Mendocino Coast District Hospital January 26, 2017 Board Meeting

Glusker censored as new board moves forward

Mendocino Coast District Hospital Board of Directors meeting on January 26, 2017 moved forward under the leadership of President Steve Lund, although marred by the censure resolution, after a closed session, of Director Dr. Peter Glusker for a breach of confidentiality of the Brown Act.

While the resolution was only referred to by its formal number as the first one of the year, it was a result of the action initiated last month. While explicit details are not forthcoming, the issue appears to be an email that Dr. Glusker had sent to Gayl Moon regarding the closed session agenda for the meeting on January 5, where he requested an update to an item referring to allegations regarding personnel issues. Unfortunately, rather than just reply to Ms. Moon, who had sent out the agenda, it was copied to all 60 people on the MCDH Board distribution list, which resulted in a passed motion to draft a formal resolution.

The regular January 26 meeting was moved efficiently forward by President Lund, who has the skills to advance the business without a great deal of extraneous information or unnecessary blathering. My only concern is that the public is actually hearing all the pertinent details to fairly evaluate the current MCDH status.

One recent concern was the lack of quorum for the MCDH Planning Committee, which has the opportunity to engage the community in the important tasks of a Community Needs Assessment Survey and marketing plan as it looks to the future financial needs of the institution. President Lund assured the group this was unusual and steps will be taken to ameliorate this problem in the future, acknowledging that the Committee has been distracted by all the past issues facing the hospital.

One issue that has been disconcerting to Mendocino TV has been the entire subject of the Ad Hoc Obstetrics Committee, which initially drug out being constituted and is now moving forward at a warp speed. The report from Dr. Kevin Miller tonight indicated it was moving quickly forward and yet members Tanya Smart, Carole White and President Lund appeared to clarify the need to fully engage the community in its deliberations and fully explore all alternatives , rather then rush to just a factual report on data. While it was characterized by Chairperson Miller as being nearly ready to report data, both President Lund and members reiterated the need to also explore options and potential solutions without placing any blame on the past. Mr. Lund indicated that this is the first time he has experienced this level of community participation in the MCDH Board’s process and may serve as a model for future input. It is this indication that gives us hope for better community communications and participation to put MCDH headed in a positive direction, which is ultimately the key to building a healthy hospital and thus a healthy community.

While the staff continues to provide optimistic details about the hospital’s progress, it does appear that a great deal of time, and perhaps money, will be spent reevaluating the facility issues that have plagued the organization for a number of years with empty promises of progress. While it appears that many miscalculations were made in the past, Steve Kobert, who is overseeing these projects now, has a solid handle on the need to be strategically reviewing both the scope and realistic funding required for the projects threatening MCDH’s licensure and safety for quite some time.

The most vital issue continuing to face MCDH is the fiscal issues, which are difficult to monitor and understand from a laypersons’ perspective. The healthcare industry is very complex, confusing and difficult to decipher, given a great number of diverse measures, funding sources and comparisons. While there are ongoing announcements of positive fiscal improvements, such as a $250,000 donation from the MCDH Foundation, performance awards, renegotiations, Medicare cost reimbursements, potential bond sales and pharmacy reimbursement programs, there are still critical concerns regarding MCDH’s fiscal stability and future. There are still issues with census, expenses and revenues resulting an operating net loss year to date on the bottom line.

President Lund acknowledged the shortcomings coming from the years of deferred facility maintenance, bankruptcy and its resulting impacts on the organizations ongoing planning, management and finances. We continue to be hopeful that his leadership and commitment to community engagement and involvement will keep moving Mendocino Coast District Hospital moving forward in a positive direction to ensure we can continue to build a healthy community.

While it is easy to disregard these seemingly petty, insular issues in today’s global bleak and uncertain future, it is truly at the local level where we can empower ourselves and actually make a substantial improvement in our daily lives. This coastal community depends on all of our engagement to survive and thrive.


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