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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.


Tahoe Forest Health System receives excellence award

Tahoe Forest Health System has been named a 2020 Guardian of Excellence Award winner by Press Ganey, officials announced this week.

The Press Ganey Guardian of Excellence Award recognizes top-performing health care organizations that have achieved the 95th percentile or above of performance in patient experience. The award is a nationally-recognized symbol of achievement in health care.

Presented annually, the award honors clients who consistently sustained performance in the top 5% of all Press Ganey clients for each reporting period during the course of one year.

Tahoe Forest Health System specially recognizes the emergency departments of Tahoe Forest Hospital and Incline Village Community Hospital, and the inpatient departments of Tahoe Forest Hospital, who have each reached the 95th percentile in patient experience contributing to the achievement of the award.

“The caregivers and staff of Tahoe Forest Health System touch the lives of patients and their families in profound ways,” said Patrick Ryan, chairman and chief executive officer of Press Ganey in a press release. “This award reflects their deep commitment to listening to the voices of their patients and our shared mission to reduce suffering and improve the safety, quality, and experience of patient-centered care. I continue to be humbled and inspired by their heroic efforts to care for patients in the face of the uncertainty, stress, and fear brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Press Ganey is proud to partner with them in this noble work and we congratulate them on this tremendous achievement.”

According to Harry Weis, President and CEO of Tahoe Forest Health System, the award represents an important recognition from the industry’s leader in measuring, understanding, and improving the delivery of care.

He said, “The Guardian of Excellence Award achievement is an example of how Tahoe Forest Health System honors the community we serve by demonstrating high quality healthcare delivery every day.”

To read the full article by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, click here.

Sierra View dedicated to providing high level of care; nationally recognized for accomplishments

In recent weeks, Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC) has been recognized nationally for several accomplishments; a reflection to the dedication of providing the highest level of patient care.

“In the midst of navigating a pandemic, we are honored to have received such awards, which reflect the resilience we have and the ongoing proactive approach from the entire organization,” said Donna Hefner, SVMC President/CEO. “The leadership of SVMC is committed to working with our medical staff collectively to provide high quality and safe patient care. We have focused on setting priorities with providers in our community to meet the quality needs of our patients and we’re engaging in various forms of service excellence initiatives and achieving new milestones.”

Fitch Ratings

Award-winning provider of credit ratings and commentary and research, Fitch Ratings, granted Sierra View Local Healthcare District (Sierra View Medical Center) with an ‘A’ rating; stable outlook. This rating denotes strong credit quality of financial commitment and has allowed an approximately $24.2 million of series 2020 refunding revenue bonds to be issued to Sierra View.

For SVMC, this rating signifies a monumental step in the planning process for the Distinct Part Skilled Nursing project. The series 2019 bond proceeds that will fund a new facility replacement project will bring the district closer to being seismically compliant with earthquake standards and expand care by adding nine additional beds.

BETA Quest for Zero Awards

Our Emergency Department and Maternal Child Health Departments have been participating in patient safety initiatives through the BETA Healthcare Group (BETA), one of the largest insurers of healthcare professional liability coverage in California. Recently, both departments were awarded the following:

Quest for Zero: Excellence in Emergency Department – Sepsis Initiative

This award, is based from a program that targets common areas of professional liability and puts a high priority on helping emergency medicine departments to further improve reliability and reduce risk exposure. This initiative focused on early identification and treatment of patients presenting with signs of sepsis. This work, in conjunction with the other established bundled care practices has put our publically reported Sepsis-01 score well above the national average.

Quest for Zero: Excellence in Obstetrics (OB)

The responsibility of guiding parents safely through the process of bringing a new life into the world is tremendous. Obstetricians, family practitioners, nurse midwives, registered nurses and parents—it takes a team. This year’s project focused on management and coordination of mothers with possible crisis.  The OB Team worked to improve patient safety through coordination of communication, case reviews and simulated drills.  The OB Team has successfully participated and implemented patient safety initiatives for over a decade.

