On August 25, the Little Hoover Commission held an oversight meeting in Sacramento pertaining to special districts. Mayers Memorial Hospital District (MMHD) was represented by Valerie Lakey, Director of Public Relations. Lakey was asked by The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) to present several talking points related to Healthcare Districts. Lakey representing MMHD and Ramona Faith representing Petaluma Healthcare District were the only speakers representing hospitals.
The Little Hoover Commission, formally known as the Milton Marks “Little Hoover” Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, is an independent state oversight agency that was created in 1962. The Commission’s mission is to investigate state government operations and – through reports, recommendations and legislative proposals – promote efficiency, economy and improved service.
Special districts are an important component of local government in California. They are created by a local community to meet a specific need. They include many different types of districts including fire districts, water districts, mosquito districts, cemetery districts, and healthcare districts.
Since 1963, Local Agency Formation Commissions (LAFCOs) in each county have overseen and coordinated the formation and operation of special districts.
Governance of local communities in California is relatively complex and the August meeting addressed numerous topics.
The following is a report published by Mayers Memorial Hospital District on their participation in the meeting:
LITTLE HOOVER COMMISSION ON SPECIAL DISTRICTS
Mayers Memorial Hospital District (MMHD) was represented at the first oversight hearing of the Little Hoover Commission pertaining to Special Districts. The Commission met for the first hearing August 25th at the State Capitol in Sacramento. MMHD’s Director of Public Relations, Valerie Lakey was asked by The Association of California Healthcare Districts (ACHD) to present several talking points related to Healthcare Districts. Lakey representing MMHD and Ramona Faith representing Petaluma Healthcare District were the only speakers representing hospitals.
ACHD’s Senior Legislative Advocate Amber King provided oral testimony and responded to Commission questions on behalf of the Association and the healthcare districts ACHD represents. Other presenters included representatives from the California Special Districts Association, the North Tahoe Fire Protection District, the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions, CaliforniaCityFinance.com, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. All written materials submitted by presenters can be found on the Commission’s website, http://www.lhc.ca.gov.
There was significant discussion regarding LAFCOs, the State Responsibility Area fees, and District reserves and property taxes. In terms of Healthcare Districts, the questions pertained to: rural Healthcare District use of tele-health, physician employment legislation that would benefit District Hospitals, and data gathered and reported on services provided to minority populations.
In addition to comments from Lakey and Faith, a number of representatives from statewide associations, individual Special Districts, and members of the public provided public also provided comments. Lakey spoke on the importance of the District to the community. Points that were addressed were the demographics and large service area of MMHD, the benefits of being a district (public entity) including the eligibility to apply for the USDA Rural Development Loan and participation in the Public Hospital Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) programs. The PRIME projects include the Million Hearts Initiative and the Antibiotic Stewardship Program, which are both designed to change care delivery to maximize healthcare value.
MMHD had a district boundary area of 4000+ square miles, but provides service to community members in three counties living outside of the taxpayer base. (Up to 8000+ square miles). MMHD is one of the top 10 employers in Shasta County. MMHD has a tax base of 870 million and collects approximately $600,000 in property taxes and $450,000 in GO Bond assessments annually. This only accounts for 5% of MMHD’s total operating budget.
The Little Hoover Commission is anticipated to hold a follow up hearing on October 27th prior to beginning their work on a full report. The subject of the upcoming hearing and subsequent report has not yet been finalized.