ACHD Needs Your Feedback!


ACHD is seeking information about your Healthcare Districts! At your earliest convenience, please complete the short, ten question survey regarding your District demographics. The answers you provide will allow ACHD to better represent your District. The Healthcare District Survey can be found here.

Contact Sheila Johnston with any questions or comments about the survey.


‘It’s going to take a whole community:’ Petaluma’s Elece Hempel leads fire healing effort

When Elece Hempel sought to transition from the high-powered tech world into the nonprofit realm, she had to convince Petaluma People Services Center’s leadership she was right for the job.

After two months of working for free, she was hired by the nonprofit, and she hasn’t looked back since. With creative thinking and tenacity, she’s grown the organization, which serves as a key Petaluma resource with programs in high demand after October’s ferocious fires.

“When I think about how we reacted to the fires, everyone at this agency accepted responsibility,” said Hempel, the current executive director who has worked in various capacities at PPSC since 2004. “We were one of the few large nonprofits that wasn’t impacted by the fires and we needed to step up.”

PPSC provides services for seniors, housing programs, adult and youth employment and training programs as well as counseling and food assistance. As disaster struck, PPSC’s Petaluma Bounty Farm helped distribute produce and other goods local agrarians weren’t able to sell at farmer’s markets, Hempel said.

Case managers reached out to Petaluma seniors to prepare them in case the flames reached the city limits, and offer support during some of the most destructive wildfires in California’s history.

Shared Housing and Resource Exchange, or SHARE Sonoma County, a partner program with PPSC, was expanded to help house displaced fire victims as flames were still devouring more than 5,000 homes in the county. About 85 people are now living in long-term home shares, an effort powered by volunteers who stepped up to help, Hempel said.

Her organization is currently drafting a blueprint to serve residents whose lives were turned upside down by the fires, while also reaching its regular clients in Petaluma and beyond.

“We’ve already seen an increase and a growing need for trauma-informed counseling … for many clients, this is just one more thing to add to this sometimes awful life and we continue to try to find the silver lining,” the 57-year-old said. “We’re seeing a need for that and we’re in conversations to build programming for first responders.”

Click here to read the full article.

Camarillo Health Care District Receives National Honor from Rosalynn Carter Institute

Camarillo, CA, November 8, 2017--The Camarillo Health Care District’s Wellness & Caregiver Center of Ventura County (Caregiver Center) is the national winner of the prestigious 2017 Rosalynn Carter Leadership in Caregiving Award.  The Caregiver Center was selected as this year’s winner for its outstanding community work in public awareness, evidence-based programming, and advocacy on behalf of caregivers. Former First Lady Mrs. Carter presented the award, which has become known as the nation’s highest award given in the caregiving field, at the 30th Anniversary of the Rosalynn Carter Institute (RCI) Summit and Gala Awards in Georgia; the Institute is embedded on the campus of Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Georgia.  As a reflection of the award’s prestige, the statuette given to recipients is executed by the renowned sculptor Frank Eliscu, designer of the Heisman Trophy.

Several years ago, the RCI received funding from the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to train and certify 20 sites around the country, in the evidence-based RCI REACH intervention. To become a trained site and provider of the REACH intervention, agencies needed to succeed through an application process involving an assessment of the agency’s readiness, including data management ability, budgeting plans, ability to reach and recruitment caregivers, and history of providing evidence-based programs, among other criteria. The Camarillo Health Care District was selected and is the only provider in the State of California; there were more than 200 applicants nationwide.

“Family caregivers are the backbone of the long term care system in the United States”, says Kara Ralston, chief executive officer of the Camarillo Health Care District, “and are the sustaining force for frail, older, and disabled older adults.”

“It is essential for family caregivers to recognize that what they are doing is caregiving, and to identify as a caregiver”, says Ralston.  “The benefit from resources, education, training and services is life-changing.”

The Caregiver Center is intentionally designed as a comprehensive resource for caregivers, providing access to education, training, and support, and engaging the caregiver in a dignified and respectful setting. In addition to the award-winning RCI REACH program, the Center offers a broad variety of evidence-based educational programs such as, Stanford University School of Medicine’s Chronic Disease, Diabetes, and Pain Self-Management, Boston University’s Matter of Balance, Arthritis Foundation’s Walk with Ease, among others.  The Center also offers consultation with licensed social workers, a resource library tailored to material on caregiving and chronic disease, support groups, one-on-one coaching programs, and evidence-based classes for building caregiving skills and enhancing resource awareness.

