Letters to the editor for Jan. 24

To the editor:

When I first ran for the Healthcare District Board of Directors, I made a personal commitment to serve for eight years. Now six years into that commitment, facing the daunting task of building a new hospital before state regulations close the doors forever on our current facility, I see that challenging times are ahead.

I am more committed than ever to doing everything I can to garner support for our new hospital building project, and I have thought long and hard about how I can best contribute to our District in my remaining two years of service. I believe my focus should be on helping to provide all the information our community needs and on garnering the necessary support for this major undertaking. I have concluded I can best do that if I am freed from the duties of District governance and the constraints of Brown Act compliance which places significant restrictions on communications by and among elected government officials outside of properly noticed public meetings.

I am writing to inform you that I will be stepping down from the Board effective Friday, Jan. 27.

Passing the Parcel Tax in early May is key to providing the necessary financing for the new hospital, and the campaign cannot be organized nor financed by the District. Working on the parcel tax renewal campaign will be my first focus. I look forward to working with you and with our whole community on this and the many other exciting tasks required to make our new hospital a reality.

Because this is a public announcement, I am sharing below my opinion of the current state of the Healthcare District team.

As we work through the planning and building process, we are very fortunate in our current administrative leadership team. Our Chief Executive Officer Matt Rees brings wide-ranging hospital management experience including leading major capital projects. Director of Nursing Judy Gallagher is a highly skilled and experienced professional whose leadership in teamwork and quality improvement is bolstering morale and yielding impressive progress. Long-time Chief Operations Officer Kent Scown has for decades supervised everything from inventory to information management to the many state-mandated renovations, along with unexpected repair needs of every kind, keeping our doors open through it all.

We have a highly skilled and caring medical staff, from beloved long-time practitioners Linda Candiotti and Barbara Hayes to our rotating Emergency Department physicians like Dr. Mike Newdow, who has been caring for us one week a month for years. These dedicated professionals have recently been joined by our new Family Practice Physician Dr. Gadallah. Perhaps most impressive in a community where staffing is so challenging, we are blessed with a skilled, enthusiastic, and mutually supportive staff which takes well-deserved pride in providing excellent patient care and all the other services required to maintain the facility and the finances needed to deliver that care.

Last but not least, it has been a real pleasure to work with Corinne, Gary, David and Alison. As my fellow board members, you have been dedicated, competent, and stable, and I thank you for your service to the District.


Barbara Truitt,

President Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District