Candidate for Del Puerto Health Care Board
What do you specifically plan to accomplish if you are elected to the Del Puerto Health Care District board? Why do you want to be on the board?
What I plan to accomplish if I am elected as a board member is to encourage the board to go to a 24/7 urgent care facility, which is what the Del Puerto Health Care Center was intended to be seven years ago when they first opened the center.
I want to be elected to the board because I would like to make some necessary changes to move forward on 24/7 urgent care, not a doctor’s office for private practice.
What are the immediate needs for health care on the West Side? What needs to happen to bring those services to Patterson?
The immediate needs for health care on the West Side are urgent care that’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If a doctor wants to come to town, they should set up their own practice and not take away from the revenue coming in from taxpayers. The present doctors taking patients through Del Puerto Health Care Center need to make their practices private. As I have said before, Dr. Eric Ramos was a doctor that came from Modesto and brought his patient base with him, and our taxpayer money helped to support that practice. Then when he left, he took those patients with him. Also, Dr. Eugene Lamazor should have his practice as a private practice on his own. No taxpayer money should subsidize his practice.
What do you foresee for the future of health care on the West Side? Are there enough people on the West Side to support a future hospital or large-scale medical facility?
I foresee the future of healthcare on the West Side as being determined by our housing growth or population. As we begin to grow again in housing, this would determine when we can put a major medical facility in place. As for a hospital, the City of Turlock has a population of 70,000, and they have Emanuel Medical Center, which is very heavily privately funded. The population base of our city will determine the medical needs of the community going forward.
Is the Del Puerto Health Care District doing all that it can to maintain a positive bottom line financially? If financial cuts should be made, where should they happen?
I do not know if the health care district is doing all it can to maintain a positive bottom line financially because nothing is done publicly. In order to find out any information, I have had to put in a records request from my attorney. The average person in Patterson does not know the true financial picture of what the bottom line is because it is all done in secret. If financial cuts should be made, no one will know until the board is elected and makes changes through an open book process. I think the health district should have a financial committee that meets on a monthly basis with three people from the community and one board member to go through the financials and reconcile the books.
Is the health care district doing all that it can to make its decisions transparent to the public? Are there any improvements that can be made in this area?
Is the health care district doing all it can to make its decisions transparent to the public? My answer would be no, it is very obvious to me that nothing is done transparently. When CalAware is called in to evaluate whether the Brown Act has been violated or not, that means there must be a problem. When you hear time and time again about “Trade Secrets” in a closed session, it seems to me that things are not transparent. Some improvements that need to be made to help in this area would be to schedule the meetings at a convenient time so that working citizens have the opportunity to attend. Also, the district should have meetings videotaped and released on TV, so that the public is well informed.