Vote No on Measure W, Urges Letter Writer

Jerold phelps hospital garberville

The courtyard of the current hospital in Garberville. [Photo from their website]

Welcome to our letters to the editor/opinion section. To submit yours for consideration, please send to Please consider including an image to be used–either a photograph of you or something applicable to the letter. However, an image is not necessary for publication. Remember opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect that of Redheaded Blackbelt.

To the community,

Once again, Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is asking us to support the healthcare operation in Garberville, by voting to tax the persons owning real property an additional $170/year for 45 years.

The money, to be collected by Humboldt County, would supposedly be used to secure and make the payments on a USDA loan for $40 million dollars which is to be used to pay the costs of constructing a new building to house the hospital.

SHCHD has hired a contractor to ram this through, and in a flurry of sales techniques, they have done a reasonable job of sugar-coating the major new tax. It is clear that at least some people, primarily seniors and the few engaged supporters and employees of SHCHD, are interested in taxing your parcel to support their dream of a new building.

And dreaming of a sensibly operated and profitable hospital for all might not seem like a bad idea!

The reality is, that SHCHD does not appear to have the support of the community. Many persons have an unpleasant story, a negative issue, an apathetic viewpoint. Few persons actually present in SoHum would consider using SHCHD for their personal care, preferring to go North or South to see providers and receive services. Also there is a Federally Funded clinic in Redway, adequate for many people’s needs. Frequently, SHCHD fails to meet the needs of the population at all, lacking essential services such as women’s health, obstetrics, pharmacy, behavioral health and drug treatment, and pain management. SHCHD also lacks adequate professional staff to see persons desiring services.

A community which already does not use or support the hospital will make poor candidates to be patients of the “new” facility. Only a small percentage of SoHum residents have the ability to pay the rates and fees charged by SHCHD. Only a few actually have insurance or the means to pay cash, and only a small percentage of the persons in SoHum own their property.

The sales tools used by SHCHD to sell this election have been largely scare tactics. When measure W fails:

The hospital will not close.

Property values will not fall.

SHCHD will continue to be the poor quality employer and the worst-choice provider for the few persons in poor health and the indigent, just as it has for the last 5 years. The SNF will continue to be the cash-cow. The ER docs will receive their $10,000/week salary, the lab will continue to be low-staffed, and the employees will be exploited, underpaid, and stuck in their jobs until they are abused, harassed and possibly experienced enough to take their careers elsewhere. Persons who consume services, for whatever reason, will continue to be overcharged, underwhelmed, and disaffected by this extremely poor-quality healthcare operation. The “hospital” will be low-census, underused and reviled.

In short, nothing will change but the cast of characters.The message from administrators and board members will not change either!

In communities that support their facilities, you would find wealthy donors and a population of persons willing to sacrifice to have a hospital in their community. A profitable Hospital that was sensibly operated would not need a parcel tax, or try to float a crazy plan like Measure W.

I certainly hope that this terrible plan to tax the few to support this poor quality facility and broken Healthcare District while raising the costs of living in SoHum will go down to defeat.
It IS a plan, but from my point of view, it is a poor plan.

Paul Riley

For more information about the proposed hospital see Together We Can Build It.



  • Dope growers are filthy rich. This would be a drop in the ocean for them.

    • the misadventures of bunjee

      If they pay it. Or if the actual property owners can even be found. Good luck collecting on that loan guarantee. And $40 million for a rural clinic? Is it 10 stories tall and clad in platinum? Or is it a $10 million building with the other 30 going for the “labor”?

    • I did not know ALL land owners are pot-growers? Gee thanks for the info!

    • So by working man I guess you mean troll that works at trolling right?

  • I think a real hospital in this area would be amazing, but I don’t know where we would house a full hospital staff. I think before we build a hospital we should focus on housing the population already working here. I think it would be easier to staff sohum businesses if there were housing options affordable for people working at said businesses

    • Your a genius. Same go’s for tha cannabis industry. Where’s everybody that works on these farms supposed to live???

  • Mountain Lion Lady

    Thank you Paul Riley. I have lived in Southern Humboldt for a large portion of my life. I have had good and bad experiences with SHCHD. Mostly bad since our beloved Dr. Mark Phelps was pushed out. I have worked at SHCHD and can tell you first hand there is always a shortage, always a dilemma. I have seen many good people get the short end of the stick by remaining a employee. Garberville would do well with an Urgent Care Only with medical offices in the remaining part of the building. Over the years, I have watched the hospital shrink from a fully operational surgery, maternity ward, ICU and med/surg. Not to mention the lab, x-ray and a fully staffed medical office with three real doctors. Let’s not continue to pour money for a failing project. Maybe consider a change in operating procedure and using what we already have.

  • The Way things are going people are going to be taxed to death until they have to move.

  • For 45 F king Years WTF by then they will obsolete any way .VOTE NO REFUSE THE NOOSE AROUND THE COMMUNITY’S NECK

  • I, for one, cannot afford an increase in my taxes….I haven’t had an increase in my income in years…

  • tax paying citzen

    I own two properties in Southern Humboldt, my home and a lot in Shelter Cove.
    I am not a dope grower, but work part time and have a small retirement income.
    I will willingly pay $350 a year toward a new hospital. I am voting YES on ‘W’.
    I think there is a lot of mis-information in the letter written above. I think voting against this is short sighted. I’m looking toward the future of our community, and I think the new hospital will improve health care in our area.But then I also vote for school bonds both for our local school, and our community college, and I have no children. I believe you get what you pay for, I vote for library funding and fire departments, too.
    Please think of the future, and vote YES on ‘W’

    • Phoney Baloney hospital executive support group

      Do you think “tax paying citizens” of Shelter Cove want additional taxes on the 4000 parcels to support a hospital? I got mine and lets take yours! If you don’t like it leave! How many lots can we pick up in the tax auction?

  • Paul Riley is a disgruntled former hospital employee who was fired by Harry Jasper. He has ill feelings towards the facilty because he was fired and is not able to get rehired. He has a personal vindeta against the hospital. He has not worked at the facilitiy for several years and has no clue about the current ongoings at the hospital. He has not attended a single board meeting or town hall meeting and has no actual knowledge of how the hospital is currently being run.
    He also dislikes most people in southern humboldt, especially the growers – which is ironic considering the fact that he smokes the crop that the growers produce.
    Before anyone litens to Paul Riley and his unimformed opinions, i would encourage you to attend a town hall meeting or a board meeting and become informed about what the hospital is actually trying to do for this community.
    I do not currently work at the facility but I full hartedly support measure W. Get informed and learn the true facts. Opinions are like a$$wholes, everyone has one and they typically stink. 😄

    • Whether or not Mr. Riley is “disgruntled” is not the issue. I don’t know him or his history but he brings up good points. I too, am disgruntled with SHCHD, yet I have never worked there nor been fired from there.

      Decades ago and prior to the first taxes being forced upon a select group of Humboldt County property owners, the hospital was a functioning small country facility. Albeit, it was not equipped with top of the line equipment and seriously injured and ill patients had to be transferred to outlying facilities. Yet there were four full time physicians, Drs G. Phelps, M. Phelps, Whitaker and Hunter. Many years later, after the imposition of the parcel tax and the collection of millions of dollars, we still have a country facility with outdated equipment but only one doctor. Patients are still being transferred to outlying facilities. It appears that all the promises that were made during the tax increases never came to fruition. Nothing has changed except my increasing tax bill.

