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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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October 17, 2018     Feather River Bulletin
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October 17, 2018
 

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018 3A Debra Moore Managing Editor " dmoore@plumasnews.com Voters in the Plumas Hospital District may select three candidates from a field of four on the Nov. 6 ballot. The candidates feature two incumbents: John Kimmel and : Bill Wickman; and two i challengers: Andrew Ryback and Marty Walters. : The candidates were introduced to the community in the Sept. 19 edition of this .: newspaper. They were given the i opportunity to respond to six ( questions for this issue with a ! 150-word limit per response. John Kimmel 1. Can you describe your familiarity with the Ptumas Hospital District? Have you attended meetings or sought out information about the district? As a director for the past 20 years, I have been on campus at a minimum of twice a month all for board and finance committee meetings. It is not unusual to meet even more frequently for special meetings when the need arises. These hospital meetings combined with continual contact with the public and administration is a must for serving on the Board. 2. Are you familiar with the hospital's strategic plan? Which goal/goals are a priority for you? Our most current strategic planning session lined out one year, three year and five year goals. I am very much in agreement with all of those goals. Of the goals four stand out to me. 1) We want to improve PDH's culture, message, and brand. This focus results in a continued pursuit of excellence in the care we provide to our district. 2) Financial stability both short term and long term: Hospital fmances are the most complicated business model I have ever encountered. For long term stability we need to wisely provide healthcare within the resources we are provided from Washington, State, Insurance companies and our patience. 3) Combining districts with Indian Valley: It has been my long term desire to have our districts be one so that both areas will be adequately served. 4)Facilities: l,t would be fantastic to have options for our elderly to stay in our dfst~lct nea~ their friends and family with assisted care and skilled nursing facilities. Ultimately a new hospital facility will be necessary. 3. Plans for anew hospital, as well as a skilled nursing facility are being considered. What funding mechanisms could help finance such endeavors? Are you familiar with hospital finance? I am hopeful that our hospital would be able to finance the skilled nursing extended care facilities with our own savings, grants and loans. The hospital funding will have to be a district-wide commitment. Financing will likely be funded by a district-wide campaign fund, grants, and property tax backed bonds properly approved by the voters. I am familiar with hospital finance through the many years of oversight of the hospital finances through the finance committee. 4. Do you think the hospital and clinics are fulfilling the community's needs? Are there changes you would like to make? I do think that our clinics are fulfilling the community's needs. There have been a lot of improvement in getting appointments but there is always room for improvement. I would like to see more clinic :access on weekends possibly and : to continue to provide more 'services at PDH that could help our district cancer victims make less out of town trips for i treatment. 5. What are the facilities' : strengths and weaknesses? ,The strength of our facilities is ' the love that has been poured i into it and kept it operational :since 1959. The weakness is that ;we still have a building that was , built in 1959. In the not so ~distant future we are going to i have to comply with state earthquake standards to stay i open. : 6. What do you see as your : primary role as a board , member? Be one of five that set a course " !for PDH that ensures simple i survival, needed growth and ~ appropriate responses to community and their needs. We i do that as a board by setting !policies and approving the i strategies that make PDH , prosper over the long run. :Andrew Ryback 1. Can you describe your i familiarity with the Plumas ;Hospital District? Have you John Kimmel attended meetings or sought out information about the district? I have worked with the PDH management team since 2010 through my service on the Measure A Bond Oversight Committee which I currently chair. During this timeframe I have attended a number of Hospital Board meetings to present the annual repor~ of the Measure A Committee. My service on the Measure A Committee has helped me to develop positive working relationships with both the management team as well as the board of directors. These relationships have given me meaningful-insight into the most pressing issues and challenges that the hospital faces. 2. Are you familiar with the hospital's strategic plan? Which goal/goals are a priority for you? I am familiar with many of the hospital's strategic initiatives and I believe the goals that have the greatest priority include the merger with Indian Valley Hospital District and the build out of a skilled nursing facility. Managing the electronic medical records system conversion will be an area of focus as well. 3. Plans for a new hospital, as well as a skilled nursing facility are being considered. What funding mechanisms could help finance such endeavors? Are you familiar with hospital finance? I've worked in public accounting and community banking for 30 years and am familiar with hospital financing options, Smaller rural hospitals typically have fewer options in accessing capital for infrastructure projects, but public fmancing and loans are available options. In the past, Plumas Bank has provided USDA Rural Development financing to hospitals in its service area. Thankfully, in recent years our hospital board and management team have strengthened the fmancial position of our hospital, which provides more access to funding options. 4. Do you think the hospital and clinics are fulfilling the community's needs? Are there changes you would like to make? Our hospital's board and management team have done a good job of expanding our community's access to healthcare services and partnering with other healthcare providers to more efficiently offer specialized care. I would advocate for continuing alliances with other regional healthcare'providers, like UC Davis and their Rural-PRIME Andrew Ryback initiative, to improve our community's access to healthcare services. The Rural-PRIME initiative increases the number of primary care physicians who plan to practice in rural areas and uses telemedicine connections to offer access to specialty care to help address the health-care needs of rural residents. 