Written by The Business Journal Staff
Pete Hernandez, Director of Operations
What we do:
HealthCare California is a Medicare-certified home health agency serving the Central Valley. We provide skilled nursing and therapy services to homebound patients based upon a physician’s order. With offices in Fresno and Visalia, we cover the largest area among all central valley home health providers from Atwater to Porterville and most rural areas in between.
I attended both Fresno City and Fresno State with an interest in international business.
How long have you lived in the Fresno area and how did you become involved in the health care industry, Pete?
I was born and raised in Fresno. My first health care job was as an intern in the business office at Fresno Community Hospital. From that internship I transitioned into a full-time position as financial counselor. Standing at a patient’s bedside and talking to them about their options to help with hospital bills and seeing the relief and appreciation on their faces made me realize health care was where I wanted to be.
Is the need for home health care strong in the local area, Pete?
There is a huge need for home health in the Central valley. A lot of physicians forget about home health and most of the time patients don’t get the proper care they need at home. Family members take their loved ones home after a hospital stay and are soon overwhelmed because they are not sure how to properly care for them. On the nursing side, home health offers such services as wound care, IV infusion therapy, enteral feeding education and catheter/colostomy management. Most patients think this can only be done in a hospital. As a result, emergency rooms are overflowing with patients who could have been cared for at home by a home health nurse.
It’s very satisfying to hear about patients who have discharged from our services and are now doing much better than when first admitted. Our goal is to teach patients, family and/or caregivers how to properly care for the patient at home. We want to teach independence over time rather than dependency on us. We also want to ensure the patient is safe at home and receives the proper care to continue staying home safely.
The family is a big part of this success so we work with them to ensure they feel confident with the care they are providing. It’s always rewarding to hear that sigh of relief when you are able to help a patient or family member better understand their current situation and a path to progress.
What is your key business strategy, Pete?
Providing the best care to all patients. In the current climate of Medicare cuts, it is very important we deliver the best care possible to achieve the best patient outcomes. Hospitals are now being penalized for certain readmissions within 30 days. Since home health costs Medicare a fraction of a hospital admission, keeping patients in their homes via skilled home health services will reduce Medicare costs significantly.
What was your first job, Pete?
My family was made up of migrant workers and my grandfather managed many farms throughout the Central Valley. My summers were spent working out in the fields filling sacks of garlic or onions. I was happy going out to do that type of work because I thought it was better than doing yard work at home or cleaning my room.
What do you like to do in your spare time, Pete?
I enjoy spending time at home relaxing and entertaining friends and family. One of my favorite things to do is cook. I like watching cooking shows or reading cooking magazines and then trying out the recipes. My friends and family also enjoy this because they get to try what I cook.
I remember the meals my grandmother used to prepare for parties or family gatherings and how she used to cook all day. The food always tasted great and she would always say it was cooked right and with love. So I try to apply that same concept of hers to my own cooking and entertaining.