Health district officials pass a $4.2 million budget
by Maddy Houk
Jul 04, 2012 | 893 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Del Puerto Health Care District board approved a $4.2 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year at its June 27 board meeting, providing for raises for its employees, outreach to the community and an increased focus on having a balanced budget.

The board of directors also wants to revive the Del Puerto Hospital Foundation, whose mission is to raise money for the district, support community outreach and promote healthy living.

Toward that aim, health district directors included $6,500 in the new budget to join with the local Soroptimist Club to restore semiannual Women’s Health Fairs in October and March that serve uninsured women in the community.

“We want to start slowly with the Soroptimist Women’s Health Fair and partner with others in the community for various outreach projects,” said Anne Stokman, president of the board. “We all need to work together to bring the health care services we need to the West Side.”

The trustees have budgeted $761,000 for the district office and staff; almost $1.3 million for Patterson District Ambulance Co., which the district runs; and a little more than $2 million for Del Puerto Health Center.

The district has weathered a year of changes and is ready to rebuild and move ahead, according to Stokman.

“We were in a really challenging year this year,” Stokman said. “It has been challenging with the health center move, getting Dr. (David) Hilburn on board and welcoming a new interim CEO (Richard Nakamura).”

Stokman added that she thought the staff did an outstanding job through the changes, but received no pay raises.

“My main thing in the budget is that last year, in foreseeing the move, is that no one in the health care district got a raise,” she said. “So this year, we wanted to make sure on their anniversary of their date of hire they got a 3 percent raise.”

The health center moved in March after more than a year of waiting for construction to be finished at 1700 Keystone Pacific Parkway. The 11,000-square foot building has 21 exam rooms, a conference room, doctors’ offices, an employee break room and an office for the medical director.

The district began its mission to provide health care to the West Side in 1998, when Del Puerto Hospital closed. Its first health care center opened in June 2003 in the former Plaza Grocery building on the downtown Circle. A couple of years later, the center moved to Highway 33 and Ward Avenue.

Using a $2.1 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Health Development Division, the district closed escrow on the building on Keystone Pacific Parkway in October 2010. The purchase followed months of controversy about rezoning and thousands of dollars in legal fees.

The center gives the district sufficient space both for its family-practice physicians and staff and for specialists whom district trustees are trying to attract.

Hilburn, a longtime Patterson physician who for more than 35 years was part of the Gould Medical Group, joined the district as medical director in February and began seeing patients at the Keystone office March 5.

Patterson District Ambulance Co. mans special events in the city, such as the annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life, and provides weekly stand-by services in case of emergencies at Patterson High School and Pop Warner football games.

The district pays the ambulance crews who cover those events.

“That’s something that we want to give back to the community,” Stokman said. “The district allows them to provide the service for free.”

Contact Maddy Houk at 892-6187, ext. 22, or maddy@pattersonirrigator.com.

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