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Hospital to be subject of meeting for public

Publisher’s Note: Update as of 2/23/2023 at 9:15 a.m.: The time of the town hall on March 1 has been changed from 9 a.m. to noon to 4:30 to 7 p.m. The location will still be the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors chambers at 5100 Bullion Street. There will be a link to participate virtually; check next week for the link.


Last week’s John C. Fremont Healthcare District board meeting featured changes and new developments in the district.

Lynn Buskill, chief operating officer for the district, has taken on the role of interim CEO after CEO Matthew Matthiessen announced his medical leave last month. She will remain COO along with her new role. A contract will be coming shortly.

Buskill spoke about the upcoming Town Hall on March 1 at 9 a.m. at the Mariposa County Board of Supervisors Chambers. “The goal is to give a transparent look at hospital operations.”

“I don’t think that has been a priority in the past,” she admitted, but the administrative team is working on this. She said the town hall will discuss where the district wants to go in the future and how to get there.

She spoke about hiring nurse practitioners and physician assistants to build preventative healthcare. The intent is to keep people out of the emergency room.

Prue asked if the county supervisors will be in attendance and Buskill was not sure. Fluharty asked if this will be an interactive meeting and Buskill said there will be opportunities to talk and she has considered using an app for audience polling.

Bernikoff asked if Microsoft Teams will be used and Buskill said it would, along with sign language interpreters.

The board approved a resolution to cancel the Feb. 22 finance meeting due to the town hall as the town hall will cover most, if not all, of the finance meeting topics.

During public comment on non-agenda items, resident Barbara Cone praised Clinic II for their work. She told of a low blood sugar incident she had and the clinic was attentive, giving her cookies and water to get her blood sugar up again.

“Clinic II is a unit” and she is very appreciative of them.

She also asked if Annie Branham, legal counsel for the district, could define why the closure of home health and hospice was discussed in closed session under “trade secrets.”

Finally, Cone was curious if housing was needed for a new doctor and Buskill said yes; Cone’s neighbor is moving and she said the group could come up with a housing agreement.

Craig Burchfiel, information technology director, introduced his team and spoke a bit about their role. “We work 24/7,” he stated, explaining the trio takes care of 25 systems and over 61 servers.

The district is using a Federal Communications Commission certified site-to-site system; “it seems to be very reliable,” according to Burchfiel.

Board member Nick Lambert, who also works in information technology, said he respects all the team does.

Chief nursing officer Lisa Hoyle gave her monthly report.

The district is exploring the ability to start an outpatient physical therapy program, purchasing a new software program for swing bed patient referrals, interviewing for prospective nursing staff for home health and hospice and investigating equipment for the safe movement of patients to name a few.

Board member Rose Fluharty asked if the outpatient physical therapy program includes home health and hospice; Hoyle said it does not but the program is still in the early stages.

Human resources director Julie Adair stated there are currently six positions onboarding, which are a respiratory therapist, food service worker, two emergency department registered nurses and two physician assistants.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” she said. Board member Suzette Prue asked if anyone from Madera Community Hospital has been hired and Adair said a few people have been.

Buskill said the labor union “is in limbo” and there are no updates at this time.

Resident Heather Bernikoff asked how the separation of a certified nursing assistant from the skilled nursing facility is being handled; Adair said she is working with Hoyle and Rebecca Swisher on staffing and recruitment continues.

Buskill said there is an opportunity to build retention in training for the certified nursing assistant training program.

For the information technology report, security is stable with no breaches, there were no new incidents and lab systems are up and running as they should.

There was no report from the John C. Fremont Hospital Foundation.

Agenda Items for Future Meetings

• Final Audited Financials for 2019-2020, Audited Financials for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022, Wes Thew, WIPFLi, LLP

• California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM), Rosemarie Smallcombe and/or Baljit Hundal

• Brown Act Training, Annie Branham, Best Best and Krieger

• Mission, Vision and Values discussion

• David Sandberg, Focus and Execute, meeting with new board and new senior team

• Discussion on trade secrets

• Creating officers for Policies & Procedures and Bylaws Committee

• Discussion and direction on community satisfaction

• District organizational values discussion

• Assigning a board liaison for hospital foundation, likely Fluharty

Future Meeting Dates
• Town Hall, March 1 at 9 a.m.
• Regular Board Meeting, March 22 at 2 p.m.
• Finance Board Meeting, March 29 at 2 p.m.


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