      Several months ago a family member was placed in a holding pattern when a broken bone required surgery. SHCHD turned her away for lack of a physician. The northern facilities had an extensive wait of several weeks because they too lack physicians. Howard Hospital in Willits took her right in and performed the surgery the next day. They have doctors there!!

      Southern Humboldt has been in decline for decades and has reached an all time low. So, seriously, what doctor would give up a fine job in a clean environment to come to this once beautiful town which has gone awry? What new doctor, with student loans, could afford to work in Garberville? What doctor would want to raise a family in or near Garberville?

      SHCHD would like to take millions of taxpayer dollars for a facility that, first, they can’t afford and, second, they would NEVER be able to staff properly.

      Southern Humboldt is no longer the community it used to be. Long time locals have had to make a choice to live in an area that has evolved into a selfish and violent community or to move elsewhere. As difficult as it has been, many have left the area where they can live more peaceably and closer to better health care. The new inhabitants have no affiliation to the community and never will. Most are here to make large amounts of cash and have no desire of becoming community oriented.

      If SHCHD is serious about building and staffing a hospital of such magnitude they need to start with fund raisers. Let’s see how supportive the community really is. There are millions of untaxed dollars floating through So Hum that could easily be anonymously donated. I predict the outcome would be bleak. There is minimal to no interest to pour an exorbitant amount of money into a facility that has no future.

      The push behind the tax increase apparently lies within the doors of the current hospital and clinic to maintain their income and status. I have yet to hear the community crying out for a newer, larger, more expensive facility. The only requests have been for additional doctors. Let’s begin there.

      I still love this area, been here forever, plan to stay here, and would like to see a functional medical facility but within reason. This new tax scheme is pure fantasy. Let’s staff the current facility first, upgrade the equipment as promised years ago, and then we’ll look into that pipe dream.

      No on W

      • You say no improvements have been made. The Hospital was improved to meet the current earthquake regulations. It will again need to be retrofitted to meet the regulations for 2030. The construction of the current facility is unable to be retrofitted to meet the new standard.
        What promises have not been kept?
        You say that patients are still being transferred. Of course, they are. The current hospital is not meant to give definitive care in serious conditions. The patient is stabilized and transferred for more specialized care.
        The hospital was ready to close the door in 2013. If it was not for the new staff, it would be closed now. The property tax paid for the retrofit and has made the hospital profitable.
        You say that you couldn’t receive surgery at the hospital and had to go elsewhere. What did you expect, there is no surgical suite in Garberville and there never has been.
        You complain about the community but you are still here. What have you done to improve things?
        You want to upgrade the hospital. Do you have any idea of what new equipment has been added to the hospital? If not, you should consider it before you make false claims.
        There is absolutely no way this hospital will be allowed to stay open after 2030.

        • Michael Hoffman

          First, you should sign your response with your name. Second, you should pay attention to the comments on this blog, as most are real. We have a serious lack of adequate healthcare in SoHum.

        • Bring out your dead

          All the progressive geriatrics that vote yes on this measure don’t really care about future generations loaded with debt and won’t be around to see if the hospital closes in 2030. They are self serving elitists.

        • A one story building is pretty unlikely to fall in an earthquake, so WOW.
          If the hospital was profitable it would not need this tax increase.

    • Jasper the Ghost

      How much did “Do the dirty work” Harry earn, and what is the medium income of a Southern Humboldt hospital patient? What services were provided for individuals during a year and how many had to go somewhere else to get “fixed” up. Who needs a $40m half way house? Inquiring minds want to know who is really getting serviced.

      • Yes, some never understood Dr. Marc Phelps value. I might just pay it just to keep him here.
        I have no feelings of loyalty to a group that took the Phelps out of Phelps Hospital.

  • I’m voting yes! I have to pay on two properties and also not a grower. I will pay this Increase, especially if they can promise to add bAck a maternity ward. I know so many mothers who drive all the way to mad river for decades now. Plus an expansion of senior care

  • The administration cannot properly run the small hospital we currently have. Why give them more of my money to run another into the ground. I wouldn’t go to garberville hospital for a splinter much less something major. They over charge, triple bill, and don’t know their ass from their elbow. They treat their employees like dirt too. Feel so bad for the SNF unit. Please vote no!!!

    • Lots of accusations with no facts. How much does Fortuna and Willits charge? If you don’t know, then don’t make these statements.

      • the misadventures of bunjee

        I could give you some numbers but then I’d be violating other’s medical privacy. Let’s just say you don’t need a $40 million facility in the middle of nowhere in a dysfunctional, lightly populated region. Either fix what you have, or head north or south for medical care. And as I’ve said already above, good luck collecting that tax money. For 45 years. You’ll be paying extra interest on those bonds for a century.

    • The SNF unit has received accolades for the last several years. Why do you feel sorry? How about facts versus an uneducated opinion?

  • Patriot in Willits

    I think Mountain Lion Lady has the right idea. The new Howard Hospital has the capacity to serve both northern Mendocino and Southern Humboldt. If there isn’t enough local demand, you eventually end up with an aging albatross akin to what Fort Bragg is dealing with.

    • tax paying citizen

      Howard memorial in Willits, Redwood memorial in Fortuna…where will you go when the road is closed? Oh, that never happens…..

      • Redding, reach will pick you up

        • Who will stabilize you before the flight? How many times does the weather prohibit a flight from landing?

          • the misadventures of bunjee

            That would be the flight nurse. There’s one on every flight. Weather doesn’t prohibit landing in G’ville, Redding or UC Davis much. Medical personnel are trained for such things. What, you think no one has ever thought how to land in crappy weather to get someone to a trauma center? Remember a certain pilot Dr. out of G’ville?

      • Your crazy! Seriously when have you not been able to travel from SoHum to Fortuna for more then a day if ever???!

  • Can the supporters of this new hospital promise us that the non medical support jobs will be full time, living wage, full benefits jobs? These are the jobs that will be filled by local long term residents with a commitment to the community.

    • If W doesn’t pass you won’t have to worry about the 80 positions that will be lost. Do you have any idea how the salary and benefits compare to other facilities on the north coast? Why don’t you post a comparative analysis of these salary and benifits?

  • It needs a complete overhaul, from admin to building, otherwise it’s just lipstick on a pig.
    I’d love to see the old hospital & staff back, but with a new type of subscription plan complete with referrals to other doctors & labs in the same program.
    Direct Primary Care does this. Specialists & other doctors in the program will see you even though they’re hundreds of miles away, because you’re subscribed.
    The more doctors we get back up & running, the healthier the communities will be.
    But, no tax.
    Property owners are no longer a dime a dozen. There won’t be many left to foot the bill for 20 years let alone 45 years. Besides, it’s a community hospital, not a property owners hospital. Rents are high enough already.
    Ask Jerry for the same permit courtesy he’s giving to mega developers down south.

