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.”