UC Board of Regents meeting begins with discussion on health care

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The UC Board of Regents’ Committee on Health Services discussed on Tuesday the ongoing issue of how the university aims to decrease the cost of services while increasing the quality of patient care.

On the first day of the board’s three-day meeting at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus, the committee outlined how different UC health centers are cutting costs and discussed the importance of federal healthcare legislation.

In the face of federal budget cuts, Jack Stobo, the university’s senior vice president for health sciences and services, said there is an “entrepreneurial spirit in UC health” and that the UC is “well poised to address these challenges in a successful way.”

Representatives from the UC Davis, UCLA and UCSF medical centers discussed how they are all beginning to partner with lower-cost facilities to handle many patients with issues regarding primary care, dermatology and sports medicine. This allows the centers to see more patients without using the main hospital facility, according to Claire Pomeroy, vice chancellor for human health sciences at UC Davis.

Additionally, meeting attendees discussed the impact of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 on the number of patients using UC medical centers.

According to UC Associate Vice President of Health Sciences and Services Santiago Munoz, the act, regardless of current court debates, will provide expanded coverage to millions more people.

However, a few meeting attendees questioned whether the act would actually result in an increase in the number of people using UC medical centers.

Bahar Navab, president of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly, said she has several concerns regarding the financial model for the university’s health system and that she would like to see more student involvement.

“We would like to encourage the regents to engage students and staff in these conversations to not only understand these (financial) models but also putting some guarantees to students that these costs won’t come out of SHIP or change student fees,” Navab said.

The regents’ meeting will continue Wednesday and will include a discussion on restructuring UC Berkeley’s housing debt, among other issues.

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