  • As a property owner, I voted for the property tax for the clinic. I had high hopes that the new clinic would have a mission statement of hope and care for all people in the community, providing superior, and varied services.
    Unfortunately, Mrs. Truitt from the board of directors hired Dr. M, fresh out of school to be the doctor in charge of the clinic. He had no experience. I did not know this at the time.
    I called for an appointment to see the new doctor for refills. I had been seeing Dr. Mark Phelps for years. I was told by the polite appointment desk person that the clinic was no longer willing to see me because I was a “pain patient.” This was confusing because I was not taking pain meds; nor was I there to get them. I was there for other prescriptions, like Flomax so I could pee in the morning and not have to use a catheter.
    I was dropped by the clinic, and now had no doctor and no Flomax. I was no longer accepted at a clinic that I pay taxes for. And most importantly, I had high “care for all” hopes which included the whole spectrum of people from newborns to old people.
    The polite desk lady told me that my medical record and patient outlook looked like I may have future problems possibly requiring pain meds (I’m getting old).
    I went to the board meeting to file my letter of concern and put my complaint on the agenda. When I came back one month later to address the board with this policy that Dr.M and the clinic had adopted of DUMPING ME AS A PAIN PATIENT, I then realized at the meeting that they were DUMPING ALL PAIN PATIENTS. And I told them they needed now to create a new Mission Statement reflecting a more honest god-awful truth.
    Harry and Mrs. Truitt briefly exchanged words of denial and that was that. Blew me out the room.
    The truth is Dr.M ran our clinic into the ground and Mrs. Truitt hired him and let him do it.
    Because of the this management and agendas, there is nothing about the new hospital to get excited about, except writing my yearly tax check for a place that cannot see me.
    If you are a property owner getting older, and pain meds might be part of your therapeutic care plan,
    Vote No on W. This business model for our clinic is doomed for failure if they are unwilling to respond to the entire community at large.
    Sincerely, Dave

  • Dubonnet Hisspano

    2029 is far away. Advancement in medical treatment are growing exponentially. I can not imagine a single story building all that hard to retrofit. Having property owners alone foot the bill does not seem fair. There must be a matching fund program out there. I would look into these type hospitals in California at their success rate. The state has research sites for that very thing. Once built how are you going to staff it? Where are the people going to live? I think you are really not aware how large of Doctor shortage there is. I realize that you are talking building here, but if you think $10,000/week salary for an ER doc is a lot of money ,you would be wrong. You wont find a competent Doc at that rate. 168 hours at $10,000 =$59.52 an hour. You wont hire someone for 3 times that. Along with your other specialties that make up a hospital. Volume of patients is the next question? on and on. Maybe a helicopter or plane would make more sense . I don’t know to much, I don’t live here (would love to). Another thing to consider how welcoming you all are. Do you think a perspective Doc would read a blog to sample the community they would want to move their families? If so what would that impression be of Garberville? This deal looks to be lining someones pocket. IMHO

  • What forms of community oversight exist for the current hospital? How do citizens come to be informed enough to determine if administration is doing a good job?

    Is the current hospital “optimized”? If the current hospital is being very well run and fully staffed, THEN a new building can be considered. A larger, more expensive, but poorly managed hospital will only do harm.

  • Earth to Southern Humboldt

    As one who travels from one company to another I see mistakes that are made in good conscience and due process. Any business owner or manager will agree the world does not turn out rosy pink without some bumps in the road.

    The management so vacuously condemned above is managing to survive in an area where public demands are huge and contributions miniscule. The area runs on an underground economy. If the incomes here were taxed and the population required to pay income taxes there would not be uninvestigated criminal activity.

    I live in supposedly new apartments and the landlord has not provided a working furnace for five months. I pay more than I would in a metropolitan or urban area. How do you expect a hospital to attract highly skilled personnel when they have to pay 50% more for a lousy can of green beans and double the amount of rent they would pay anywhere else? – – – That is if they can find someplace to rent that is not in violation of the building codes? Do you think I’d be eager to stay under these conditions? Would you?

    Several commenters above disparaged the staff. You can’t live within 50 miles in decent housing and if you do live 50 miles away the road is washed away regularly.

    I agree the procurement of adequate numbers of staff is a difficult issue the hospital is trying to resolve, but why aren’t the naysayers doing something to make Garberville deserving of the staff they need instead of punishing those who would serve their community. Do you like having to pay inflated prices for everything – ?

    Garberville and Southern Humboldt want better healthcare but your representative naysayers above take more pleasure in degrading than upgrading.

    Someone is daring to try to improve your lives by expanding your hospital and bringing in quality services and retain staffing long-term. All some of you can do is want more for less. GROW UP! Stop buying your oversized Trucks (testosterone substitutes), invest a half tank of gas or diesel per month to give your kids and elderly and family a chance for better healthcare.

    I don’t use BART, but I pay a parcel tax for it… And I pay taxes for hospital improvements. The ones you have to send your family members to – if they survive the trip. You get what you pay for – or not!…

    • Local mom and RN

      I understand your point but you are missing the part about they do not and will not accept all residents who pay the tax. You can take the BART if you want to, you would not be banned from BART. Many of our residents have been banned from the clinic that they pay taxes on. Redwoods Rural is another clinic in the area and they are doing just fine, without a tax. Because they turn no one away!

    • That’s a lot of words, for so little content. I think you mean I should pay taxes for something I don’t support or use, simply because you do, in another county.

      Thanks for your opinion.

      I don’t want to pay extra taxes to support something that is failing in so many ways, but primarily which has failed to honor the public trust, or to provide needed services. Let them build on what they have now. Sink or swim, learn to operate profitably. If it closes, so be it.

      Something is not always better than nothing. NO ON W!!

  • No new tax for no service at that lousy post Harry Jasper hospital.Wake up and vote no I go to Eureka or Fortuna and get good service! Also the lousy ambulance service can go with it No on W

    • Really? You’re ready to get rid of all services for the rest of us. Hey great you can get to Eureka for your services. Many people would not be able to. No ambulance? Gee thanks. Sorry folks, you can just die in your home in the hills. Please think about other people.

  • Shows how ignorant I am, I thought hospitals were a for profit business owned by big corporations. I had no idea a community could be taxed to help pay for a hospital. Do you get a discount if you live in the area? If you are paying for the hospital, do you get free yearly check ups?

    • Yes you do….if that’s how you want to use the $125 credit for in kind services. Every parcel has that credit you can use for paying a bill, paying co-pays, getting some blood test and many other things. That makes the real cost $45 a year to keep the hospital open. That seems worth it doesn’t it?

  • Veterans friend

    I am voting NO. I am urging everyone I know to do the same.
    Many reasons stated above, plus personal experience, not to mention being a senior on a fixed income. If I did not own my home I would be living under a bridge. This tax puts me that much closer to that as reality. VOTE NO

  • vote no, obvious.

    so everybody would have no choice but to sign up for a $15/month subscription to pay for a building? how many people have really needed such a thing? not even a handful of how many thousands? does this country have free healthcare or does everybody have to pay an arm and a leg for treatment regardless of where they seek treatment? have people been dropping like flies in sohum? how many additional property taxes and service fees will be forced on us within 45 years? how many additional fees and taxes are we already paying that have accumulated over the last 20 years alone? no on w.