BETA Heart

This award focuses on the implementation of five specific domains, all focusing around transparent communication healthcare and supporting our staff and patients.  SVMC has successfully completed 3 of the 5 domains, and continues to work towards all 5 in the upcoming year. To achieve the BETA awards, all members of a participating hospital’s teams must complete rigorous online learnings. The annual training portion of the program is part of BETA’s Quest for Zero preventable errors initiative.

American Heart Association

SVMC was listed in U.S. News and World’s Report of America’s Best Hospitals in recognition of the stroke program for quality healthcare achievement. The SVMC stroke team successfully achieved the Silver Award and Diabetic Plus Award. These awards are given when the performance measures in the Get With The Guidelines® quality improvement program are met for 12 consecutive months. This consistent adherence to evidence-based treatment guidelines has been shown to have a tangible impact on patients’ lives. This award signifies the stroke team’s contribution to the American Herat Association’s mission of building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Improving Medication Safety Practice

SVMC had a feature article in the peer reviewed British Medical Journal.  The author, Dr. David Burger, Director of Pharmacy and Dr. Jackie Ho, Pharmacist, wrote an article, “Improving Medication Safety Practice at a Community Hospital: A Focus on Bar Code Medication Administration Scanning and Pain Reassessment.” The quality change involved developing performance dashboards and sustaining engagement among stakeholders on a weekly basis, improved bar code medication scanning rates and pain reassessment compliance. The stakeholders created momentum to change in both practice and culture resulting in improved patient safety with a favorable financial impact.

Infection Prevention

The last year has been focused around COVID and preventing the spread. Our SVMC team has done a phenomenal job at protecting our staff and our patients/residents. To date, we have had zero cases of COVID transmission to our patients or residents of our DP/SNF. Additionally, we continue to focus on reducing hospital acquired infections. To date in 2020, we have zero VRE, CRE, and no CAUTI. 

Quality care is not just a clinical goal, it’s a priority that encompasses customer service, compliance and wellness for our community to thrive. The hospital at large continues to pursue ongoing quality improvement and strive to continually raise the bar in providing excellent health care for our patients.

To read the full article by the Valley Voice, click here.

MarinHealth introduces new medical center virtually

The Virtual Ribbon Cutting Ceremony has been recorded and is available to watch here.

MarinHealth executives on Saturday held a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony for MarinHealth Medical Center’s new $535 million facility, with retiring CEO Lee Domanico leading the presentation.

No opening date has been announced, but Domanico told the Business Journal in July that he expects the new hospital to open in September.

“I’m proud to introduce you to the new Oak Pavilion at MarinHealth Medical Center,” Domanico said during Saturday’s presentation. “Two towers of medical magnificence.”

The hospital has 260,000 square feet of new, improved facilities for emergency and trauma services; new radiology and imaging services; and a new maternity department, among other features.

“Each maternity room has a hot tub,” Domanico said. “I’m afraid the moms aren’t going to want to leave once they come and experience the new Marin (hospital).”

The new facility has 114 private rooms. When combined with the existing hospital’s West Wing, built in 1989 and to remain in use, MarinHealth Medical Center will have a total of 186 operational beds.

Planning for the new facility, which the Business Journal has reported about over the course of its development, began a couple of decades ago.

“The first meeting, believe it or not, with the new architect occurred in 2009,” said Domanico, explaining that from concept to completion, the goal was to design a patient- and family-focused hospital in a healing environment. “We’re at the intersection of science and healing.”

The hospital also has separate hallways so the public doesn’t cross with the patients. The idea is provide better infection control, and more dignity and privacy for the patients, he said.

The building was funded through a bond initiative that was passed in 2013, loans and private donations. The hospital in July 2016 received a $21 million donation from Marin General Hospital Foundation board member Bruce Braden.

“As an independent community hospital, we have a responsibility to provide essential services that our community expects and deserves,” Domanico said. “It’s been my goal for 10 years that when the real estate agents are talking to prospective clients about how great the community is (and) how good the school districts are, in that same breath I want them to say, ‘and we also have great health care here in Marin.’”

Additional speakers at the ceremony included Dr. Larry Bedard, chair, Marin Healthcare District Board of Directors; Dr. Hank Simmonds, director, Marin Healthcare District Board of Directors; and Reverend Deacon Alberta Brown Buller.

To read the full article by the North Bay Business Journal, click here.

New Wing Opens at Mayers Memorial Hospital

The Virtual Tour of the new hospital wing is available here. 

A $15-million wing has opened at Mayers Memorial Hospital on Highway 299 between Fall River Mills and McArthur. It is the new home of the hospital's emergency department, imaging center, and laboratory services.

All three departments were housed in the old hospital, which the state determined was not up to earthquake standards.

CEO Louis Ward says it was built with USDA funds and about $3-million raised by the community.

"This is a major need for any community, especially a community that's 70 miles away from other health care services," he said. "Without this building, this area would have went without emergent services, without imaging services, laboratory services that are very needed in a community like ours."

The hospital moved into the space on Tuesday, August 18. It was not a moment too soon. Ward said they opened at 6:00 that evening, and by 9:00 p.m. the ER was full.

"We went from a four-bed ER to a six-bed ER, and we had 6 patients within a few hours," he said. "And in the past, a couple of those patients would have been in the hallway or waiting in the lobby. So just to see that, and see that those patients were able to be treated quicker, with new equipment and a happy staff, was just an amazing feeling for all of us."

Because of COVID-19, the hospital couldn't hold a grand opening, but Ward wanted to thank the McConnell Foundation, Sierra Pacific Industries, and the California Endowment for their contributions.

To read the full article by KRCRTV, click here.

In Memory of Duane Dauner

Sharing Sad News About our Friend and Colleague, Duane Dauner

It is with heavy hearts that the ACHD board shares the sad news of the death of C. Duane Dauner, a friend and colleague to many in health care and most recently the long-term President/CEO of the California Hospital Association (CHA). Duane tragically lost his life in an automobile accident on July 13.

ACHD board chair, Howard Salmon, has known Duane for decades. “Duane Dauner was a tremendous asset to the state of California, and the country. His leadership on health care policy over the decades was second to none. I met Duane in the late seventies when I was an executive at St. Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, and he, the new President of the Missouri Hospital Association. He was one of the most respected, most knowledgeable healthcare professionals I have had the pleasure of knowing. On behalf of the ACHD board, I would like to extend my deep condolences to Duane’s wife, Diane, and his family during this challenging time.”

Duane led the CHA from 1985 to 2017, when he retired from the association. He remained active and current in all things health care and was a resource and sounding board for countless individuals and organizations in the field.

Cathy Martin, CEO of ACHD, remembers fondly working for Duane at the California Hospital Association (CHA). “Duane was a brilliant, charismatic leader. It was a true personal and professional privilege to serve California hospitals under his leadership during my tenure at CHA. I have never met someone so dedicated to service in the health care field. I most enjoyed his skillful, witty, and entertaining ways of storytelling. If you were fortunate enough to be on the receiving end of one of his many stories, often about his meetings and dealings with fascinating personalities, you were sure to hang on every word and carry that story with you, and Duane always had a lesson in every story he told.”

Duane will be remembered and missed by many, including the ACHD board, members, and staff, and we extend our sincere sympathy to the Dauner family today and in the weeks to come.

With a heavy heart,

Howard Salmon
ACHD Board Chair
Fallbrook Regional Health District

Cathy Martin
ACHD Chief Executive Officer

Association of California Healthcare Districts Announces New CEO

Health Policy Expert Cathy Martin Brings Strong Experience Working to Increase Access to Care and Eliminate Health Disparities for Californians.


Sacramento, CA – The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) has named Cathy Martin as Chief Executive Officer, effective July 6, 2020.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Cathy Martin as the next CEO of the Association. I believe she has what ACHD needs to support California Healthcare Districts during this extraordinary time to deliver the best possible health services to Californians.” said Howard Salmon, Chair of the ACHD Board of Directors. “As COVID-19 cases resurge in California, it is important to eliminate health care disparities and to ensure everyone, including those in rural or low-population communities, have access to the life-saving care they need.”

Martin has worked in the nonprofit sector for more than 25 years, of which, the last 15 have been committed to health care or public health. Martin most recently served as the Vice President of Workforce Policy for the California Hospital Association (CHA). In this role, she led a strategic initiative to develop and implement solutions to address the long-term need for health care professionals in California. In addition, she led the Healthcare Laboratory Workforce Initiative in developing strategic solutions to the critical laboratory workforce shortage in California.

She has partnered with various philanthropic partners over the years, raising millions of dollars in grant funding for projects related to public health, education, and health workforce. Prior to joining CHA, Cathy was the Executive Director of the California State Rural Health Association, a membership organization that advocates for access to health care in California’s rural communities.

“I have always been a passionate advocate for access to quality, timely, and culturally appropriate health care. Healthcare Districts play a crucial role in ensuring access to care in many unique and diverse California communities. I am honored to be chosen to lead the organization at what is sure to be a challenging time in health care and look forward to serving the ACHD Membership” said Martin.

Martin’s predecessor, Ken Cohen, retired in February of 2020. Amber King has been acting as Interim CEO since Cohen’s retirement and will resume her previous role as Vice President, Advocacy & Membership.

To view the official press release click here.

Tahoe Forest Health officer recognized

Tahoe Forest Health System announced Jake Dorst, chief information and innovation officer, was recently named to the 100 Hospital and Health System CIOs to Know 2020 list by Becker’s Hospital Review.

The list features some of the most impressive health IT leaders who lead technology and health IT initiatives for hospitals and health systems across the country.

Dorst has led the IT department at Tahoe Forest Health System since September 2014. Under his leadership, Tahoe Forest Health System successfully transitioned to a single electronic health record platform and most recently modernized its patient care infrastructure, improving the network performance across the health system’s two hospitals and six specialty clinics.

To read the full article published by Sierra Sun, click here.

Health professionals volunteer to conduct heart screenings on teens and young adults

Sudden death in young people is rare, but according to the Mayo Clinic, cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in student athletes, mostly due to heart abnormalities.

7,000-10,000 school-aged children die each year nationwide from sudden cardiac arrest.

"This is a problem within the teens with either their electrical or mechanical systems that would not be found otherwise without screening. So sometimes the first symptom is death,” said Peninsula Health Care District Director Helen Galligan, RN.

On Sunday, Peninsula Health Care District partnered with the Heart Project to offer free heart screenings at The College of San Mateo for youth ages 12 to 25.
Its goal was to screen 300 young people.

"You try to protect them from as much as you can, but there are a million things that could get to them,” said Kevin Philbin, who brought his three children to the screening.

“So if there's a way to find out if a heart issue they may have, you want to find out."

Participants get a general health screening and blood pressure test, but the test they can’t get anywhere else is the EKG, followed by an echo-cardiogram that looks at the musculature of the heart and the function of the heart.

To read the full article published by KTVU FOX 2, click here.

60 rural hospital CEOs to know | 2020

Becker's Healthcare is pleased to recognize 60 rural hospital CEOs to know in 2020.

Becker's accepted nominations for this list and considered leaders making a positive impact on their organizations. The CEOs featured lead hospitals consistently recognized by the National Rural Health Association, American Hospital Association, IBM Watson Health and The Leapfrog Group as top institutions. Others sit on local chamber of commerce boards and serve state hospital associations. Almost all have presided over expansion and strategic change within their organizations. [...]

Louis Ward. CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District (Fall River Mills, Calif.). Mr. Ward leads Mayers Memorial Hospital District. The critical access hospital is about 200 miles north of Sacramento, Calif. Under his leadership, the hospital became one of only 17 healthcare districts in California to be classified as a certified healthcare district in 2017.

To read the full article published by Becker's Hospital Review, click here.