The Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) May 2017 Board of Directors meeting was a standing room only affair and one reason is the ongoing concern the hospital will close Obstetrics (OB).
Given the ongoing financial challenges and the fact it is not a required hospital service, people are anxious it will be shut down. This fear was recently heightened after the poorly executed 3 month Ad Hoc OB Committee process and Dr. Kevin Miller delivering the OB Report to the hospital board with his pronouncement that “OB should be closed down”.
So a number of citizens attended to express their concerns regarding women’s health care and the impact eliminating OB will have on the coast. Some attendees have said they are going to be returning regularly to monitor the meetings, thinking their physical presence will be a reminder to the MCDH Board and staff how important the continuation of this care is to the community.
There was some reassurance because the MCDH Board Members did vote unanimously to renew their 3 year contracts with Mendocino Coast Clinics, Inc. (MCC) to provide Pediatric and Obstetrics on call coverage for 15 days per month. Having on call services in both Pediatrics and Obstetrics are critical requirements to providing OB care and the hospital’s share of this coverage has become dependent on expensive out of town providers.
MCC is trying to reduce this expense by having recently hired a second Pediatrician and is willing to recruit a second OB physician. In order to find a qualified candidate willing to move here, MCC must be given assurances that OB services will continue.
Although these contracts are for 3 years, there are also a variety of clauses that allow either organization to withdraw on fairly short notice.
Lucresha Renteria, MCC Executive Director thanked their board for the support at the second community comments portion of the meeting.
Watch Mendocino TV interview Ms. Renteria prior to the meeting regarding her thoughts on the issue and the OB services MCC provides.