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The Desert Healthcare District now begins an exciting new chapter, more than doubling the size of the community it covers and creating two additional Board seats.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6, voters overwhelmingly approved Measure BB to expand the District's boundaries to cover the entire valley, including La Quinta, Indio, Coachella, the remainder of Palm Desert and Indian Wells, and unincorporated communities such as Bermuda Dunes, Thermal, Mecca, Oasis and North Shore. Since its inception in 1948, the District had included only the valley cities and unincorporated areas west of Cook Street. Reflective of One Coachella Valley, residents in the mid- and eastern valley can now gain access to programs and services that the District funds and supports.
“By passing Measure BB, voters help to ensure that all Coachella Valley residents have access to health and wellness services and programs that the District supports. It’s a huge step toward ending the disparity that exists between the east and west valley,” said Dr. Les Zendle, president of the Desert Healthcare District/Foundation Board. “The District Board and staff look forward to working with various community partners, leaders and residents east of Cook Street, while continuing to serve the west valley as it has for the past 70 years.”
Tuesday's vote brings an additional 240,000 people into the District, whose mission is "to achieve optimal health at all stages of life for all District residents."
What's Next for the District?
- As a reuslt of the expansion, the Board s expected to appoint two new Directors from the annexed area in January, increasing the Board from five to seven members.
- Expansion also requires redrawing the District zones to incorporate two new zones. The process of transitioning from five to seven zones is expected to get underway next year.
Measure BB was authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, and supported by U.S. Congressman Raul Ruiz and state Senators, other Assembly members and local elected leaders.
The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) announced its 2018-19 leadership during its 66th Annual Meeting in Pismo Beach, September 13-14.
The Board of Directors elected Fallbrook Regional Health District Trustee Howard Salmon to serve as Chair, Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District Trustee Linda Rubin to serve as Vice Chair, Tahoe Forest Health System CEO Harry Weis to serve as Treasurer, Beach Cities Health District Trustee Dr. Michele Bholat as Secretary and West Side Health Care District Executive Director Jerry Starr as Member At-Large.
ACHD also recognized a Healthcare District and District Trustee for outstanding innovation and leadership over the last year. Grossmont Healthcare District, serving San Diego County’s eastern region, received ACHD’s District of the Year award for the program Seniors in Crisis, a collaborative effort focused on Alzheimer’s care. It’s estimated more than 64,000 San Diegans have Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Recognizing the severity of the disease, Grossmont Healthcare District partnered with a local hospital, and city and county agencies to support subject matter experts in Alzheimer’s treatment and care.
ACHD also honored Vanessa Poster of Beach Cities Health District as Trustee of the Year. A Trustee for 22 years, Poster has been a tireless advocate for those in need of health resources in her District, especially older adults and children. Her efforts to implement programs that benefit the health of the community caught the attention of the United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy who visited the District in 2016.
ACHD honored two long-time Members have served as elected Trustees with local Healthcare Districts. Dr. John Ungersma with Northern Inyo Healthcare District received the Lifetime Member Award after serving his District for 18 years. During that time, he served as President, Vice President and Director At-Large for his local board and oversaw many vital projects for the community of Bishop, including the construction of a new 25-bed critical access hospital, increasing physician recruitment to assure access to both primary and specialty care and establishing the hospital’s Community Action Committee to increase public involvement. Understanding that finances are often a barrier to educational advancement, Dr. Ungersma has also served his community by providing scholarship support for graduating high school seniors for the past 30 years. Dr. Ungersma also served the Association as a prior Member of the Board of Directors, Education and Advocacy Committees.
Lloyd Weaver, Trustee with Bloss Memorial Healthcare District, received the Longest Serving Healthcare District Trustee honor. Weaver was appointed to the Bloss Memorial Board in October 1973 and served as Board Chair multiple times during his tenure. At the start of his service, Bloss Memorial, serving the Atwater community, had just 17 acute care beds; today, the District operates a Dental Clinic and provides space to a Federally Qualified Health Clinic that operates in the old Castle Airforce Base hospital building, now owned by the District. Weaver has also been an active member of ACHD, serving on the ALPHA Council.
