When history looks back on COVID-19 and tries to analyze the impact of the pandemic, it will be difficult to truly understand and measure the suffering and economic injury that has crippled many communities and industries. One branch of local government has shouldered substantial financial loss and human tragedy in our public healthcare system. In California alone, there are 21 public healthcare systems in areas that serve over 80% of the State’s population, according to the California Association of Public Hospital and Healthcare Systems.
With the pandemic disproportionately affecting low-income communities, the pressure on our public health system has been challenging on two fronts: economically and operationally. Local governments have experienced significant budget strains, limiting the financial resources available for our public health systems. But when the emergency germinates from a health crisis, the needs placed on the frontline healthcare providers increases exponentially, causing the perfect storm of increased need with diminished resources.
Many of our public healthcare agencies have found innovative and, in some cases, back-to-basic solutions to manage budget limitations and provide the community with desperately needed healthcare services. To borrow an unofficial slogan from the Marines, local government healthcare organizations were able to “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome” and provided many examples of extraordinary service during the most challenging health crisis of our time.
One budget support tool available to public agencies is the California-based business intelligence firm ProcureAmerica. “We have supported local government healthcare organizations with cost reduction services for many years,” said ProcureAmerica CEO Fred Armendariz. “As such, we were uniquely prepared to step in and assist with some of their budget challenges during the pandemic. It’s been an honor to support public healthcare agencies and the communities they serve.”
With a client base that includes Kaiser Permanente, Cedars-Sinai, Adventist Health and many more private providers, combined with public sector clients such as UCI Health, Contra Costa Health Services, and Orange County Health Care Agency, ProcureAmerica was able to draw on a wide range of experience to deliver immediate and significant impact in support of healthcare agencies during the pandemic. Further benefit is realized in that ProcureAmerica’s services require almost no client staff support; making the cost savings delivered a pure net-add to the bottom line.
“El Centro Regional Medical Center has been hit hard with COVID related challenges,” said Alec Hendry, Associate Administrator of Finance. “ProcureAmerica stepped in and not only found desperately needed cost reduction, but also helped us with managing suppliers so that we could focus resources on our patients. Great partners show their value during challenging times!
In challenging times local government always finds innovative and collaborative ways to complete their mission. Public healthcare systems heroically “improvised, adapted and overcame” to deliver not only badly needed medical service, but also stability and confidence. The battle is not yet over, but we now can see some light and have the healthcare community to thank.