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

Stupid Roomba, Smart MRI

I love technology, whether it is in my home or on any of NorthBay Healthcare's campuses. However, it is important that technology serve us and not the other way around.

For instance, I recently purchased the newest Roomba model for my home. Roomba is a self-propelled little disk-like object which functions as a robot vacuum cleaner. I decided we need one because try as we might, my wife and I could not keep ahead of our two miniature Schnauzers who are always tracking things into our house with their Velcro-like fur.


A Passion for Asparagus

Brace yourself, I saw another movie this past weekend about restaurants and food. It was a fitting coda to several other incidents I experienced involving customer service. Or, as I like to call it: Delivering "wow."

The movie, "The Hundred Foot Journey," concerned an Indian family from Mumbai whose restaurant had been destroyed as a result of political turmoil. The patriarch, having seen his wife die in the burning restaurant, decided to take his family on a tour of France to find a new venue. His three adult children and their two younger siblings reluctantly came along.



As I recently wrote, beware of the various organizations which issue ratings or rankings of hospitals. They usually base their ratings on limited data sets which may not represent a hospital's total patient population, then combine this suspect quantitative information with very soft qualitative measures like "reputation."


The Beauty Contest

Every year, with great fanfare, a national magazine publishes its rankings of "Best Hospitals" covering a variety of hospital specialties. Sometimes the list of "best" for a particular specialty contains head scratchers, as in, "You have to be kidding."


Exercising Diligence

Within the next three months members of our boards of directors will be asked to approve a 110,000-square-foot NorthBay Wellness Center to be built on the NorthBay VacaValley Hospital campus. About half of the facility will be devoted to something unique to Solano County: a three-story medical fitness center.


Fly Western Health Advantage

Is Western Health Advantage, the health plan owned by NorthBay Healthcare, Dignity Health and UC Davis Health System, the Southwest Airlines of health plans?

You know, great service, competitive prices and a different, better way of doing things.


A Good Investment

For some time NorthBay Healthcare has been working with other healthcare systems and interested public agencies to develop a regional health information exchange - an HIE. This is not to be confused with the Obamacare state and federal insurance exchanges. The objective is to create a way for healthcare providers to share vital information about patients they may share.


Still to Soon to Tell

So what has been in the news lately?

Obamacare may or may not be in the beginning of a death spiral, at least in those states that do not have a state exchange like Covered California. Recent conflicting federal appeal court decisions seem destined to spur yet another Supreme Court review.


Not a Passing Fancy

NorthBay Healthcare recently attracted attention when the American College of Surgeons (ACS) announced it had "verified" that NorthBay Medical Center met its rigorous standards to be a Level II trauma center. Such verification by the ACS is prestigious.

This was another first for NorthBay Healthcare.


On Being Non-Essential

Covered California, the agency overseeing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare"), last week released a list of "essential community providers" (ECPs). Covered California is the mechanism that can provide access to health plans for uninsured people who now are mandated to have insurance.