About 5,200 patients were seen at the Capital Region clinic in California last year.
"We're seeing a good connectivity to California that we don't want to change," President Gaspare Calvaruso about 20 gathered Sept. 19 at the California home of Rich and Pam Green.
The local clinic was established in 1994 and has five employees with two doctors. It is one of 16 clinics in the Capital Region network.
In the last year, the local clinic has added Dr. Michael Roach part-time with Dr. Jan Finney, full-time, and has made some aesthetic improvements.
The Capital Region Medical Center Community Outreach meetings have been ongoing for more than a decade, with the goal of updating the communities with a clinic and opening a dialogue with individuals there, said Carlos Graham, chairman of the outreach committee for the hospital's board of directors.
Calvaruso reviewed the hospital's fiscal year 2018 strategic plan with those attending from California and Tipton. Issues the medical group will focus on in the coming year include customer service, transition of care, precertification processes, cost structure and culture.
He also noted some of the hospital's latest improvements, including robotic surgery, which started in May, providing better range and dexterity for surgeons in fields like urology and gynecology.
In the near future, the hospital will reconfigure its emergency department to improve the patient triage process and will streamline its electroinc health records into a single program.
Overall, the hospital saw a good year, Calvaruso said. Financially, it was good, something not all hospitals can say at this time, he said.
It has been recognized for excellence, including emergency room wait times that average 7 minutes less than the state average and patient satisfaction ratings 7 percent higher that the state average.
Those who attended the meeting had several questions regarding Medicare/Medicaid, Community Health Centers and misuse of emergency rooms.
Calvaruso said the hospital wrote of about $13 million in uncompensated care last year, but that is only about 5 percent of its services and they have an obligation to see anyone who comes in to the emergency department.
"It's a broken system," he said.
As dollars shrink and growth is limited in the healthcare market, Calvaruso said Capital Region will begin to shift its focus to keeping people health, although they are "not paid that way yet."
For now, access is the best solution, he said, such as the local clinics or the urgent care clinic open until 7 p.m. at the HyVee in Jefferson City.