Tag Archives: Mayers Memorial Hospital

Shasta County health leaders express concern about senate version of health bill

Val Lakey, director of public relations for Mayers Memorial Hospital, and Lynn Dorroh, director of Hill Country Wellness Center, were two amongst a number of health care leaders in Shasta County who spoke at a press conference in Redding on June 27 expressing concern about the health care bill pending in the US Senate. You can see the story with video on the Record Searchlight website Redding.com.


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Valerie Lakey updates Burney Chamber on Mayers Memorial Hospital District

Valerie Lakey gave a talk about Mayer’s Memorial Hospital District at the Burney Chamber of Commerce meeting on Tuesday June 13, at Gepetto’s Pizza.

Val Lakey at June Burney Chamber meeting

Click on image to enlarge

Ms. Lakey, Director of Public Relations for Mayers Memorial, began by giving a short history of the hospital district. Mayers Memorial Hospital opened as a 10 bed facility in 1956. In 1969, Mayers Memorial Hospital District was established as a Special District. In 2001, the hospital was designated as a Critical Access Hospital.

Since that time, the hospital has also been named a “frontier” facility by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. A “frontier” area has a population density of less than 11 persons per square mile and lacks any incorporated community with a population greater than 50,000 people based on most recent federal census data.

The hospital is also certified by the Association of California Healthcare Districts.

MMHD Map (Click to enlarge)

The geographical area of the Special District is the same as the Fall River Joint Unified School district. The district is governed by a publicly elected board of directors and receives property tax revenue from district residents. Board meetings are open to the public.

In the past year, the district received $1.11 million dollars from tax revenue. This is about 4% of the facilities overall budget.

MMHD serves more that 15,000 people in an area covering much of Shasta, Modoc, and Lassen Counties. The area cared for actually extends well beyond the electoral district which provides its tax base.

Ms. Lakey cited the total revenue for the hospital at $36 million. She stated that the hospital district is the largest employer in Northeastern Shasta County and the 8th largest employer in Shasta County. The hospital employs more that 220 people generating labor income of over $21 million. The annual economic impact is about $43 million.

Lakey also walked the audience through the district’s website discussing the services offered and emphasizing the board and staff’s determination to provide transparency. Each month, the Chief Executive Officer, Louis Ward, provides an update on the district’s activities.

She explained that while Mayers Memorial and Mountain Valley Health Centers are different entities they have a close working relationship. Also she noted that Mayers is now able to hire their own physicians due to changes in state regulations and that they hired their first physician earlier this year.

Ms Lakey encouraged people to visit the hospital’s website http://www.mayersmemorial.com/ and to contact the hospital at 530-336-5511 if they have any questions.

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Hospice Chair-ity Auction November 5

The 5th Annual Chair-ity Affair to raise money for Intermountain Hospice will be November 5 at the Burney Vets Hall. Doors open as 6 p.m. Auction starts at 7 p.m. $10 admission.


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Val Lakey from Mayers attends Little Hoover Commission meeting on special districts

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:


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.




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Norcal Road Gypsies donate $3000 to Mayers Intermountain Hospice

The Mayers Intermountain Hospice has received a generous donation from members of the Norcal Road Gypsies for the third consecutive year. The group presented a check for $3000, the proceeds raised at their annual car show. The car show which featured 82 cars was hosted by the club on July 17th at the Clearwater Lodge.

NorCal Road Gypsies present donation to Hospice

NorCal Road Gypsies present donation to Hospice

Car club co-presidents Greg Gordon and Bob Eastburn said the club loves to support the great work that Hospice does in our community. “I have personal experience with Hospice, they do great things for people at a time that it is needed the most. “ Said Gordon. Another donation will be forthcoming in Gordon’s name. As an employee of PG & E, the company will be contributing $350 donation to Hospice for Gordon’s community service and time committed to the community project.

Hospice Manager, Mary Ranquist expressed that the Mayers Intermountain Hospice is unique in that it covers a large geographic area, but the patient number is small. “We couldn’t do it without the support of community support and organizations like this.”

Eastburn and Gordon also noted that the “just host the event” and the local businesses and community make it a success with donations, support and attendance.

Mayers Intermountain Hospice provides a special kind of care and support. Hospice helps patients and their families with decision making, meeting life goals, enhancing family relationships and promoting comfort. The Hospice team is available 24/7 with dedicated on-call teams and Hospice trained volunteers.

