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Barry Arbuckle, PhD, MemorialCare Medical Centers CEO and Immediate Past Chair, California Hospital Association, Speaks Out on California Budget Passage
Date:2/20/2009

Health System Executive Acknowledges 'Tireless Determination' to Finalize California's Budget, Calls on Policymakers, Businesses and Community Leaders to Collaborate to Resolve State Health Crisis

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Following six long weeks of negotiations for California's budget, an agreement has been made. "While passage of the budget averts a fiscal disaster to California, a coalition of policymakers, business, health care and other sectors must press for solutions to the health care crisis," says Barry Arbuckle, PhD, President & CEO, MemorialCare Medical Centers of Southern California and Immediate Past Chair, California Hospital Association.

"The budget agreement reached by California elected officials was difficult, given the current economic downturn and financial challenges that continue to affect California," says Dr. Arbuckle. "MemorialCare recognizes the tireless determination and leadership by the Governor and Legislature to finalize California's budget and although this is not a resolution to California's financial crisis, it is a step in the right direction. Now that an agreement has been made, solutions within the budget, specifically health care, are of great interest to all health care providers and every Californian. MemorialCare will continue to offer its expertise to the legislature and administration to jointly identify long-term solutions to California's broken health care system."

"During this period of severe economic uncertainly, the number of uninsured and underinsured continues to climb," says Dr. Arbuckle. "More than 13 million Californians have either no health insurance or inadequate health coverage; and most of our state's nearly 500 hospitals are witnessing overcrowded ERs, inadequate reimbursement and unfunded mandates. Over the last decade more than 70 hospitals and 90 ERs have closed in our state, placing a tremendous burden on all health care facilities."

"California is home to scores of life-saving and life-sustaining medical innovations, the nation's best academic institutions that train thousands of health professionals annually, and the finest hospitals in America. Unless we quickly address California's health care crisis in a deliberate and comprehensive manner, we will see many more hospitals and emergency rooms close and services decreased. It is time for all Californians to come together with elected officials, business and community leaders, health plans and health care organizations to find a solution that will ensure everyone in our state has access to high quality health care close to home," says Dr. Arbuckle.

MemorialCare, a nationally recognized, not-for-profit health care system with top ratings for quality care and safety, is dedicated to improving the health and well being of individuals, families and our communities through innovation and the quest for continued excellence. MemorialCare Medical Centers in Los Angeles and Orange counties include Long Beach Memorial, Orange Coast Memorial in Fountain Valley, Anaheim Memorial, Saddleback Memorial in Laguna Hills and San Clemente, and Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach.


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