  • I think properly owners like myself have a real case of supplemental tax fatigue.
    Do they not realize that the Cal Fire bills are taking what little room there was and now we have enough of being the bank for the entire county.
    Not a very good time to go the same well over and over.
    News flash, that well has dried up. Try drilling somewhere else, you insult me with your callous attitude towards a smalll group .
    You are using the fact the target of the bill is a much smaller group than the voting pool and realize that the easiest way for a money grab is to appeal to people’s greed when they realize it’s always best to stick the smaller group with the bill for the whole group. Shame on you.

  • Wake up SoHum! This measure may well pass! Please spread the word and help to stop this crazy plan to build a large building that may end up empty. SHCHD is out of touch with financial realities, and the administrators of the dysfunctional facility in Garberville are trying to sell you only promises!

    Educate your neighbors, register to vote, and VOTE NO ON MEASURE W!!

    If SHCHD were successful, profitable, honest, and operated with some transparency I would be more likely to help. The way it is now, I just can’t.

  • It’s $170 a damn year! You all spend that on a fun weekend. Not supporting this is crazy. MY husband went to the ER 5 times two years ago. If we had to drive to fortuna it would have made them much more serious situations. He was taken care of every time until docs up north finally figured out his heart problems. Stop being so damn selfish. Do it for the next kid who slices his arm open or accident victim or person suffering shortness of breath and chest pain. We always want to have a hospital. The hospital is a jewel. We are so lucky. We are especially lucky to have survived all these years. Administrators come and go, some helped some hurt. We survived and we need to continue. I’ve used the clinic for a long time after leaving RRHC because of issues there. There are always issues and the hospital is very complicated. Please don’t take it away from us old guys.

    • I don’t enjoy your attitude that I should pay so that you will have the choice to use the low quality facility in Garberville. There is a brand new hospital in Willits, only 1 hour south. There is another low quality hospital in Fortuna, 50 minutes North. You should try them, the Board Members of SHCHD do!

      If you want a hospital, figure out a way to pay for it that is fair, and don’t volunteer other people’s money! It is expensive enough to live here, and if you need health care continuously, it is a poor idea to live in a remote area in the first place. Be responsible, advocate for yourself, move somewhere where services are available!


    • Veterans friend

      When your real income is under $11,000 a year , $170 added to your tax bill IS A LOT OF MONEY. They are about to raise the vehicle registration fee too. We used to get a discount of 10% on our property tax being over 65, but no more.
      VOTE NO ON W
      I DID

  • It’s $170, 50¢ a day. If that’s not worth saving a life I just don’t know what to think about that. It IS worth saving a life….the Golden Hour is so important. I know people who had moments left before getting the BIG Heart Attack shop at the hospital. He went on to live many more years. Tell me that’s not important.

    • Empire building strikes back

      Hopefully you have switched to a low fat “heart healthy” diet.

      Building a $40 million snowflake safe house is not going to help your condition one bit. Only making property owners give you an expensive funeral, one like Ole’ King Tut.

      Use the existing facility for you coronary heart conditions, the odds that the earthquake will happen at the exact time you suffer your cardiac arrest are astronomically low. Your fear mongering is not helping your heart condition.

    • I like having an E.R too. Just stop using one small group of people to pay for it.
      Just run some other funding scenarios as the supplements are out of control.
      I suppose restaurant owners and employees will be taking the hit as all the money for
      restaurants is diverted to the tax bill. Going out to eat might be a higher portion of income than you think and is one of the very few things to do with your friends and family that help keep you sane. Looking forward to hearing plan B.

  • And I forgot to mention that there is a rebate of $125.00 worth of services at the hospital. Everyone who pays the tax has a credit of $125 if they choose to use it. It can be transferred to your renter or a few other ways to use it. Every parcel gets this credit making your real tax/donation $45. Geez, $45 to save a persons life. Can you really argue with that?

    • Yes a Noose around my neck for 45 years Get a grip you have no clue this is a scam .A building with no equipment and no staff . That will take another 30 million

    • Veterans friend

      I have to go to an inferior “hospital” for substandard care to get this rebate, correct?
      Well that is not a wonderful option.

  • Sorry, SHCHD is not eligible to deliver my care. Not even for a small discount. Seems to me like they are much less likely to save you than to negligently kill you. Steer clear and run for care elsewhere, is my advice! If you are sickly, locate near better services. If you are bleeding profusely, stabbed or shot, get help ASAP! If you are having chest pain an hour from town, good luck and vaya con dios, amigo…

    Something is not always better than nothing.

    • Try a sales tax. See how that goes. No wait,..that would mean you could not use the ” as long as I don’t pay it ” to get a majority vote. As in the vast percentage of those using the E.R are probably not paying parcel taxes.

    • Also,the E.R is being sold as the reason to pay for a lot more than just the E.R.

  • I don’t know what happened to you denouncement but what you say is bullshit. You’re obviously just pissed off. So don’t vote for it but to try and take it away from the rest of us is not your place. We need it….you don’t but we do. I’ve been here a long time and I have heard “stories” that usually are like the telephone game with what we hear has no resemblance of what really happened. And this town is amazingly famous for that. Break your arm at the north end of town and by the afternoon at the south
    end you’re dying and possibly dead.

  • I don’t even know what that means. Incoherent raving will not make we want to pay this tax.

    I have worked at and been a patient at SHCHD. I have seen what happens there and heard the same old story from the Board. This measure would allow them to just stumble along a while longer, wasting our money and betraying the public trust. This tax is not fairly applied or intended to be used for a sensible, manageable project. The “new hospital” will contain the same old cast of characters, and the normal provincial, paranoid, hostile, xenophobic attitudes, which appear to characterize life in Garberville, and which you seem to exhibit.

    This is not personal, however. Volunteering to spend my money for a project I do not support, is not acceptable, and IS personal.

    This community would be better served if a management company took over the hospital and operated it like a business, as the facilities in Tulare, Lone Pine, and Colusa. If the hospital closes in the meantime, so be it.

    If you need the thing this bad, YOU pay for it.


  • In the current political situation and just because it’s right we sometimes have to do what’s good for the many even if we do not personally agree. Think about the accidents on the hwy. I remember when the bus filled with Pelican Bay inmates got in an accident in richardson’s grove. That would have been something if they had to take inmates north and south to hospitals far away. thank goodness our ER was there.
    I do need it and I will gladly pay for it.

  • VOTE NO and keep your money in your pocket!

    If you think you can afford to throw away more money towards taxes think about how it will hit you when you retire on fixed income. If you are so worried about your potential medical needs why not move to a area with a full ability hospital??? Think of the millions you can save the rest of us that can’t afford a local 1st aide station that many of us are scared to use.

    I wonder if the old hospital will be sold at market price. Or will it get be gone in some sweetheart good old buddy deal? I’m curious.

    I wish that ONLY those who will have to pay this tax could vote on it. I doubt it would pass.

  • Yeah, you can spend $170 a year or thousands of dollars moving. I get my health care there. I get referred when I need to be. My cancer was found by a mammogram at our hospital. My husband has used the ER 5 times. FYI the hospital will be used for a larger SNF unit where elderly people can live out their days getting great care. It could be a relative of yours. $170 a year or move……that’s an easy choice.

