Walker takes over as chair at Amer­ica’s Es­sen­tial Hos­pi­tals

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS MAKERS -

Who: Dr. Wil­liam Walker, 69

New role: New board chair­man of Amer­ica’s Es­sen­tial Hos­pi­tals, which rep­re­sents the na­tion’s safety-net or­ga­ni­za­tions, ef­fec­tive July 1. Also serves as di­rec­tor of Con­tra Costa Health Ser­vices based in North­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and as health of­fi­cer for Con­tra Costa County. He has been with CCHS for 40 years, start­ing as a staff physi­cian in 1974.

On the ACA and safety-net hos­pi­tals: “We’re look­ing at what the Af­ford­able Care Act means for a lot of us. It’s some­what of a dif­fer­ent story in half of the states that have taken ad­van­tage of the ACA to ex­pand Med­i­caid. But even with the in­fu­sion of federal dol­lars for Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion, by 2024, there will still be about 34 mil­lion unin­sured. Be­cause we’ve been there as the safety-net providers, both for in­pa­tient hospi­tal care and ex­panded out­pa­tient care, we’ll be the source of that unin­sured care con­tin­u­ing for­ward.”

On the pri­mary-care work­force:

“With the ex­pan­sion of care, we’re go­ing to need care providers. We know there’s a loom­ing short­fall of pri­mary-care physi­cians. As a group of hos­pi­tals, we are the main train­ing grounds for those folks. At the same time we want to ex­pand train­ing, we’re deal­ing with federal re­duc­tions in grad­u­ate med­i­cal ed­u­ca­tion, so that’s a ma­jor con­cern to us and should be a con­cern for ev­ery­one. One of the build­ing blocks for fully im­ple­ment­ing the ACA is hav­ing the work­force to do it.”

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