5. What are the facilities' strengths and weaknesses? The quality and dedication of physicians and staff is one of the hospital's greatest strengths. An innovative and strategic management team is another. Those two things -- visionary leadership and committed physicians and staff-- have resulted in Plumas District Hospital being designated a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital two years in a row. That's an impressive achievement. Strategic alliances with VEP Healthcare, which provides 24/7 emergency care, and outreach programs in surgery and obstetrics to areas outside of Quincy, are evidence of a managen ent team committed to providing the bes~ possible healthcare access to the entire district. The weaknesses, or challenges, at PHD are common to many small rural hospitals and include rising costs of care and decreased reimbursements, as well as the recruitment and retention of high-quality clinicians and staff. 6. What do you see as your primary role as a board member? I believe that the primary role of the directors on our hospital district's board is to provide oversight. More specifically, the board is charged with developing the long-term strategic plan as well as ensuring that th~ hospital - remains,financially sound, To do thiS, director~ need to stay educated on healthcare industry changes and best practices. Equally important, it is the board's responsibility to ensure that the hospital is providing the best possible care to the communities that it serves. Marty Waiters 1. Can you describe your familiarity with the Plumas Hospital District? Have you attended meetings or sought out information about the district? I've raised my children and received my healthcare from the hospital and its clinics, as have all my family members in Plumas County. We've had long conversations over the dinner table about healthcare, doctors, emergency servicesl and news coverage as Plumas County and our hospital have gone through 70TH AN Marty Waiters economic and social changes. But even more important, I've followed the board's activities over the past two years in the context of our greater Northern California region as I've been visiting facilities and learning about healthcare throughout the region. Understanding the nature of our hospital's legal structure, its regulatory status, its performance, and its staff are all critical to serving as a board member, and I've invested the time to do that. 2. Are you familiar with the hospital's strategic plan? Which goal/goals are a priority for you? I've been following the hospital's planning process through several iterations, especially as regulatory and financial pressures have pushed the hospital toward more standardization and accountability, for example by becoming a critical access hospital. As soon as I say the words regulatory and financial, most people start to tune out, but these are the realities of healthcare that shape each and every interaction we have with our doctor or visit to the emergency room. Consolidation with Indian Valley Healthcare District is a major step that would expand our district to encompass a region of Plumas County with different needs and financial challenges, and I think that's the single biggest opportunity for our hospital. 3. Plans for a new hospital, as well as a skilled nursing facility are being considered. What funding mechanisms could help finance such endeavors? Are you familiar with hospital finance? Funding new facilities is a particular challenge for a hospital as smaU as ours; especially wkth all the changes going on in our world. Asa small, rural publichospital, our access to funding sources is more limited, and we must answer to our owners, the residents of Plumas County, when making decisions about taking on debt in order to make big improvements to our facilities. As a risk manager at a commercial bank, I've been involved in evaluating a whole range of healthcare facilities across the United States and in 14 countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The key to financing expansion of our hospital is ensuring that the services it supports will not only repay the cost of construction but will ensure operations and maintenance going forward. We taxpayers need to demand the same level of risk management and analysis as any investors would before approving new projects. b Bill Wickman reliance on voters to support financial fLxes through property tax increases. Strength #2: Independence. Plumas District Hospital has demonstrated over and over again that its key medical staff and administrators are independent thinkers who are not afraid to live with the consequences of their decisions. This has also led to some isolation and slower adoption of advanced practices. 6. What do you see as your primary role as a board 4. Do you think the hospital member? and clinics are fulfilling the Just like a private company, community's needs? Are the first and only responsibility there changes you would like of a board member is to to make? represent the interests of the Plumas District Hospital is owners, and in this case the one of the most accessible owners are the people of Plumas facilities I've experienced, with County. That means the board dedicated staff who are truly has to protect us from committed to the mission of the administrative dysfunction, hospital. I would like our ensure the best possible hospital and clinics to make services, and use our money in women's and children's health the most efficient way possible. more a centerpiece of our care, The board's purpose is to providing comprehensive represent us, and if it's not services to women at all stages of looking out for our interests it's life and ensuring we have not doing its job. I'm ready to quality maternity and delivery serve in this role, using my support, experience in financial risk I've seen some of the great management and governance, successes in other rural serving on several industry facilities that bring together association boards, and my primary care, mental health commitment to community. services, and dental services to accomplish more than just basic Bill Wickman care but to help families as a whole work toward healthy 1. Can you describe your habits and lifestyles. Before we familiarity with the Plumas continue expanding into new Hospital District? Have you medical specialties, let's attended meetings or sought implement top-of-class primary out information about the care for our community, district? I have been involved with 5. What are the facilities' PHD for 10 years. I was on the strengths and weaknesses? citizen committee to assist in Frequently our greatest Measure A and Measure B. Both strengths are als0 the source of of these were measures put our most critical weaknesses, before the general electorate to Strength #1: Huge amount of goodwill and loyalty among assist in future funding for a patients and residents of Plumas new hospital. At approximately County, through thick and thin. the same time, I became a Board This has also led the hospital to become complacent about its ~ublic facing services and See Hospital, page 4A oo www.fridenoptometry.com FRIDEN OPTOMETRY FAMILY EYE CARE = CONTACT LENSES Jonathan Friden, O.D. 68 Central Ave. Quincy,283-2020 Complete vision and eye care, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists on staff, Vision and Eye examinations, treatment of eye disease, cataract surgery, foreign body removal, threshold visual field analysis, contact lenses, glasses (large selection of inexpensive to designer eyewear), low vision aids for the visually impaired, and vision therapy for learning related vision problems. r' i