    • SHCHD has failed to serve the public trust, failed to develop staff, and failed to operate within State and Federal regualtions. I have worked in healthcare for 40+ years, so I call myself altruistic, but, I am unable to support this project since I feel that SHCHD will continue to fail to deliver services critically needed by the population, continue to mistreat it’s employees, and that it will ultimately be unable to gather the support and patronage of the community in adequate numbers to make a new facility successful. SHCHD also fails to operate cohesively, with a sensible business model, fails to attract professional staff year after year, and has been so close to bankruptcy over and over, that my best advice is to find a professional management company to take over for the moribund district.

      The sales job being done by SHCHD with regard to Measure W, is full of vague promises and random half-truths, and is an obtuse and offensive insult to the taxpayers. SHCHD may want a new building, but SHCHD is incapable of forming a sensible plan to pay for it. Don’t buy the disingenuous fairy tale being spun here!

      If the hospital has to close, for whatever reason, then so be it. SHCHD needs to evolve and develop what they have now, not blindly go out and spend our money on a vague wish to be something SHCHD is not.

      SHCHD has failed, and this tax will not repair it.


      • Have they failed because they refuse to hire you back? Have they failed because Harry Jasper fired you for nearly having the hospital closed due to your incompetent mamagerial skills in the lab? Aren’t you the reason the lab was almost shut down ny the state? Seems to me its you that has failed and not SHCHD!
        Have you attended a town hall meeting yet? Do you even have the facts about the facility? Or are you voting no based on your hurt feelings?
        learn the facts, be an educated voter before you vote.

  • Some people are writing as if they think the existing facility will have to close if this measure isn’t passed now, and that something is being taken away from them. Did I miss something? Won’t that same take your chances/good service for some/NOT for others/and sometime LIFESAVING! ER facility still be here for another 22 years, or until the next similar measure is passed?

  • The ER will not close if Measure W is not passed.

    The SNF will not close either.

    SHCHD stays open through people paying for services, and through payers paying for services, like Medicare and Medi-Cal and Insurance. Some folks pay in cash.

    SHCHD keeps the doors open by paying low wages, and by firing people when money is tight. The Board Members are unpaid. The CEO, (Harry Jasper got $180,000/year) is paid a good salary. A few other positions are well paid, like Kent Scown’s, the current Accountant, and a few others. Lab, Nursing Supervisors, X-Ray, maybe 1 part time pharmacist, Physical Therapist’s are contractors, a few CNA’s and LVN’s who are paid <$20/hr, almost no line employees there get over $40/hr except for doctors. Last I heard, ER docs are paid $10,000/week and are on for 7 days/24hrs. A few people are on call at night and on weekends.
    An uncomplicated ER visit could bill over $5000. SHCHD uses a billing contractor, that is pretty incompetent, but if they have 10 ER visits/day, and collects just $25% of the billings, that could be $100,000 income/week, or 5.2 million dollars/year just for the ER.
    These numbers are just for example, and there are many complications to income, such as how fast it comes in. Many hospitals have tens of millions in accounts receivable, and the noncollectable amounts that SHCHD has, are a big secret! Many patients receive services there and give false addresses etc, and are un-billable. That's business…

    So, knowing all this, why do we need parcel taxes?

    To fund retired employee's pensions, for one. A few people actually managed to retire from SHCHD, and they get pensions. Kent will get this! Many people are fired before they are vested, and simply because SHCHD does not want them to participate.

    The parcel taxes are also needed to supply working cash on hand, to pay vendors for supplies and equipment.

    So yeah, the parcel tax expiring, that's inconvenient for them! If they didn't get this shot of cash, they would have to do a better job!

    Nothing will change here, no matter what the result of this election! They can't close because Kent needs his pension! They want to build and grow, because Kent needs his pension! The hospital actually does a pretty fair business, and the money supports a lot of people.

    The few people who benefit the most, want this new building for the most selfish of reasons, to protect their status and power!

    I am reminded of Jimi Hendrix: "not the love of power, the power of love". The hospital is NOT about to close. They need to do a better job with what they have, and come up with a better plan to pay for their next venture!

    VOTE NO ON W!!

    • Dubonnet Hisspano

      The document below from the hospital to the state actually has the number of visit to the ER little over 5000 .

      • Taurus Balzhoff

        So, 13-14/day. Thanks for the info.

        • Dubonnet Hisspano

          One every two hours. Also the ER doc watches the beds at night. Lot of risk to their student loans years of education . You do not get to many strikes against your licence before it is taken away.

  • Dubonnet Hisspano

    In Life when I see can’t or impossible it sets of my imagination as to why? Imagination makes possible that what was impossible.
    Below are the sites the government has for the hospital. The license number 110000052 has expired 3/31/2017 it looks like past renewals on April fool’s Day.
    I have questions ?Who is SOUTHERN HUMBOLDT COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE, The board that will be cashing checks?
    The feasibility study to me is suspect? Past success is no guarantee of future success. One thing that is not stated is the makeup of those earnings. The way that breaks down was 20% private, 70% Medicare and Medical,10% bad debt from various web searches. So what will Medicare continue to pay?
    The Skilled Nursing facility looks like the cash cow in all of this. Yours has a 2 rating . If you have been following the five in Eureka they lost a class action suit to the tune of 137 million dollars. So what is the liability of this bond if a huge lawsuit was incurred? Insurance probably pay the first time but you may become uninsurable. So what then?
    Have you thought of taking beds out of the existing hospital making more room to come into compliance with the state?. Put a state of the art ER in this new configuration?
    My major concern is the liability the community would have.
    I don’t see any worst case scenarios talked about?
    The physician shortage not a problem is ? The H-1B program sounds great. Why don’t you have one on board now?

  • The problems of H1B visas are monument, a phone book size application for each candidate, high cost and a large amount of time involved to approve…And many new immigrants are totally overwhelmed by life in the US! They are less likely to stick around than even regular employees. Also, they require housing and transportation etc. Better if they apply for a green card and wait the 7 years!
    There ARE physicians available as locums/contractors, but the cost of staffing this way is high, and many locums are – less than desirable candidates… PLUS we have the chronic problem of not enough decent housing, lack of culture, services etc. Recruiting staff for even Howard Hospital or UVMC in Ukiah is a full time job for a staff of 7-10 persons, and even if you DO recruit someone, retaining them is another job entirely. THAT’S if your facility has a good reputation among health care workers, which SHCHD doesn’t…
    But the money is there to run JPH. A SNF bed bills over $8000/month, and Medicare pays about $5000/month, so 8 patients (at full census) bring in nearly a half million/yr! If a CNA makes $15/hr, well you do the math and imagine how little it can cost. One RN to supervise @$30/hr, a few physician contacts/week, some meds, etc. Very profitable and good cash flow. Most Northern CA district hospitals stay open or even thrive from their SNF operations. Check out Eastern Plumas District Hospital for instance.
    Add in the cash flow from the ER example above and then consider the clinic.
    I was a patient at the clinic: I made my appointment, handed over my 2 insurance cards, and saw a FNP for 5 minutes. I got a prescription for antibiotics. But I never saw a bill! I presume JPH was paid something, but I never found out how much!
    I came back later and saw another FNP, and then a year later got a bill for $450! A five minute consult! It took awhile to straighten out the billing with the contractor, but in the end the whole charge was written off, since it was billed wrong and too much time had gone by! I am covered by 2 insurance policies! And the FNP never called to discuss my lab results, as she said she would.
    I did not return.
    So, if they even manage to collect 15%-20% of the $450 that’s $70/visit X say 20 contacts/day X 5 days/week = another half million or so.
    I sincerely doubt that these figures are accurate, and that they are all pretty high estimates, but it is easy to see that plenty of money is generated in an operation that only has about $1.5 million in wages and benefits.
    I have not seen financials for this facility in a few years, I hope they are doing a little better than this, but a typical small hospital, and JPH is one of the smallest, struggles to pay it’s bills…