The RCI REACH (Resources Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health) program is an evidence-based program providing education, a focus on safety for the patient, support for the caregiver, and skills building to help caregivers manage difficult patient behaviors and decrease their own stress.  RCI REACH is an in-home, tailored, caregiver support intervention consisting of 12 individual sessions in the home and by telephone, with the objectives to improve overall caregiver health and depression, reduce feelings of burden from caregiving, improve caregiver management of troubling behaviors of the care recipient, and to delay institutionalization.

“To receive national recognition for this work to which we are deeply committed is both humbling and invigorating”, says Ralston.  “The magnitude of Mrs. Carter’s vision 30 years ago and what it means for Ventura County’s health care district, and the magnitude of the hope it brings to families and generations of families is breathtaking”, says Ralston.

For more information about the Wellness & Caregiver Center of Ventura County, please call (800) 900-8582.


Antelope Valley Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Sign 10-Year Agreement

NEWS RELEASE: (Lancaster, Calif. – November 6, 2017) – Antelope Valley Hospital and Kaiser Permanente announced a 10-year contract extension under which Kaiser Permanente doctors will continue to serve Kaiser Permanente members at Antelope Valley Hospital. This long-term agreement extends both organizations’ joint efforts to provide world-class care to the community and expand access to quality healthcare throughout the growing Antelope Valley.

"We are pleased that Kaiser Permanente agreed that Antelope Valley Hospital can meet the hospital services needs of their members and the community by building on the relationship we've forged together rather than building a new hospital. Patients and their families throughout the Antelope Valley benefit from our relationship with Kaiser Permanente,” said Michael Wall, CEO of Antelope Valley Hospital. “With a new decade-long agreement, we can build on our success and continue this journey together to provide stability, confidence and commitment to expanding access for quality healthcare at Antelope Valley Hospital.”

The collaboration will allow Antelope Valley Hospital and Kaiser Permanente to maximize their resources and technologies to best serve patients and families in the Antelope Valley.

“Extending our agreement in the Antelope Valley is part of Kaiser Permanente’s mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services where our members live and work, and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve,” said Payman Roshan, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente Panorama City and Antelope Valley.

Both organizations are enthusiastic about the opportunity to jointly tackle the Antelope Valley’s most pressing health issues – including hypertension, cancer and mental health – and to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to one’s wellness.

“We are thrilled to have access to the best practices, quality data and resources of a premier health system like Kaiser Permanente,” Wall added. “We look forward to using these tools to benefit patients throughout Antelope Valley and believe this relationship can serve as a model for transforming healthcare delivery in the region.”

About Antelope Valley Hospital

Antelope Valley Hospital, a 420-bed district hospital located in the city of Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County, has been serving the community for more than 60 years. The area’s only full-service hospital, AVH provides a full array of medical/surgical services, pediatric treatment, NICU, mental health, cancer care and more. It is a Level II trauma center, Accredited Chest Pain Center, Advanced Primary Stroke Center, and a Certified Community Cancer Center. More information is available at or by calling 661-949-5000. Follow us on Facebook at

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 11.8 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to


Antelope Valley Hospital                                Kaiser Permanente
Carol Stevenson                                               Chelsi M. Schriver
661-949-5295                                                   818-375-4312         


USDA Selects Ready, Set, Swim! Coachella Valley As California Success Story

Desert Healthcare District and Foundation (DHCD) and Desert Recreation District (DRD) are pleased to announce that the United States Department of Agriculture has selected Ready, Set, Swim! Coachella Valley as a featured Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) “Success Story” on its website. The program is one of only four programs recognized from the state of California.

Ready, Set, Swim! Coachella Valley was selected for its impact among local youth providing both an active and educational experience focused on nutrition and obesity prevention.

As the USDA article explains, the Ready, Set, Swim! Coachella Valley program is aimed at third grade students throughout the Coachella Valley, and offers a fun and innovative way to combine physical activity, nutrition education, and water safety all in one. Coachella Valley is a great location to offer this interactive program due several factors including the abundance of pools and canals, and sizzling temperatures that often have families with children spending a lot of time in the water during the summer months. In addition to providing children with lifelong water safety skills, Ready, Set Swim! also teaches children about the importance of good nutrition and physical activity.