For more information, please contact Sheila Johnston.
In today’s ever-changing government landscape, it can be difficult for a small special district to rise, prove its merits and value, and in the process show the community that it holds itself accountable to a higher standard. For the last three years Northern Inyo Healthcare District steadily worked to do just that. Recently the effort paid off as the District was recognized for not only meeting governance standards but exceeding them.
The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) awarded NIHD its sought-after “Best Practices in Governance” certification after the District showed compliance in accountability and transparency standards, state law requirements, and website conformity. NIHD also had to demonstrate knowledge of extended financial and other state and local reporting requirements.
By voluntarily meeting ACHD’s higher standards, NIHD’s elected board leadership is upholding its responsibilities to its constituents, and once again setting an example of excellence for the health organization as a whole.
To read the rest of this article, click here.
Primary care physicians are few and far between in the Kern River Valley (KRV), so the addition of a new family medicine doctor in our community is big news. Adding to that good fortune, she is working in a health center with four recently- built exam rooms waiting to be filled with new patients.
To read the rest of this article, click here.
Fifteen years after Taft’s acute care hospital was closed, the West Side Health Care District broke ground on a new $9 million outpatient clinic.
Friday’s ceremony took place almost exactly where the entrance to the old Westside Hospital once stood.
The ceremony marks a new beginning and another step to rebuilding the community’s health care infrastructure.
“This is a symbol of a new beginning for us,” Health Care District Board President Eric Cooper said.
To read more, click here.
When most residents of Coachella Valley go to the polls on Nov. 6, for the first time, they will be able to either cast a vote directly impacting future access to important health care services, or elect a representative to champion their specific community needs.
Some voters living in the current, long-established Desert Healthcare District (DHCD)—which begins in Palm Springs and extends east to Palm Desert’s Cook Street—will be casting votes to elect representatives in two newly formed districts: District 2, primarily covering Desert Hot Springs; and District 4, mostly made up of Cathedral City.
At the DHCD board’s public session on June 26, a final zoning map was adopted that defines the boundaries of the five new districts created within the current DHCD. Previously, the five-member board was elected at large by the entire district; two of five seats are up for election this year.
The move to district-based elections should mean better representation for minority populations; one of the advocates for this is Alexis Ortega, the director of community outreach for the LGBT Community Center of the Desert. To read the full article, click here.
The Desert Healthcare District and Foundation have launched a new service, Coachella Valley Health Info Place, that aims to help everyone from residents to healthcare professionals to social workers identify and access healthcare services that could be beneficial to them, their patients or their clients.
The website, CVHIP.com, will essentially be a free, public database to connect individuals to more than 1,000 free or low cost services in the Coachella Valley, including substance abuse treatment, pediatric healthcare resources, nutrition assistance programs, fitness classes, sexual health services and more.
To read the rest of the article, click here.
The Mark Twain Health Care District was honored to present Golden Health Community Grant Awards to deserving non-profit organizations in Calaveras County. The Community Grant Committee awarded $42,925.00 at a reception on April 25th at the District office in San Andreas.
To read the full article, click here.
The Petaluma Health Care District (PHCD) is playing a critical role in helping those impacted by the fires self-heal by serving as a catalyst for collective community action.
“The fires caused anxiety and stress throughout the region, elevating the need for education and access to trauma-informed care,” said Ramona Faith, CEO. “To respond to this need, PHCD offered special trauma-focused training sessions for health providers and those in other disciplines.”
A renowned bicultural and bilingual mental health professional came to Petaluma to conduct sold-out training on the impact immigration policies have on children and families who are already vulnerable due to their documentation status – and who are even more affected now as a result of the wildfires.
To read the rest of the article, click here.