Healthcare Leaders Present a Framework to Address Top Regional Issues

Patrick George, Partner – KP Public Affairs

By Patrick George, Partner, KP Public Affairs · (916) 498-7731,

Leaders from four major Sacramento-area healthcare organizations — Sutter Health, Dignity Health Medical Foundation, UC Davis Health and Kaiser Permanente — showed how collaboration and communication can work to the benefit of each organization as well as the broader community at the Sacramento Business Journal’s Health Care Leadership Forum on February 6, 2020.

The event, moderated by Sacramento Business Journal Editor-in-Chief Adam Steinhauer, showcased each organization’s individual priorities and future plans. Though differing in style and content, speakers also delivered a cohesive vision on how they are addressing some of the Sacramento region’s most pressing issues. With inspiring words, senior-level executives explained how they were working on homelessness, food deserts, access to care for vulnerable populations and a dire shortage of healthcare workers.

At the center of each speaker’s message was the need for public awareness and education. For local business, civic and elected leaders, there are valuable lessons in how they are presenting their plans and aiming for success through collaboration. Here are some examples of how each speaker communicated approaches pointing to a broader vision:

Tailor messaging to aid in healthcare worker shortage. Sutter Roseville Medical Center CEO Brian Alexander described how the organization has introduced multifaceted ways to recruit primary care physicians. They aim to expand in areas such as Jackson and Santa Rosa and are successfully enlisting clinicians to serve in rural areas by showing how physicians can practice medicine and have life they want to lead.

Prepare for emergencies but maintain message discipline. Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente Trish Rodriguez described how the health plan has deep experience with infectious-disease outbreak preparation dating back to H1N1 and Ebola. Now, patients are concerned about Coronavirus, but Kaiser is not losing sight of education around the much more prevalent risk of Influenza A and B and the need for patients to receive their flu shot.

Press the boundaries of technology-driven communications. UC Davis Health CEO Dr. David Lubarsky described how the health system saw opportunities to improve care and cut costs by instituting greater electronic communication with patients. Lubarsky predicted that UC David Health System could cut 50-60% of visits by instituting e-consults between patient and physician online in the place of in-person follow up visits with greater convenience and care. 

Frame the message pointing to a broader context.  Like a frame to a portrait, the frame around the message can be as impactful as the message itself. CEO of Dignity Health Medical Foundation Mark Behl described how addressing healthcare in Sacramento is more than strictly providing healthcare services. He placed equal emphasis on addressing contextual issues such as identifying populations vulnerable to homelessness and the rising costs to live in Sacramento.

Sacramento is unique and fortunate to have multiple major health systems working together. These organizations have created a framework for other business leaders, social services, local government, civic leaders and the media to communicate a collaborative vision. As Sacramento and the surrounding area considers how to move forward addressing major issues, the healthcare industry is modeling how to project approaches that can be come policies that can produce results.


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