MCDH Board hears concerns regarding Pain Clinic closure

Pain Clinic, Planning , Locums & Oversight Committee Concerns Public

Editorial & Report by Marianne McGee, MA

The critical need for local pain physicians was of grave concern to local medical professionals and the public, although it was not an item on the Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) Board of Directors agenda.  Last month the MCDH Board and CEO Edwards had announced the decision to cancel their contract with Summit Pain Alliance with 30 days notice and no clear plan of how to go forward other than to see if current staff could fill the need, which must not have worked out.

Doctors Cottle, Kirkman and Miller all expressed displeasure and concern with the process used to sever the contract as well as the negative impact on patients, who are left traveling to Santa Rosa for this life impacting treatment.  Citizens and Lucresha Renteria, Mendocino Coast Clinics (MCC) Executive Director, also voiced the consequences of not having this available locally, forcing people in pain to having to travel out of the area.

Mendocino TV believes that losing Summit may also have a negative financial consequences as initiating the Pain Clinic drastically increased North Coast Family Health Center (NCFHC) patient visits and in hospital outpatient surgical visits.  My personal experience was a problem as they were doing these painful procedures without giving patients any appropriate medication, which is what other clinics and hospitals do.  Having needles inserted under imaging equipment without pain relief left me unwilling to participate in the MCDH Pain Program.  Given the “Opioid Epidemic”, it is a vital program dealing with these issues.

The other timely topic was the discussion regarding the Oversight Committee to administer the recently passed parcel tax measure.  President Lund announced that people who are interested in serving should send him a resume and letter outlining your interest, which will be appointed by him with MCDH Board input.

Myra Beals, on behalf of Friend of the Hospital (FOH), read a letter outlining the need for this Oversight Committee receive the budget and financial information needed to make appropriate decisions, independent from the MCDH staff and Board.  She reiterated that transparency must be a core responsibility to build the public trust, reminding them that it was active citizen participation, assuring open communications, which gave the parcel tax measure its slim positive passage.

Other citizen input included information that even major urban hospitals are forced to use expensive locum (traveling) medical professionals and more concern about waiting until next year to address the MCDH Planning Process.  As previously reported, it is actually the much disputed old Quorum Plan, which is the plan of record as legally required by Medicare.  Additionally, Faith Simon was concerned and confused as to why the CEO and staff reports are now agendized as “Strategic Plan Updates”.

Watch the entire meeting yourself and draw your own conclusions!

 

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