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Partnership, passion drive Indio pediatrician to excellence

As the recipient of the 2023 IEHP Mission Conference Inspire Award, Maria Gutierrez-Go, MD, exemplifies the power of partnership, passion and an unwavering commitment to ensuring quality health care. She does this through her practice, Valley Children’s Medical Center in Indio, California. 




Dr. Gutierrez-Go runs a different kind of practice. Empowered by the IEHP Global Pay-for-Performance (GQP4P) Program, which financially rewards providers for hitting specific quality care measures, such as wellness visits, immunizations, cancer screenings, etc., the longtime pediatrician goes above and beyond for not only her young patients, but also for her employees and the greater Indio community. 


Dr. Gutierrez-Go uses the GQP4P quality benchmarks as a guide for her practice. She stays up to date on gap reports, hires more employees than average and dedicates specific staff positions to ensure certain measures are hit. For example, she has one employee who just calls patients to schedule, follow-up on and reschedule well-care visits. 


Communication is key for any partnership, and that especially rings true with Dr. Gutierrez-Go and her staff. By holding regular meetings, Dr. Gutierrez-Go spends a lot of time talking about specific quality measures, office expectations and checks in on benchmark progress, while celebrating any accomplishments along the way. 


The financial incentives from the GQP4P Program helps Dr. Gutierrez-Go hire and retain dedicated team members as well. Much of the incentive dollars go directly back to the employees in the form of higher salaries, bonuses, holiday dinners and an annual office trip with spending cash to a destination of their choice – though they usually choose Las Vegas.  




Incentives aside, Dr. Gutierrez-Go is driven by her own personal mission: to provide quality health care to children. 


“I’m always emphasizing to my team that we don’t get blinded chasing measures and incentives just because we get something out of it,” she said. “Our goal is to establish a good doctor-patient relationship.”   


That doctor-patient relationship is everything to Dr. Gutierrez-Go. The trust she builds with her patients turns into lifelong relationships and generations of care. Having started Valley Children’s Medical Center in 1997 (and partnered with IEHP in 1998), Dr. Gutierrez-Go is now seeing past patients’ children.  


“I’m so proud to see the majority of my patients still and witness the amazing results of them growing up and contributing to the growth of the community,” she said. “That they are now bringing their children back to the same office is a powerful testimony for us.”  


Being able to give continual care to a person was one of the reasons Dr. Gutierrez-Go became a pediatrician. 




Dr. Gutierrez-Go comes from a large family of 15 children where education was a “major belief.” As one of the younger siblings of the bunch, she had three older sisters who became nurses.  


“They would come home and talk about their work, the patients and hospital, and I could see the dedication and joy in their eyes. It was inspiring,” she explained.   


As the recipient of the 2023 IEHP Mission Conference Inspire Award, Dr. Gutierrez-Go continues to pass that inspiration onto others. And she remains as passionate and driven as ever to continue her work. 


“Receiving the IEHP Inspire Award was a big surprise and quite emotional – I am deeply honored and thank IEHP for recognizing the efforts and dedication of everyone in my office,” said Dr. Gutierrez-Go. “It serves as motivation for me to continue striving for excellence and to live up to the expectation that has now been set. 


“I am just grateful that we have a partner like IEHP who is helping us fulfill our mission.”