Mammoth Hospital’s Southern Mono Health Care District’s Board of Directors’ three open seats will be filled by Mono County’s Board of Supervisors. In case you missed last week’s Page 2 report, during the Board’s regular meeting on Oct. 18, SMHD Legal Counsel David Baumwohl reported that the County would use provisions under the County’s election code to reappoint three candidates for the three seats. The County currently retains the authority to make such appointments when candidates number the same as open seats.
Dr. Maria King will be reappointed to the seat formerly held by Dan Wright, who retired, just prior to his term’s expiration. In addition, current Board member Helen Shepherd is running for another term. Finally, Dr. Steven Swisher will fill the vacancy left by 14-year Board veteran Lynda Salcido, who is not running for another term. “My plate is full,” Salcido said in her comments. “Handling the County’s EMS services has tipped me over the edge. It’s been fun to watch the staff grow, and bloom and blossom over the years.”
Wright, who accepted a plaque from the Board, said he misses his work on the Board, but is settling into his new retired life near Indio.
Baumwohl said he’s working with the County Counsel’s office so that in the future the two agencies will “confer” on appointments, and the County will help with candidate recruitment and facilitate the appointment process. That could potentially mean allowances for the SMHD Board to make appointments for this type of circumstance (the first of its kind for the Board this year) or other conditions of vacancies.
In other Hospital news …
The Board discussed the pending paper-to-electronic conversion of the hospital’s health records, which has been pushed back from its previous Nov. 14 switchover date. The Board and several hospital staff seemed to agree that more advance notice is needed, well enough ahead so that precautions can be put in place for the eventual service glitches and interruptions to follow. “It’s going to have a huge impact, at least for the first month,” noted Dr. Dennis Crunk, who called it “our Carmageddon,” a reference to recent closures of the 405 freeway in Los Angeles for upgrades and maintenance. Look for more public messaging to come, such as advisories to get prescriptions refilled in advance and other preparations that will ease the transition.
Changes are also being discussed for the Hospital’s automated phone tree system, including making sure a live person answers the main line. “Large facilities in the country have certain standards, and one of those is a real person will answer this phone,” Salcido pointed out. She suggested revamping the phone tree is a “patient safety issue.” Hospital CEO Gary Boyd will spearhead the revisions.
Salcido also wanted to revisit upgrades to the Chemotherapy rooms. “There was money for it, but it was ‘swept away,’” she noted. “I don’t see the need for another fundraiser. The hospital should make that happen. It should be the nicest, most beautiful, comfortable room possible.” Boyd said he would take over that issue as well.
The Board also approved a resolution setting in motion a refinancing of several bonds. First issued in 2002, the bonds are coming to maturity and will be paid off. Part one of a series of bond refinancing efforts, the new bonds will lower debt service and taxes, meaning a savings of $1.1 million to Mono County property taxpayers directly. The savings do not go back to the Hospital.
And next time you visit the Mammoth Hospital Auxiliary’s Cast Off thrift store, bring your credit card. Cash might still be king, but it’s not the only currency accepted at the Cast Off, thanks to the credit card processing system donated by Dr. Sukh Pannu of the Rural Physicians Group, which brings in doctors from outside the community to help with staffing needs.
New Auxiliary President Judy Bornfeld said the credit card machine has led to more purchasing. “People don’t have to go to the bank or an ATM for more cash,” she pointed out. “And they end up putting more things in their shopping cart!”