The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District saw nearly 650 patient encounters at their clinic in August, making it the highest volume month in the past year according to a report from CEO\CFO Harry Jasper. The hospital saw an average of just over four inpatient acute and swing bed patients per day, which Jasper's report describes as "very high for the second month in a row," and the outpatient clinic saw a total of 645 patient encounters. This makes August the SHCHD's highest volume month in the past year.
The district reports assets of more than $3,044,880 with liabilities of just over $1,065,694. August's net income was $21,089 and the district's total fund balance (assets minus liabilities) is currently $2,564,501. Jasper describes their balance sheet as "very strong."
Sara Beach, R.N., informed the district's governing board on her work to bring a visiting nurses program to the area. Such a program would make it possible for medical staff to provide in-home health care services for outpatients at their places of residence. A letter of intent has been submitted to the California Department of Public Health, and Beach says they'll be researching our area to see if we qualify to have a visiting nurse's program.
"If this goes through, it's going to be big news," said Gary Wellborn, Vice President of the governing board.
Last week's agenda also included the SHCHD's first Hazard Mitigation Report, part of the Humboldt Operational Area Hazard Mitigation Plan update.
"You don't get any pre-hazard mitigation funds from FEMA if you're not in the plan, and it's really difficult to get post-disaster funds. You can," said Wellborn, "but it's a lot more difficult."
"And slower. That's what drives a lot of governments broke. If you have a major disaster in your area," said board member David Ordonez, "You've gotta pay for it."
The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District's assessment lists 11 natural hazard events and disasters over the last 21 years, with a total of more than $117 million in damages -- the most severe of which included a $48.3 million earthquake in 1992 and a $35 million flood that followed severe storms in 1997. Many of the listed incidents were due to seismic activity and flooding, but fire is also a significant local threat.
In the event of a major disaster, electricity might go down. That makes replacing the district's generator a priority.
It would cost roughly half a million dollars -- which cannot be funded by SHCHD's current operations -- but it would mitigate hazards posed by earthquakes and severe weather. According to the district's hazard mitigation report, the benefits would exceed the cost. Still, the project cannot be funded by the hospital's current operations.
The Jerold Phelps Community Hospital building also poses a problem for the district due to the risk posed by earthquakes, as described in the following excerpt from their hazard mitigation report:
"The Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District is in a position, based upon legislative action (SB 1953), which will require closure/discontinuation of all hospital and emergency related services by 2030 without construction of a seismically upgraded and compliant facility. Funding for this replacement is not yet secured, and it is not yet clear that the community can or will support such a construction project."
The district's facilities have an estimated value of just $2 million, but replacing the hospital could cost more than $30 million based on current requirements and consultation with the district's current architect.