalia,’ and choose to stay.”

Establishing the Kaweah Health Medical Foundation has made our community an even more attractive choice for these new doctors. “Most young physicians want to go to a large practice rather than going on their own,” said Strid. “They want the stability and the support of a connection with a foundation.”

“The possibility of joining a large medical institution and a large medical group tells new physicians they will have access to greater financial resources and the support they will need to build a successful practice,” said Mann. Physician practices affiliated with the Foundation will partner with the hospital to ensure access to innovative tools – from cutting-edge medical equipment to state-of-the-art information technologies. “We are looking to recruit astute, new physicians wanting to build their practices within a well-developed health system.”

The Foundation will recruit strategically to ensure every specialty is represented. “We have excellent caliber and good breadth of care in our community now,” said Mann. “We will identify any missing specialties and recruit as needed. We’re working not only to ensure breadth of specialties, but also the depth necessary for timely care,” he said. “If we say, ‘The doctor can see you in two months,’ that’s not good enough. We need well-qualified physicians present in sufficient number.”

The Kaweah Health Medical Foundation is key to meeting the need for general and specialty care today and in the future. “Having high-caliber care available to our community within a multispecialty clinic allows for multiple medical perspectives,” said Mann. “And that’s a powerful way to enhance patient care.”