By Amy Katz of Mendocino TV Oct. 6, 2014
Last evening’s Mendocino Coast District Hospital candidates forum, hosted by the League of Women Voters, drew an audience of well over 200 people. The forum’s high attendance at Cotton Auditorium points to how crucial the next Board of Directors election will be for the health and revitalization of the MCDH after emerging from bankruptcy.
Roster of candidates:
- Kitty Bruning, RN
- Michael Carroll, Business Coach
- Peter Glusker, MD
- John Kermen, DO
- William Rohr, MD
Each candidate presented an opening and closing statement reflecting their views on certain issues, as well as responding to questions generated by audience members.
Among the issues discussed, the question of outsourcing services such as housekeeping, elicited a unanimous, “No,” from candidates. The candidates indicated their opposition to outsourcing from not being cost effective to keeping the jobs at home. According to Dr. Rohr, “It is an admission that you don’t know how to run your own business.”
When asked which services they considered to be at-risk due to lack of profits, Kermen raised the matter of a parcel tax. Weary of departments coming up against the “chopping block,” he urged the need for community involvement and support. Bruning agreed with Kermen calling for additional funding, not closing departments. Dr. Glusker opposed the elimination of departments and suggested looking at technological links.
Another controversial issue surrounding a woman’s right to access in all areas of health care, including receiving an abortion, prompted a resounding agreement in favor of a woman’s right to choose. Linked to this issue was whether or not the candidates would rule out the hospital’s involvement with the Seventh Day Adventists. Candidates expressed strong opposition to working with the Adventists. Bruning indicated that she worked for them and never would again. Carroll, echoed her sentiments saying he’s had business dealings with them in the past, and never would again.
Other questions involved the following issues:
- Conflict of interest when a board member works for the hospital and when to recuse oneself.
- Supporting or opposing the state ballot measure that calls for drug testing of physicians.
- Pursuing affiliation with other entities.
- How to handle an issue on which there is no consensus from the board and how to handle knowing you’re “right” on that issue.
- Differing goals and operating principles in a rural hospital vs. a large for-profit hospital.
- A board member’s role in day-to-day hospital operations.
- How to influence residents to seek care locally, rather than going “over the hill.”
- How to get the positive word out to the public.
- Priorities for the CEO and the CFO.
- Whether or not a candidate has ever served on a board and if so, which ones and for how long.