    So my best suggestion is: conserve your resources, SHCHD. We have seen the results of your business model, and the effects of your management style! Continuously overshooting your mandate and failure to serve the public need have not made you look viable. And hiring contractors to do just about anything makes you look wasteful!
    There are folks in the community who are highly qualified to help. Why not engage them as employees?

    I learn something every day. I believe in the power of love. Educate me, SHCHD! Tell me why you deserve my tax money!

    • Dubonnet Hisspano

      I did not want imply there is no doc shortage there is it was a reply to one of their answers. All the negative thing were explain as positive reason to give them the money to use as they see fit. Here is the web site You can check it out. Not great at writing . I think something beautiful is going to happen here if they are complete transparent. It the little omitted things that make me suspicious. again my concern is liability. To assume in 45 years the economy is going up does not seem true. Plus they make no mention paying any thing back. It is debt debt max out debt.

  • Well – This election is being sold through fear tactics. If SHCHD would take the time to educate the public, as a health care businessman and employee such as myself becomes educated, and if SHCHD were operated with transparency and common sense instead of secrecy and prejudice against outsiders, the new tax could possibly do some good.

    I intend to attend the meeting on Saturday at the new site. I will be asking the board and administration to educate me as to why we should pay this tax. If they will convince me in any way, I would support them instead of oppose the plan. I hope everyone attends, it may be interesting!

    Debt, however, is the American Way. Go ask your lovely President about debt. Bankruptcy is how we escape our creditors and survive. Go to business school and study about it. Work is for fools, become an entrepreneur! America…

    • One thing that does upset me though, is that SHCHD didn’t used to participate in Social Security, presumably so it wouldn’t have to pay it’s 6.2% (the employer side). To not participate in a Federal retirement program and then to ask for USDA loans looks shady to me…

  • For about the price of a home brewed cup of coffee a day we get a new hospital. 47 cents a day is not a “major new tax” folks. It seems to me that much of the opposition voiced in this blog is based on personal beefs and has little to do with the welfare and future of this community. Healthcare in Humboldt has always been a struggle. One only has to look at the want adds to see that every hospital and clinic in this county is constantly in search of staff positions. Back in the 90s when the healthcare district was losing $160,000 a month and we had all local M.D.s critics said we were done. We might as well close. A dedicated group of tough minded people carried the district through bankruptcy and through the years a lot of good people pitched in as board and staff struggled against long odds to keep the district alive. For those of you telling me to go to Willits if I need a hospital…no thanks Gville is far enough. I’m voting a resounding yes on W… it’s a bargain.

  • I have a few concerns that have not been brought up.
    The proposed tax is very regressive and unfairly levied. The landowner with a million dollar parcel will pay the same as the one with the $200,000 parcel. The person with two parcels worth $100,000 each will pay double, and people who don’t own any parcels will pay none. Landlords cannot necessarily pass the cost down to their tenants.
    I am also concerned about the cutoff for “low value” property. In a recent article Barbara Truitt stated that they are considering raising the low value threshold to $4,500. Yet it is not stated in the proposal what the actual cutoff will be. They do not have a formula for coming up with the threshold. They said it will be determined. How can voters make a decision when they don’t know how it will affect them? I do want to thank Barbara for being very professional and timely in any questions I’ve had about the tax.
    We are urged to vote on it now to take advantage of low interest rates. Rates may go up or down. No one has a crystal ball. While it does take several years to build a facility, we have enough time to take a step back and then do it right. Let’s get together as a community and decide what facility is actually needed and how to pay for it in an equitable way.

  • Not convinced. I have seen what your dedicated folks do. I don’t think JPH will close, and I am over my personal issues. I don’t currently support this measure, and I pay my property tax, as it is not well planned out, and because SHCHD has failed us in so many ways; failed to honor the public trust. The excuses don’t make it right, and the past is gone. Let’s see SHCHD do better with what they have before they bury SHCHD in debt for a project when the public is not engaged enough to use SHCHD or support the hospital. I am not interested in what already happened. I only want to see what happens next. If anyone at SHCHD has anything to say that is convincing, outside of the recent scare tactics and promises, then let’s hear it! Educate us! Why should we pay for this?

    Thanks Dave!

  • Denouncement…do you live here? You sure are putting a lot…..a ton of energy into this. Is your name Dan? Why are you going to so much trouble to defeat it? The simple answer please………did they hurt you? Do you hate someone who works there? Why are you particularly on this? Why don’t you use your name?

    • His mane is Paul Riley and he use ro work in the lab but was fired for almost having the hospital shut down dueto bids gross incompetence

  • “and because SHCHD has failed us in so many ways; failed to honor the public trust. ”

    I think you are part of the D.C. group who tried to take over the hospital when Mark left. You are the folks who would feel that way. The rest of us don’t. The district has not failed me. The public trust was upheld when they kept the doors open during the years of losing money. They did not shut down and that took some work.

  • “Is your name Dan?”

    Haha, what I really meant was are you Michael?

  • The difference between us is that I am educated, very experienced in healthcare, and I am clean and sober. And quite sane!
    If you leave SoHum occasionally, and get out of that fog of pot smoke in Goobsterdam/Redway, you will feel better – and the paranoia will go away! Or go to rehab. It’s very educational… I do love that mellow SoHum vibe in the Spring, though…

  • Dubonnet Hisspano

    Questions What services will they provide as a new Critical Access Hospital ?
    This to let folks that want have a local hospital. You may discover the affliction you have won’t be covered when you drive up to the ER. I understand the desire not driving to Willits for care. I just wonder if that is actually the case with this Critical Access Hospital .What services will be provided.
    Do you fell compensation should be giving to the existing staff as in a bonus ?
    If it is going to take up to ten years for permits to allow a new hospital what is going to happening interim with the existing Hospital? Will it have to be renovated. I certainly understand the need for a new HVAC system can you do that this summer? How much needs to be done to make it legal? I have seen hospitals remodel without closing. I saw one that after it was done they forgot that the docs and nurses could not leave the floor but left out a bathroom. It is the little things in life so back they came put in a bath room all the while not shutting down.
    What needs to be done at the nursing facility to become compliant?
    Are there any fed or state documents that are telling you to do anything to any of the buildings?
    The reason I am doing this as I said when I see cant especially as presented sets off my alarms. Social media /advertising as put a lot of money into what a landing page should look like to get the best result. How many cants what color on and on. I don’t like being tricked like that. It is about the truth, that is the most important thing in life if not life itself. Random Acts of Kindness should done on a daily basis.
    I want you all when said done happy with the results. EVERBODY
    . Keeping it local Jobs,jobs,jobs. One thing there is an extreme shortage of skilled nursing facilities, those make a ton of money. Wonder if building a bunch of those with a theme would be used more in the community? Who among you do not have relatives that need this service? In the end days it might be nice for folks from all around be able to drop in on their friend to say good bye? They could fund a new hospital. The hospital wont draw notoriety upside limited. A Nursing home complex has a chance for you to make a mark on the earth. You could fill as many as you could build. Touch the world, what a great place in the Redwoods to have such a place. This could be your new industry. In eureka over 4000 patients are in limbo, in fact you could draw people from all over who want rest in the peace of the
    Redwoods I know it is bit off topic but so is the ubuilt it wanders all over the place just like what I am.
    Want to cause no harm only seeking facts so you will know what you are getting.

