RENTON, WA - Today Rich Roodman, CEO for Valley Medical Center (VMC) turns 62 years old and reflects on his 27 years at the helm of the largest public hospital district in Washington State, and his eligibility to join a program for senior citizens that he started 24 years ago: GoldenCare.
What many people do not know is that Estelle Roodman, Rich’s mother, played a key role in the inception of two pioneering programs Roodman is most proud of: GoldenCare, and the Valley Dividend.
For people requiring hospital care, Estelle encouraged her son to find a way to give taxpayers a return on their investment. While you can’t give tax money back, Rich determined you can offer credit and today, anyone who pays property taxes to Public Hospital District 1 receives a credit to be used for inpatient hospital stays or qualifying surgical services to offset the portion of the patient’s bill not covered by insurance.
Back in the mid-1980s Estelle was becoming increasingly perplexed by the vast amount of paperwork she received from Medicare and implored her son to do something to help seniors navigate that complex system. And while he was at it, she told him to find a way for seniors to park closer to the hospital.
“When we first started GoldenCare, people like my mom would show up with shoeboxes of bills and ask, ‘What do I do with these?’” says Roodman.
Over the past 24 years Golden Care has grown from offering senior insurance counseling to special close-in parking privileges, preventative healthcare events, fitness center benefits and much more.
“The program has proven so popular, we’re continually trying to develop other benefits that have value to seniors. In light of healthcare reform, I’d like to see the next generation of GoldenCare be a collaborative program between hospitals and medical providers,” says Roodman.
Most recently Golden Care has focused on wellness and preventive healthcare. VMC was the first hospital with a full-service wellness program through its Fitness Center. VMC also sponsors health screenings, flu shots, seminars and health fairs – all for seniors.
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