Kaiser Permanente Orange County – not your grandfather's hospital room
“We’re doing heart bypasses on patients in their 80s and 90s
because people are enjoying quality lives and living longer,” he says.
“I may treat an 85-year-old who just returned from traveling and is
still involved in the workforce. It all comes down to a patient’s
physical age, not chronological age.”
Challenges ahead The downside to healthcare in O.C. is that, like in any large county, it is faced with its share of problems.
are areas in which the quality of healthcare could be deemed less than
ideal due to lack of access,” says Affable. “Some people lack access to
doctors and quality hospitals, and so they use emergency rooms [for
noncritical healthcare] instead.”
Additionally, the high
cost of living in O.C. is no secret. “It’s a difficult place in which to
do business, from a financial perspective,” says Afable. “Despite this
fact, the talent is now here.”
Many healthcare professionals
wouldn’t dream of moving. The geography and weather make it a highly
desirable place to live, says Dr. James J. Strebig, an internist and
concierge physician in Irvine.
“Combine that with health institutions of excellence, and Orange County continues to attract physicians,” he says.
the other hand, low reimbursements, HMOs and PPOs that began in the
late 1980s and early 1990s make it more challenging to practice
“The many regulations and thousands of laws
interfere with the practice,” says Strebig. “Between the government and
the insurance companies, it makes medicine less enjoyable to practice
Every industry has its regulations to some
degree, but it’s really excessive in healthcare and didn’t always used
to be that way, he says.
Across the nation, significant
changes are occurring in the healthcare landscape, and we are
experiencing that here in Orange County as well, says Cripe.
hospitals are merging, physician practices are being purchased by
hospitals and health plans, and consolidation is occurring among health
plans and health systems,” she says. Cripe predicts that fiscal
realities will continue to drive these changes.
Belmont agrees that healthcare is heading toward greater access and a focus on preventive care.
Supreme Court’s recent decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act
[widely referred to as “Obamacare”] reflects this,” she says. “We’re
moving away from a traditional system of healthcare delivery that is
based on providing patients with more tests and procedures to one that
emphasizes patient outcomes.”
The longevity of the providers
in Orange County attests to the dedication of its people, says
Montalvo. St. Joseph’s healthcare system is celebrating 100 years in
California. Hoag has been around since 1952.
“We’ve been in the community, we’re part of the community and we’re not leaving the community,” says Montalvo.