Click here for the full article.


California Doesn’t Have Enough Doctors, and This Bad Law Isn’t Helping

California doesn't have enough doctors.

By 2025, the state will be short about 4,700 primary-care physicians, according to a recent report from the UC San Francisco Healthforce Center. This will result in more people turning to costly emergency-room visits for routine care, it predicts.

One solution is to expand the role of well-trained nurse practitioners, who can meet the basic healthcare needs of our growing population at a fraction of the cost of doctor visits. That’s what many other states are doing.

But this obvious remedy is opposed by a powerful interest — doctors. As a result, the Legislature has repeatedly failed to give greater independence to nurse practitioners, or NPs for short.

Click here to read the full article.

Fallbrook Executive Director Bobbi Palmer Named in ‘Outstanding Women in Business’

FALLBROOK, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2017) ---- Executive Director Bobbi Palmer, MBA, MSW of the Fallbrook Regional Health District gushed to The Village News upon hearing of her ‘Outstanding Women in Business’ honor: “It probably sounds cliche; however, I enjoy serving.”

The fall 2017 issue of The Village News Lifestyle magazine puts Palmer in good company, featuring country music icon LeAnn Rimes on the cover. The magazine profiles female elected and business leaders from around North San Diego County making in a difference in the world.

Certainly, Palmer’s one such trailblazer. With two master’s degrees in social work and business, Palmer brings a lot of heart to her career. She started in clinical work helping children and families.

“Working with children and families is rewarding work,” Palmer said. “You never know when your influence and understanding might make all the difference later.”

A keen political mind, she also served in board positions with Association of California Healthcare Districts and California Special District Administration where she dug into the policy side of health.

Palmer served her most recent CEO tenure at the Los Medanos Community Healthcare District in the San Francisco area.

“By serving and by listening I’m able to connect with people and truly hear their concerns,” Palmer told The Village News.

Certainly, those skills came in handy in taking over the executive director position in early 2016 at a transitional time for the Fallbrook Regional Health District and its 57,000 residents. After more than 2.5 years searching for a buyer of the closed Fallbrook Hospital, Palmer set out to accomplish the task  - and by the summer of 2017, she did.

The district board voted unanimously to sell the closed facility to Crestwood Behavioral Health Inc. and open the Fallbrook Healing Center. During her tenure, she has also cut district costs, helped put another new ambulance in the community and increased no-cost services for the public by more than 35 percent.

“It has not lacked for excitement around here,” Palmer said. “We’ve done a whole lot and we’re going to a whole lot more. Tackle fall prevention and aging in place, plant our first community garden and expand services for our health disparities. Our team may be small, but it is mighty and we have big plans for the Fallbrook Regional Health District. ”

Catch Palmer’s ‘Outstanding Women in Business’ profile here:

The voter-approved special district collects roughly $1.6 million annually to cover health care provider shortages, uninsured Californians, patients with low or fixed incomes, and underserved populations. Since 2000, the district community health contracts have support about 300 health programs offering no-cost services for the North San Diego County unincorporated communities of Bonsall, Del Luz, Fallbrook and Rainbow. In the last five years, the District granted more than $3.5 million in health services benefiting the public.

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ABOUT Fallbrook Regional Health District

Fallbrook Regional Health District is a special district covering affordable community health needs for the low- and fixed-income residents of Bonsall, De Luz, Fallbrook and Rainbow. The roughly $1.6 million collected in voter-approved taxes supports more than $850,000 annually in full spectrum community health services addressing top health disparities, including behavioral health, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Learn more about community health services provided by the district at


Erica Holloway

Galvanized Strategies, on behalf of Fallbrook Healthcare District

(619) 796-1651

A Hospital Crisis Is Killing Rural Communities. This State Is ‘Ground Zero.’

GLENWOOD, Ga. ― If you want to watch a rural community die, kill its hospital.

After the Lower Oconee Community Hospital shut down in June 2014, other mainstays of the community followed. The bank and the pharmacy in the small town of Glenwood shuttered. Then the only grocery store in all of Wheeler County closed in the middle of August this year.

On Glenwood’s main street, building after building is now for sale, closing, falling apart or infested with weeds growing through the foundation’s cracks.

HuffPost is hitting the road this fall to interview people about their hopes, dreams, fears ― and what it means to be American today.

