Three vie for two seats on Del Puerto Health board
by PI Staff
Oct 11, 2012 | 2217 views | 1 1 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Three local residents have stepped forward as candidates for two seats on the Del Puerto Health Care District board and are seeking votes in the Nov. 6 election.

Incumbents Jeannette Kessler and board president Anne Stokman want to keep their four-year seats, while challenger Ed Maring, who served on the board for 30 years before losing his seat in the 2010 election, hopes to return to the local board.

The Irrigator provided a series of questions for Kessler, Stokman and Maring.

Fred Beltran, who has served in the board’s only two-year position, has no opponent to retain his seat.

Other board members are Harold Hill and Ramona East, whose terms expire in 2014.

ANNE IELMINI STOKMAN 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?

I have served one term on the board; we have been through a lot of changes: a new building, a new CEO, electronic medical records and multiple physicians. We have excellent staff at the district office, ambulance and clinic. We have reached stability and are ready to move toward building additional health care services.

I have lived in Patterson my entire life. I have 30 years’ experience as a registered nurse working in the hospital, home heath, hospice, clinic manager, diabetes educator and nurse consultant. I want to continue to volunteer to help expand services in our community for health care, prevention and urgent care.

What are the immediate needs for health care on the West Side? What needs to happen to bring those services to Patterson?

We need radiology services, including ultrasound and mammograms.

I would like to see an urgent care for after-hours services.

In order to grow health care services in our community, our next step is to collaborate with all health care providers and insurance carriers in our community and work together.

I am encouraged and support all other health care entities that bring physicians and services to our community.

I feel the Del Puerto Health Care District does not have to own or operate all new services but can play a role in attaining such services for our community through collaboration.

What do you foresee for the future of health care on the West Side to support a future hospital or large-scale medical facility?

The first step is to get urgent-care services available for all insurance types. As the community grows, a hospital might be feasible in the future.

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?

We inherited a financial burden from the previous board; we had to pay rent on two facilities while they built our new building and had to pay one year of salary plus medical benefits compensation to a past CEO. The current board chose not to give raises during that time, cut programs, outsourced billing and limited spending to help offset these expenses. Efforts by Jeannette Kessler, who leads the financial committee, and CEO Richard Nakamura, with 30 years of health care financial experience, will assist as we continue to audit our financial status and strive to better the bottom line.

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?

We currently have a board that brings diverse talents to the table and serve our community with high standards of ethics. We are all very aware of the Brown Act and strive to make our discussion and decisions open to the public. Our board and finance meetings are open to the public. We have had more open special meetings to share our planning and discussion with the community. We are always striving for improvements in this area.

JEANNETTE KESSLER

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?

To continue with our goal to bring additional health care services to our area. My No. 1 goal is to find a radiology group that is willing to bring X-rays and ultrasound services to our health care facility. We have one room all prepared for a radiology group to move their equipment into and provide the service. I would also like to bring back the education program we had to assist families who have problems with obesity and diabetes. If re-elected, I would like some input from our service area as to what they think the needs for health care are in this area.

My reason to serve on the board is what I can give in my experience and my willingness to volunteer my services to the community. Since moving to the area in 1997 as manager of Tri Counties Bank, I have volunteered my services in many areas to make this a better community. I have served on the health care board for nine years, and during most of those years, I have served on the finance committee. My 36 years of banking experience has proven to be very helpful.

What are the immediate needs for health care on the West Side? What needs to happen to bring those services to Patterson?

I feel our greatest need is for a dialysis facility. We have so many of our people on the West Side traveling back and forth to Turlock or Modesto several times a week for treatments. I believe a couple of different dialysis services have been contacted to see if they are interested in opening a facility in our area.

What do you foresee for the future of health care on the West Side to support a future hospital or large-scale medical facility?

A much larger customer base on the West Side. With all the specialty centers springing up, it would be very difficult to compete with them at the present time. I would like to see all of our medical facilities work together to run an urgent-care facility in the near future.

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?

We have made several changes during the past year and a half. We outsource our clinic billing to a company that specializes in health care billing, and it has improved our bottom line. We also started collecting all co-pays at the time of the office visit. All of our bills are being paid on a weekly basis to take advantage of discounts being offered if paid within 10 days; also, all bills are current at the end of each month to keep our credit in good standing. Our electronic medical records will be in place by the first of October. We will be returning to in-house billing due to the electronic medical record billing system within the next year. The finance committee monitors the expenses very closely each month at their meeting. We have also made some other small changes to improve our bottom line. If financial cuts are required, the CEO, medical providers and heads of departments and board will make the decision.

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?

First off, I believe the district is very transparent to the public, with decisions being made that pertain to the public interest. Our regular monthly meeting and finance meeting are always posted and open to the public. Whenever we have a special meeting, it is always posted as required.

As far as improvements that can be made, I feel there are always improvements that can be made. I have yet to see any public meeting where improvements can’t be made. We strive at every meeting to improve on how our meeting is conducted and information presented to our community.

ED MARING 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?

I want to help get the district back on its feet. Since leaving the board, I have been disappointed in the direction the board has taken. How long can the district sustain these huge financial deficits of over one quarter million dollars in the last fiscal year (unaudited) and survive? This must be changed if we are to continue to have a viable health care district. This also involves changing the leadership of the district.

What are the immediate needs for health care on the West Side? What needs to happen to bring those services to Patterson?

We need to build a larger medical staff that would include specialists. The district has had three administrators in the last two years, and until we get stability in this position, it will be very difficult to attract a stable medical staff. There are a lot of health care resources that can be brought to our district from the surrounding area, and we need to pursue these avenues.

What do you foresee for the future of health care on the West Side to support a future hospital or large-scale medical facility?

The district has a new medical office building that should support the needs of the West Side for many years to come. The question is, Will we utilize it to the fullest to benefit the medical needs of the people we serve? This can only come about with strong leadership from the board.

As to a hospital, we do not have the population base to support it. There will be a time when the West Side will be able to support a hospital, and I hope that Del Puerto Health Care District will be part of that.



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?

The simple answer is no. The first thing that needs to be done is get its house in order. You either have to increase revenue or cut expenses. It sounds simple, but it takes a lot of planning and imagination, along with perseverance to attain your goals. Financial cuts should be made where you can identify inefficiencies, such as overstaffing and under-utilization of services

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?

I believe strongly in the Brown Act. This is the law that mandates that most business of public agencies be done in public. It certainly is important and aids in transparency.

I recently discovered that three of the five board members attended several finance committee meetings. These meetings were posted as finance committee meetings, and therefore it would only be legal for two to attend, as three would amount to a quorum, where district business could be conducted.

This is a flagrant violation of the Brown Act and should not be tolerated. When I asked the board president about this infraction, she told me that the bylaws of the district allowed her to be there. I can tell you this is contrary to state law, and the Brown Act is clear on this issue.

As to improvement in transparency, I think it would be wise for the district to set a regular meeting time and stick to it. Lately, I have noticed that the board meetings have been held at different times, and I think this is confusing for the public to plan to attend these meetings.

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Anonjklmn
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October 29, 2012
http://www.pattersonirrigator.com/view/full_story/10002970/article-Election-2010-Del-Puerto-Health-Care-Board-candidate-profile--Ed-Maring?instance=home_news_second_lead_story

Check out Ed Maring's interview from 2010, his 2012 article is more than slightly contradictory.


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