  • taurusballzhoff

    Garberville has what it has. The current facility may be in poor condition, but, if California was going to close hospitals with operational deficiencies, Jerold Phelps would have been first on the list. The down hill spiral of SHCHD will not be mitigated by a new building. Measure W is a desperate attempt to slam property owners into a space where they will be providing general operations money to the tune of $74,000,000 over 45 years! It is a crazy, poorly conceived, unfairly applied, vaguely written measure which we would have to be VERY stupid to vote for. SHCHD should investigate supporting itself with donations, fundraising, grants and profitable operations, and SHCHD should give up going to the well of property tax to fund this facility!
    It’s 2017, all new people in SoHum. Business as usual and excessive taxation will prove unsuccessful.

    VOTE NO ON W!!

  • I VOTE NO on all new taxes of any kind and always will! How many more times will we be forced to fork over hard earned money in the future? Whats coming? Its only $300 this time? Its only $500? We got screwed & forced into Obamacare and now we are being coerced into voting away our money again.

    When I read that the property will be bought even if this additional tax burden fails I couldn’t believe the arrogance of the people that are supposed to work for us,the over taxed citizens. To top off that arrogance a plan to get another vote for this tax would be planned? Is this really a way to force this burden on us no matter what we want?

    The its only $170 a year cry should multiply that times the 45 years of financial slavery and all the increases that will be needed in the future! That $7650 it will cost our household looks very expensive to me.

    Vote NO & keep your money in your pocket! Add up this “only $170 = $7650 tax” and all the other fees,taxes and “good causes” and soon you may find out you can’t afford to live with your fixed income.

    But all those pitching this additional tax really don’t care about what you can afford! VOTE NO

    • Veterans friend

      The fire fee, $117.33
      New VRF (car registration) $25- $75
      No more homeowner or senior property tax discount. 10%
      New sales tax.
      New fuel tax.
      I an 70 on a fixed income under $11,000 with a 14 year old car. If I did not own my home I would be living in it.(the car😩)

  • This is a scam for every property owner in shelter cove who will recive an additional set fee per parcel for properties only worth 2,000 dollars or less.

  • My question of the day is: by what right or authority can a public agency propose in a general election that a person who does not own property somehow has the right to elect a property owner to pay taxes on real property, to support the public agency? This is unfair, probably unconstitutional, and totally ridiculous. Who would go along with this plan?

    Stupid people will allow governments to do almost anything. Very stupid people will vote yes on W and allow SHCHD to sell this poorly conceived, unfairly applied, and vaguely written measure. The idea that SHCHD should receive $74,000,000 from one small group of citizens, so that all other persons will have a hospital, is just insane. There may be a parcel tax now, but this current tax reflects a time when the community supported SHCHD.

    My opinion is: SHCHD made it’s bed. SHCHD allowed Harry Jasper to hire and fire, lie and cheat. SHCHD failed to staff adequately, failed to bill effectively, failed to do outreach, failed the public trust. SHCHD does very little of anything well, besides hire contractors, travelers and locums, waste your money, and charge high fees.

    SHCHD can’t even hold an election without lying to you, attempting to scare you, and behaving in a manner unbecoming to a public agency.

    If SHCHD could develop staff, operate profitably, solicit donations, and deliver good service at a reasonable price, the community might support SHCHD. As things are now, I urge everyone to VOTE NO ON MEASURE W!

    Please attend the meeting in Goobsterdam on Saturday the 8th and indicate clearly that you are opposed to this measure. 11AM at the old school.

  • You know what would have been cool.
    A pre election filled with all the various options to raise money, this W thing included,and vote do decide the one we want after looking at said options.
    We did not get that option.
    I might vote for it. But I feel somewhat taken for granted as I can just here someone saying, ” it’s about the emergency room and we just have to phrase it as they or someone they know could die and we could put anything up and it will pass.”

  • The most interesting thing is the deal to get the CR property itself. Does ANYONE know exactly what happened here? If this is in dispute it could take years to hash it out! The next thing is that this is a SPECIAL election. Why try to slam this through when the cost to the taxpayers is at a maximum?

    Plus, they’re trying to sell it as a “hospital building” measure! The wording of Measure W clearly says that the money can be used for ANY EXPENSE!

    The whole thing is less than true, being done in secret, at at the highest possible cost TO YOU!

    Reject this mess! VOTE NO ON W!!

    • I would like to think that rather than eliminating the ER by a no it will force a better offer to the tablr.

  • Dubonnet Hisspano

    I spent two years of my life 8-4:30 M-F working for the Bizzard’s company on the earthquake retrofit.It was done with a grant. From beginning to end.That is a four story brick building. I felt disrespect big time when it was trivialized. You see the top of their crafts working on that building. The welded and inspected and graded re bar cage with poured concert is the biggest art form in the building. To say a singles story wood frame building cannot be retrofitted makes no sense. Hell it could be volunteer project done in parts. I can imagine it done without even going inside the building. It amounts to metal strapping everything in attic and crawl space. Inch 1/2 all thread bolted from top plate to concrete foundation or slab you may have to pour. I have been thinking of a way to make 3/4 in plywood panels with Formica you could screw on walls to stiffen that up .
    Really the dog barking attitude is not the approach when it comes to the inspectors. If you approach them with humility ask what you can do to get an A they may find a grant for that. I think as a community you need to take ownership of the hospital. The administration is flying at the wrong altitude. Work should be a place folks like going to meaning you learn or teach something everyday.Open sharing is the way to go.

    • Dubonnet Hisspano

      I need to add that the new entity should be non profit. Best of luck!

    • Dubonnet Hisspano

      Please be patient as obviously I have a hard time stringing any coherent writing together. The Building I failed to mention was The Jacoby Storehouse.That was 40 years ago seems like 20 leaving me an old duffer. Kids you need to take school really seriously so when you need to communicate with written words you will be able to. Here is another thought. When your hospital says staffing is no problem we can hire on outside firm to provide those docs. So true, but this double the cost or even more. Another thing they do is farm out the administration of the hospital. You can do the same thing. You can find one the is more suited for your needs . Say you wanted to go into the nursing direction. With nursing you would be able to train your own thus adding to the much need field. Not the case with Docs. Nursing buildings local contractors could build it. There is no rush take your time talk about it. Josh Golden has got it going on.

