Mendocino Coast District Hospital Planning Committee April 17, 2018

Planning lacks comprehensive community input

Editorial by Marianne McGee, MA/ABS

The Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Planning Committee meeting on April 17, 2018 provided updates on ongoing projects and introduced a draft of their new Strategic Initiatives.  The planning process, or a lack of one, has been an ongoing issue with the community and MCDH Panning members, two of whom resigned over it.

Two years ago, MCDH management staff made concerted efforts to close Obstetrics (OB), which resulted in squandering precious time, interest and support from the community.  It has also contributed to a fair amount of negative publicity and conversations about MCDH, which is also impacting voter’s response to the proposed parcel tax. The positive outcome of the OB debacle was the emergence of a number of highly skilled volunteers, who have faithfully attended meetings and have begged for opportunities to share their knowledge and experience with MCDH leadership and management.

Recently, the MCDH President Steve Lund has begun to acknowledge these valuable resources by adding Carole White as a MCDH Planning Committee member and including some of these volunteers as they drafted these updated Strategic Initiatives.  As this document was presented to the Planning Committee, it was apparent that the Volunteers giving input were tokens, merely playing lip service to the community cries to be heard!  There were only two one hour meetings, where according to a memo presented by Katy Pye, it did not appear their contributions were heard or valued.

“Despite other, sometimes extensive comments, questions, and suggestions by the public members, none were addressed at our second and last meeting. There was no real discussion of our comments, nor clarification of anything in neither the Draft, nor an answer to the question of what was expected from our participation. The virtually unchanged document has moved on a fast track to the Planning Committee. The missed opportunity is those who were invited to the table (and others in the public) have expertise and success at planning and management including in a major hospital. In short, we’ve earned our stripes.”

Carole White spoke often about the same issues including: the need for revised language; reflections that the community was listened to and their concerns addressed; the need for accountability and the need for a more encompassing strategic plan.  In response, Chair Steve Lund said this is not the  legally required “Strategic Plan”, this document is just to give CEO Bob Edwards direction until next December, when 3 or potentially 4 MCDH Board vacancies will be decided and they can develop a new Strategic Plan.  In fact, Mr. Lund said the official Strategic Plan is actually the “Quorum Plan”, which was shelved when CEO Edwards came on board and was at the source of Mike Dell’Ara’s angst when he resigned from this committee.

This means the current MCDH Board of Directors is abdicating their fiduciary responsibilities, kicking its problems down the road again.  It is improbable and unrealistic to expect a majority of new and unknown MCDH Directors to successfully tackle a comprehensive planning process, as they learn the nuts and bolts of this complex organization.

Please watch the video,  draw your own conclusions and comment on our website!


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