We healthcare wonks spend a lot of time talking about the importance of “systems of care.” It’s a phrase that – a lot like “quality improvement” – is jarringly meaningless to the general public and should be banned from all of our talking points and press interviews.
But the idea behind the jargon – that healthcare delivery should be coordinated, continuous, and easily navigable for all patients – is hugely important. It’s they key to making the most of scarce healthcare resources and providing patients (particularly low-income patients who move between County and nonprofit providers) excellent care.
Perhaps no one has done more to promote cooperation and integration of the healthcare delivery systems in Contra Costa than Julie Freestone at CCHS. Working behind the scenes as the right-hand woman to Health Services Director Dr. Bill Walker, she has consistently bridged the gap between community clinics and the County’s health centers and helped keep everyone's eye on the ball: providing excellent care for vulnerable populations.
She has been a particular champion of healthcare systems in West County - serving on the board of directors of RYSE, and helping lead stakeholders in planning for implementation of the Healthy Richmond project.
So we were pretty bummed, on behalf of community clinics and on behalf of ourselves, at the news of Julie's retirement from CCHS (her last day was Friday). We'll miss working with such a committed advocate for the community.
We do wish her the best of retirements, though if we had to guess, we'd guess she's not going far from the world of healthcare. She is, after all, one of us: a wonk to the core.
Cheers and congratulations from all of us at the Consortium, Julie!