Opportunity has been dying in Wheeler County for the last 20 years. Agriculture was once the primary employer, but the Wheeler Correctional Facility, a privately run prison, is now the biggest source of jobs.

With 39 percent of the central Georgia county’s population living in poverty, there aren’t enough patients with good insurance to keep a hospital from losing money.

The hospital’s closure eliminated the county’s biggest health care provider and dispatched yet another major employer. Glenwood’s mayor of 34 years, G.M. Joiner, doubts that the town will ever recover.

For the full article, click here.

California Healthcare District Leaders Gather to Learn & Share How to Improve Health & Well-Being for their Communities

SACRAMENTO – More than 100 Healthcare District trustees and professional staff from across the state gathered for ACHD’s 65th Annual Meeting, September 12-14, to learn and share about the challenges and opportunities their communities face as they navigate the evolving landscape of healthcare.

The three-day conference in San Diego – titled “Future Roles and Challenges of Healthcare Districts” – featured a dynamic lineup of speakers and presentations covering an array of topics. Workshops covered issues such as: how Healthcare Districts can find opportunities to share their standards of accountability and show community outcomes in a Municipal Service Review; learning how the state’s health insurance exchange, Covered California, is adapting amid ongoing state and federal policy changes; and what is the state of behavioral health services in California and how it affects some of the most vulnerable populations served by Healthcare Districts.

Featured keynote speakers included Gyre Renwick with Lyft who heads the company’s healthcare, government and education partnerships. Renwick discussed how Lyft is partnering with health organizations to improve service access for patients and lower costs for organizations and businesses.

Among the highlights of the Annual Meeting was the recognition of Mayers Memorial Hospital District as ACHD’s District of the Year. The designation is awarded each year to a Healthcare District for its commitment to improving the health of the communities it serves. Mayers Memorial Hospital District, located in Shasta County, received the award for its “Planting Seeds and Growing Our Own” internship program. The program offers high school seniors the opportunity to spend 20 hours a week over four months to gain skills and knowledge working in the District’s hospital and learning about career opportunities. Given the healthcare workforce shortages many rural regions face, the program has been instrumental in allowing Mayers Memorial Hospital District to build its next generation of healthcare professionals.

If you attended our 65th Annual Meeting and would like to share your thoughts, please take a moment to fill out this brief survey. Additionally, click here to find photos from Annual Meeting.



Association of California Healthcare Districts Appoints New Board Officers

(September 22, 2017) The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) is pleased to announce the election of new Board of Directors and appointments of Officers to the Board. Elections and appointments were held at ACHD’s Annual Meeting at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa, last week in San Diego, CA.  Five Board members were elected to fill officer positions, and four Board members were newly appointed.  Officers’ terms begin immediately upon election.  Howard Salmon, Trustee with Fallbrook Regional Health District, will undertake the position of Board Chair.

“It is an honor to be elected Chairman of the Board,” said Mr. Salmon.  “I look forward to continuing to help move ACHD in a new and positive direction.”

Linda Rubin, Trustee with Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District, will undertake the position of Vice Chair; Harry Weis, CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System, will undertake the position of Treasurer, and Bob Hemker, CEO of Palomar Health, will undertake the position of At-Large member.  Dr. Michele Bholat, Trustee with Beach Cities Health District, will retain her position as Secretary.

Other newly appointed Directors include Karin Hennings, Administrator at Del Puerto Health Care District, Gerald “Jerry” Starr, Executive Director at West Side Health Care District, Beatriz Vasquez, Trustee with Mayers Memorial Hospital District, and Lin Reed, Trustee with Mark Twain Health Care District.

For a full list of Directors on the ACHD Board, click here.

California Healthcare Districts respond to the specialized health needs of California communities. Voters created 79 Healthcare Districts to fulfill health local care needs.  Of these, 54 serve the state’s rural areas. Healthcare Districts provide access to essential health services and are directly accountable at the community level.  As a result, tens of millions of Californians have been able to access care that would otherwise be out of reach.


Association of California Healthcare Districts

The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) represents Healthcare Districts throughout the state. The Association serves the diverse needs of California’s Healthcare Districts by enhancing public awareness, training and educating its members and advocating for legislation and regulatory policies that allow Healthcare Districts to deliver the best possible health services to Californians. Learn more at