MCDH Committees desperately need new volunteers

While new volunteers are needed, will shabby treatment drive them away?

Editorial by Marianne McGee, MA/ABS

Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) has opportunity to include at least one new community volunteer to its committee structure, as long time member Dr. James Katzel resigned from the MCDH Board Planning Committee this month.

Given the frustrations expressed by committee members from MCDH Board Committees it may be difficult to recruit active citizen participation now. Sources reveal the lack of leadership skills, staff dominated meetings, members chastised for asking relevant questions and believing they’re expected to just rubber stamp staff plans and reports, as problems.

The MCDH Planning Committee should be the most important and active MCDH group right now, given the need for major facility upgrades by 2030 and the financial woes. After the Obstetrics (OB) debacle last summer and fall, Planning meetings were cancelled. There was no committee quorum in January and the next 2 months meetings were short and consisted of staff presentations for CEO Bob Edwards marketing plan and the community survey. The OB Report was approved without discussion and sent to the MCDH Board.  So, it is understandable that longtime members, hopeful for change and improvements are frustrated.

Citizen input and participation is critical to solving MCDH problems and preparing for the future. Community volunteers like Carole White and Tanya Smart continue to be willing to dedicate their time and energy to helping make this hospital healthy, in spite of their shabby treatment at the Ad Hoc OB Committee.

I think the MCDH Board of Directors should  avail themselves of experienced and educated community leaders to strength their committee structure.  They also should reverse the bylaws change that gave paid staff voting committee member status. Board and staff should to welcome participation and oversight from the public, most of whom who have the depth of local knowledge, history and commitment to the community that the two new  MCDH board members do not have.

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