Gary J. Passama, President and Chief Executive Officer of NorthBay Healthcare System since 1981, is a veteran of more than 40 years in Northern California health care. He has served as faculty and speaker for programs of the American Hospital Association, Hospital Council of Northern California and the Medical Group Management Association. He is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
From the CEO

Retailing Bigness

Retail medical clinics were back in the news briefly last week as the big guy from Oakland announced they would be experimenting with opening several such clinics in conjunction with a large discount big-box chain in Southern California.

To be snarky, now you will be able to have both your credit card information and health record hacked in one convenient location.


A Different Kind of Turkey

It has been some time since I last ruminated about Obamacare. In California the initial rollout last year went better than in most of the country. So this Thanksgiving week I guess that is something for which to be thankful. 

My biggest concern is that most people don't really understand how much of a turkey this legislation is. Without significant changes in the next few years, we will be eating a rotten bird.


Blowing Our Horn

Yesterday I was tootling down I-80 at the speed limit, whatever it is.Flashing in front of me by the auto mall in Fairfield was a huge electronic billboard with this message: Solano's Only Baby Friendly Hospital -- NorthBay Healthcare.

My heart burst with pride. I may have even slowed a little to look at the sign more closely, which is probably why the truck driver behind me honked. Or maybe he too noticed the message about the "Baby Friendly" obstetrics department at NorthBay Medical Center and he was honking his approval.



Last week was a sad week for my family. My oldest son and his wife made the difficult decision to put Indy, their 2 ½-year-old "English Cream" golden retriever, to sleep.

My wife and I grieved along with them. Indy spent weekends with us while my son was working and his wife was caring for their 4-month-old daughter.


Healthy Election

Propositions 45 and 46 bit the dust in last week's election. They represented two very cynical attempts by narrow, special interests to fool the electorate. Their tactics did not work.

Proposition 45 was a bid by the state insurance commissioner, a Democrat, to gain authority to approve or deny health plan rate increases. Assisting him in this endeavor was a self-styled "consumer" group headquartered in Southern California.


Zig Zag

Sometimes you can step in it without meaning to do so.

I did just that during our monthly NorthBay management team meeting when I called attention, somewhat jocularly, to several recent articles in scientific and medical journals calling into question the idea that low-fat diets are good for you.


Where is Healthcare's Uber?

If you are in a city like Washington D.C. or more locally, San Francisco, the easiest way to get around is public transportation (like the Metro in D.C. and BART in SF) or taxis, which are the most flexible, but typically the most expensive and sometimes hard to find.

In D.C. recently I decided to experiment with a new disruptive technology accessed through an app on my iPhone. Uber is the app's name and it is disrupting the taxi industry in large cities. You download the Uber app, register a credit card and then view a map that has little car symbols indicating nearby Uber drivers and their cars.


Revisiting the Brad Pitt Health Plan

Three years ago I wrote about the open enrollment period when healthcare consumers get to choose the health insurance plan they want. Well, much of what I said then is still relevant today.

Allow me to extol the virtues of Western Health Advantage (WHA) and the value a non-profit health plan brings to the market place. Remember, WHA is a non-profit plan owned by NorthBay Healthcare, UC Davis and Dignity Health.


A Journey Worth Taking

On April 1 NorthBay Healthcare submitted its "Magnet" document to the American Nursing Credentialing Center, the ANCC. It was 13.5 inches high and comprised 3,129 pages reflecting more than three years of work by 600 NorthBay RNs as well as other patient care clinical staff.

Achieving nurse Magnet status is exceedingly difficult. In fact, it is so rigorous that most hospitals do not even attempt it. Only about 400 of the nation's 5,000 hospitals have received nursing magnet status. In California only 25 hospitals have been so designated, including eight in the Bay Area and Sacramento region.


Creating Flow

For a three-day period, physicians and staff with NorthBay's Center for Primary Care recently gathered in our Green Valley Conference Center to attend "Creating Flow in the Ambulatory Setting."

Not a title you would see in upcoming attractions at the movie theater, and one that very well masked the creative and diligent work taking place in the workshop.