RRHC, SHCHD Talk Collaboration

The boards of directors of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District and Redwoods Rural Health Center discussed potential collaboration at a June 8 meeting. (Sandy Feretto)

The boards of directors of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District and Redwoods Rural Health Center discussed potential collaboration at a June 8 meeting. (Sandy Feretto)

The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District (SHCHD) and Redwoods Rural Health Center (RRHC) boards of directors got together for dinner and a joint board meeting at the Chimney Tree in Phillipsville on June 8.

After introductions of RRHC and SHCHD board and staff members, Matt Rees, chief executive of the healthcare district, opened the meeting to discussion of possible areas of cooperation between the two organizations.

“One of the things I thought we could do was basically do a little bit of a brainstorming session and open it up for ideas,” Rees said. “I know that we’ve talked a couple of times with a few of us with Redwoods Rural and also the hospital and we’ve talked about interfacing the lab, we’ve talked about some things we can do as far as public health. There’s been a lot of different ideas so we’d like to look and see what we think we can do together that will help the community as a whole.”

A list was created on three large pages as people offered ideas.

Under the heading of potential cooperation between the districts were lab services, ancillary services, mental health, a retail pharmacy, pediatric and prenatal services, the sharing of space for specialists, computer interface, telehealth, health fairs (with a suggestion of a walking event between the two facilities), physical therapy, and joint contracts with providers.

Rees said he had been surprised that pediatrics was the most requested service in the responses of district residents to the district’s survey about healthcare needs in the area.

RRHC board president Erica Boyd asked about pain management or a Suboxone program. Rees agreed that pain management was a close second of most requested services in the results of the district’s survey.

It was reported that the clinic at SHCHD had a Suboxone program. Southern SHCHD clinic manager Julie Moore explained that Dr. Matuszkiewicz was a certified Suboxone provider. 

“A physician can only do a hundred patients, that’s all,” Moore said. She added that the program was not full yet.

There were brief discussions about retention of health care providers, and the possibility of sharing staff, facilities, and housing for providers. There was general agreement that better communication between the two facilities would be beneficial.

Rees suggested that committees of both organizations meet and continue the discussions about possible collaboration.

SHCHD board president Barb Truitt spoke briefly about the district’s new voucher program policy that had been slightly revised at a previous district board meeting. The SHCHD board voted to approve the voucher policy for residents who have paid the SHCHD parcel tax to receive a voucher for district services in the amount of the parcel tax.