From as far back at they can remember, community healthcare has been an integral part of the lives of Rich and Pat Lucy of Hermosa Beach.
Pat was raised just outside Philadelphia. As a teen she worked in the snack bar and gift shop at Bryn Mawr Hospital where her mother volunteered. Rich grew up in a small town in North Dakota where his father practiced as an obstetrician and gynecologist.
The couple met on a blind date while Rich was attending the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Pat studied at nearby Wheelock College. They married and moved to Manhattan Beach in 1969 and, several moves later, still live about a mile from their first apartment.
“We love the fresh air and casualness of the beach cities,” Rich said. “There is a great sense of community here, with an emphasis on an active lifestyle.”
Little did they know their early ties to healthcare would guide them to take a role in its shaping here in the South Bay. In the late 1990s, Rich and Pat volunteered with fundraising at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, where their two children attended. While serving on the school’s Booster Club, Rich worked with David McKinnie, a Torrance Memorial Health Care Foundation board member, who had an easy time convincing him to join the board to help foster the hospital’s future.
“The decisions are made right here with our community’s needs in mind— not elsewhere,” he said. “There is always a physician at the board’s helm. This is important from a credibility standpoint because a physician can clearly explain exactly where money raised is destined and why that’s important from a medical perspective.”
Today, 15 years later, Rich remains an active board member and is proud to play a role in seeing the new Patient Tower come to fruition.
“We’re all going to need medical care eventually. In just 10 years, the local 65 and over population is expected to more than double, so we’re trending toward increased healthcare usage,” Rich said. “Torrance Memorial is a precious community resource. With multiple hospitals closing in the area, we need to make sure it’s well prepared to serve us into the future.”
Rich began his career as an aerospace engineer. However he soon caught the “entrepreneurial bug” and partnered with a friend to start a venture in the plastics business.
“The company ended up with so little money, we couldn’t afford bankruptcy,” Rich joked. Rich went on to co-found the Makaha skateboard company in the mid 1970s, which was later sold. He then joined commercial real estate giant Coldwell Banker (now CBRE), where he found his professional niche. He is currently a partner at Black Equities Group, a commercial real estate private equity firm in Beverly Hills. His entrepreneurial spirit also prompted the 2005 acquisition, with an MIT fraternity brother, of a Las Vegas-based slot machine sign manufacturer, which he helped turn around and make profitable.
As success increased, so did the desire to give back. In the 2003, Rich offered to assist the trustees of the Vasek and Anna Maria Polak Charitable Foundation, a benefactor of Torrance Memorial, with some real estate transactions on a pro bono basis. To express their gratitude, the trustees suggested creating a grant in Rich’s name. Recalling that his father had always emphasized “the importance of nurses,” Rich requested the fund be designated toward the nursing program at Torrance Memorial. In 2005, The Polak Charitable Foundation created the Lucy Grant to fund Torrance Memorial’s Nursing Professional Development Program. The program has since been integral to development of the medical center’s Versant program for new nurses, as well as ensuring all staff nurses receive the latest and best evidence-based training in nursing practices.
As Torrance Memorial makes necessary reforms associated with the Affordable Care Act (known as healthcare reform), Rich is donating his time and talents to help the medical center to meet its requirements as a newly formed accountable care organization (ACO). An ACO is a healthcare organization characterized by a payment and care delivery model that seeks to tie provider reimbursements to quality metrics and reductions in the total cost of care for an assigned population of patients. Rich currently serves as the required Medicare recipient on the recently formed board of directors for the Torrance Memorial Integrated Physicians, LLC, to help the medical center navigate these waters of change.
“It’s been fascinating to be on the forefront of building a new model for patient care,” Rich said. “Ultimately we’re creating a system that will increase quality and efficiency for the patient.”
Pat has also remained close to her healthcare roots, serving as a founding member of the Miracle of Living at the Beach health lecture series advisory committee since its 2009 formation. The group’s mission is to provide a source of health education, while further integrating the medical center into the beach community.
“We have a personal friend who discovered he had a very serious heart problem after being alerted by information at the (Miracle of Living at the Beach) heart lecture,” Pat said. “It is very rewarding to help give our community access to valuable, life-saving information.”
As a retired special education teacher and administrator for the Lawndale school district, Pat also finds time to volunteer for the Peninsula Committee Children’s Hospital and the Neptunian Club, a philanthropic women’s organization in Manhattan Beach.
Although they prefer mostly warm water these days, the couple maintains their scuba diving certification first earned in preparation for their honeymoon in Tahiti. They enjoy frequent trips to Hawaii, various wine county locations, as well as hiking in the Colorado mountains.
The Lucys consider family the cornerstone of their professional and personal successes. They make regular trips to New York to visit their son, his wife and infant granddaughter. They also spend most weekends locally with their daughter, her husband (also members of the Patrons program) and their two grandchildren (Grayson, 2 ½, and Molly, 9 months), both born at Torrance Memorial. Their combined experience as Patrons and patients has sealed Torrance Memorial as an extended member of the Lucy family.
“Family is important to us,” Pat said. “At Torrance Memorial you feel like you are part of a family.”