  • Stephen Quiggle

    I recently responded to an email from a supporter of Measure W. I responded and am sharing my response here as well:

    Well, I’ll put my 2 cents in and IF the supporters of the proposed tax measure can create a more specific and thoughtful vision for how the money would be spend, I’d be more inclined to put in my 47 cents a day.

    For me, this has never been about the money. Nor is it about the question of whether we need adequate healthcare to meet our communities’ needs – we do (and we’ve been patiently waiting). My “Opposing view” is centered on the hard sell of fear with little beyond the fund-it-or-lose-it the sky is falling mantra.

    My contention is focused on the lack of exploring options and financial management, which this measure bypasses or is unspecific about. There are several options that have not been adequately explored: partnerships, retrofits to the existing structure (a section at a time for a one story building is not a daunting task), and alternative funding streams for a reasonable structure. And the very great likelihood that the existing hospital will not close in 13 years due to lack of seismic retrofits that many other hospitals are not pursuing.

    If the apparent lack of investigation and discussion into other possibilities is not compelling enough to cause thoughtful people to pause before voting in a, conservatively, 40+ million dollar yolk, then a we have to also consider that a hospital district that would pursue the extraneous purchase of a million dollar piece of property – absent a voter consensus – is: a) financially questionable, b) arrogant beyond reason, or c) doing well enough that it can afford to investigate options.

    If this measure passes, I will gracefully pay my parcel tax as I have been doing for the entirety of my residing here – and for the remainder, evidently. If this measure does not pass, I will be pleased to encourage, support and be a part of a meaningful community dialogue that focuses on exploring the above options. Educating our community and formulating a reasonable response rather than a fear tactic reaction is much the better policy.

    For now, as it is written and presented, I must vote “No” on W. I will also vote no again and again until questions are answered and due diligence is served… which is the duty and the honor of the hospital board and expected of the Measure W proponents.

    Stephen Quiggle

  • I have been reluctant to publicly enter the debate over the proposed SHCHD tax measure. As one associate of mine put it: “it is an expensive opinion to have” it can be a social or political risk, coming out against enabling an institution that is perceived as critical to community well being. But, as I experience more and more of the quiet dissent voiced privately among my peers, I feel a need to share some opinions. I recognize that anecdotal evidence has limited relevancy, but it seems that positive anecdotes are often celebrated, while negative ones are marginalized. I have heard of numerous flaws and misgivings about both the care provided, and the questionable management of our hospital through the years, but only have one experience of my own.

    As a resident in the district since 1989 I have had one occasion to experience the emergency room, and that experience was less than satisfactory. After my wife was stricken with acute abdominal distress, I prevailed over her reluctance to seek aid, and we traveled the ½ hour to town to begin the process. The bedside manner of the rent-a-doc on duty was not encouraging, at one point he stated emphatically “The abdomen is pretty much a black box, we don’t really know what goes on in there.” Having had difficulty keeping anything in her stomach the patient was slightly dehydrated and the introduction of IV fluids was indicated. A blood draw was taken, after several attempts, and we awaited the results. The first question from the nurse was: “Are you diabetic? Your sugar levels are off the charts high.” I was puzzled, she hadn’t eaten anything for at least 24 hours, I happened to glance at the IV bag hanging above her and noticed that it was a dextrose solution- dripping into one arm, right before blood was drawn from the other, I spoke up and asked if this had any bearing on the sugar levels? This was quickly dismissed with the response: “No, that’s just saline.” I told the nurse that it clearly said dextrose on the bag, and her response was: “Huh, someone must have stocked the shelf wrong.” Later a Nurse friend confirmed; that sort of thing happens all the time. This was about all we got for our visit, it was determined a CT scan was in order, as they didn’t have a clue what was up. It was explained to us that the ER in Fortuna was expecting us, as we declined an ambulance and headed North. To start over from zero, as it turned out because there was no expectation of our arrival, as we had been told. So much for the Golden hour, the Garberville ER wasted our time, providing no discernible service, delayed the inevitable trip North, and billed us for over $2,000. Even if the ER had a CT scan available, it turns out we would still have need the services of a surgeon and a hospital stay elsewhere, remaining in Garberville would still have been a waste of time.

    A neighbor of mine needing frequent blood tests for his Stanford doctors travels to Willits for this service, apparently the local hospital is unable or unwilling to provide the lab data required. The opinion of many people I know is unless you are desperate, and you want to increase your odds of surviving, head to a real hospital.

    During a previous tax campaign we had a visitor from the UK, and during our discussion she sought clarity by asking: “So, if the tax passes, you’ll get health care?” Coming from a land of socialized medicine she wasn’t exactly clear on the details. The current campaign is advertising “Area residents” have a credit towards services…This is misleading and inaccurate, the credit only applies to land tax payers. Non-land owners, who can vote, don’t get that voucher and may be confused by this. Also there are land-owners who don’t live or vote locally, and have no say in the measure.

    I am troubled that the arguments in favor of the new tax are so often fear based. The fear of stroke and heart attack is stoked by constant reference to the ‘Golden Hour’, realistically unless you are in town, most of that hour is going to be displaced with transport from most outlying area. Most everything the ER can do to stabilize these emergencies- ventilation, defibrillation, EKG’s, IV, intubation, a paramedic supplied ambulance can do- and can also be heading to a bigger hospital at the same time. Perhaps encouraging increased coverage should be a priority. Trauma from accident and injury is always a crap shoot of survival- Breathing must be restored, blood must be stopped, help is needed as soon as it can be found. Sudden life threatening illness is never convenient, risk is constant no matter the facility available If these facts scare you, maybe living in our remote and rural area isn’t right for you.

    Someone at an under-attended ‘town hall’ information meeting told of his queries to Sacramento that indicate other, larger, metro hospitals have not been compliant with even the first phase of earthquake retrofit and don’t seem to intend to be. The response from the district was:…”Well, they don’t actually close you down (as has been stated over and over by the district) they just don’t issue permits for anything anymore…” The fact is that the single story wood framed structure is probably as earthquake resistant as can be- we are told the buildings will still be used as a Skilled nursing facility…so it is safe enough for the frail and bed-bound, but not occasional emergency room patients? This compliance issue is not based on the realities of conditions here and could conceivably be changed with the stroke of a pen, if there was a will to challenge it, lobby against it, seek special exemption etc. as is done with any other critical community infrastructure to serve the real needs of a small rural population.
    Further it seems that pegging a 45 year business plan to the expectations of the status quo of billing in this period of political change is reckless. There is no doubt change is necessary in the way healthcare is delivered and the expectations of access need to be addressed, but I question if our seemingly inexpert healthcare district is the best option.

    Or maybe change is in the air. What if every local family paid the modest annual fee for air ambulance coverage? (described to me once, during a fire training, as a mobile emergency room) If we did that I bet the service would even build us a helipad.

    • Stephen Quiggle

      I appreciate you, Josh. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

      Today, we received a “No” on W flyer – the reasons stated were much more succinct than anything I’ve written.

      It is my sincere hope that if the measure is run again in November, that those who are advocating for it make a shift to a more proactive, positive and informative approach.

      I’d support that.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *