At the all-day Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District (SHCHD) strategic planning meeting on Tuesday, May 10, the board of directors discussed revisions to their mission, values, and vision statements, and announced they were in negotiations to purchase the College of the Redwoods (CR) property in Garberville. In the evening the meeting reconvened at the Chimney Tree in Phillipsville where the board discussed a parcel tax proposal and heard an estimate on the cost of building a new hospital.
Board president Barbara Truitt said that in closed session the board had passed a motion to begin the process to purchase the CR property for a new hospital facility. She noted that a committee made up of district administrator Matt Rees, operations manager Kent Scown, and chief financial officer Paul Eves had been formed to begin negotiations for the CR property on Sprowel Creek Road.
“I have long been interested in the CR facility, the old school district office, as what I thought would be the perfect site for our new hospital facility,” Truitt said, “and recently we contacted CR administration and they came down and had a meeting with us and were very receptive to our suggestion that we try to find a way to work together that would enable them to continue having classes, to continue using the Redwood Playhouse and the other spaces in the front building for the community uses they are now being put to, and then enable us to build a facility on the currently unused space in the back.”
She added that after negotiations at the operational level by committees, the ultimate decision on the purchase of the property would be made by the boards of SHCHD and College of the Redwoods.
Rees reported that he estimated that building a new hospital would cost about $35 million. He explained to the board that the new facility would be in two buildings. Due to regulatory requirements the more expensive building would include the emergency room, acute beds, and the rural health clinic. A second building for diagnostic equipment, telemedicine, and services requiring less stringent licensing would cost less to build.
The discussion about the proposed new facility included the need for an urgent care clinic. Rees said there was the possibility of having a small surgery unit in the new hospital.
The board discussed the feasibility of keeping and possibly expanding the skilled nursing facility in the current hospital building on Conger Street, and the option of adding assisted living.
It was noted that future seismic regulatory requirements would not be met by the current hospital building.
“In 2030 that structure will no longer meet the requirements for an acute care hospital,” Scown explained. “You can’t remodel the structure to make it work.”
With some upgrades, the current hospital building would meet requirements for a skilled nursing facility, Rees added.
Rees said he calculated that a $175 parcel tax would fund the proposed new hospital, and enable the district to use federal loans for the building.
The board discussed whether to put a new parcel tax on the 2016 November ballot or wait until an election in 2017. They agreed that it would be expensive for the district to hold a special election for the parcel tax if there was not a general election in 2017. They decided to do more research about upcoming elections and seek advice about the best way to proceed.
Rob Eskridge and Ryan Stock of Growth Management Center facilitated the earlier portion of the meeting at the Civic Club that was attended by about 21 people including the board, public, and some members of district staff.
The meeting began with an update on the survey the district sent out to assess the healthcare needs of the communities.
In addition to postal delivery, the board discussed distributing the survey at local events. They noted the survey can be filled out online at www.shchd.org. An error on the bottom of the survey gives an incorrect web address.
In an update on the acquisition of a CT scanning device, Rees reported that property near the hospital was being acquired for the diagnostic unit. Rees reported he had spoken with G.E., Toshiba, and Siemens about their CT scanners and will look at their proposals. Research is still being done on whether to house the CT scanner in a trailer or modular building, Rees added.
Mission and Vision Statements
Eskridge and Stock guided the board through the process of revising the district’s mission, values, and vision statements. The group came up with drafts for the statements that would go to the editing committee for refining before coming back to the board for final approval.
Draft mission statement: “Engage community members and their families with lifestyle and education activities to promote optimal health, provide quality local healthcare services, and assist our patients with coordination of care as they navigate through the ever changing healthcare environment.”
Draft vision statement: “Empowering individuals to live longer, healthier lives through use of information, relationships, and technology.”
A core values statement was not drafted, but the group decided that it should include the words “caring, commitment, teamwork and positive attitude.”