Press release and photo from Val Lakey, Director of Public Relations, Mayers Memorial Hospital

See also NorCal Road Gypsies raise money for Hospice

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Mayers Memorial holds public meeting on OB decision

On Tuesday, August 23, from 5:30 – 7:15 p.m. Mayers Memorial Hospital District held a meeting at the Lions Club in McArthur to explain their decision to discontinue Obstetric Services.

Mayers Info meeting on ending obstetrics services

Mayers Info meeting on ending obstetrics services

The meeting was facilitated by Valerie Lakey, Director of Public Relations for Mayers Memorial Hospital District. The hall was packed with more than 200 people in attendance. An information packet was provided to all who attended.

Lakey began the meeting by introducing a panel of six people who are involved in or are affected by the decision. The panel members included: Dr. Tomas D. Watson, family practitioner; Mayers Board Members Art Whitney and Mike Kerns; Dave Jones, CEO of Mountain Valleys Health Center; Sherry Wilson, Chief Nursing Officer at Mayers Memorial Hospital; and Louis Ward, CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital.

Kerns, Whitney, and Ward

Kerns, Whitney, and Ward

Wilson, Jones, and Watson

Wilson, Jones, and Watson

After an opening statement by Louis Ward, brief  comments by the panel, and a summary of answers to some of the common questions regarding the closure, there was and extended period of question and answer.

Lakey listens to a question

Lakey listens to a question

The decision to end OB services was a management decision fully supported by the Board. It was not a decision arrived at quickly or easily.

The California Department of Healthcare Services mandates that all California Hospitals that have an obstetrical service on their licensure provide 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year active service. Such service requires a doctor on call, nurses trained in OB delivery, and anesthetics.

The hospital has struggled for years to adequately meet these requirements. It has become increasingly difficult to recruit experienced trained OB nurses largely due to the fact that Mayers delivers the least number of babies of any hospital in the state of California. Last year the OB department delivered only 54 babies.

No one nurse could be on duty 24/7, so to fully staff the facility each nurse would only deliver a small number of babies each year. The management at Mayers has tried many strategies to recruit experienced OB nurses. They have offered above market-rate pay and financial incentives, but still have been unable to due so.

It has also been difficult to recruit OB/GYNs & Family Practice Physicians.

On the other hand, the question and answer session made clear that many in the community were surprised and disgruntled by the decision. Discontinuing OB services means that women will need to go to Redding to deliver their babes.

Many in the community were unaware of the difficulties the hospital was having maintaining the standards mandated by the state. Those who were aware assumed that the hospital would continue to maintain the service by meeting their needs with stop gap measures.

Several people asked why there was not more advance notice and a public meeting before hand to get community input. Questions were also raised as to whether doctors, nurses, expectant mothers, and other interested parties were aware that that the board was going to take action to end OB services at their July meeting. People wanted to know if there was still a chance to change the decision or a possibility that OB services could again be offered in the future.

Among those who were critical of the decision were family practitioner Dr. Daniel Dahle and OB Department Manager Holly Green. Several expectant mothers were also in the audience.

CEO Ward answered many of the questions. The decision to end services on September 15 is final. There is a possibility that services could be resumed, but not in the near future.

Ward responding to a question

Ward responding to a question

Also, even though the hospital will no longer have official OB services, the emergency room staff at the hospital will have training and equipment necessary to provide safe delivery if transferring the patient is not possible. The hospital will continue to proved additional training.

It was stressed that this was not a financial decision. The hospital has improved it’s cash balance and decreased it’s debt. The decision was a management decision based primarily on the difficulty of recruiting adequate staff to meet state requirements.

Questions were also raised concerning the construction of a new building. This is necessary because of state requirements regarding seismic stability.

Lakey ended the meeting by telling the audience that anyone who had further questions should contact the hospital and make an appointment so their questions could be fully answered.


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Mayers Hosts Health Career Day at Burney High School

On April 22, Mayers Memorial Hospital District hosted the first of their three Health Career Days at Burney High School. Mayers staff were present representing over 15 departments. Mountain Valleys Health Centers also participated.

Students at BHS Heath Fair - Photo courtesy of Mayers Memorial Hospital District

Students at BHS Heath Fair – Photo courtesy of Mayers Memorial Hospital District

The entire student body was involved in the program and talked to staff to learn about the variety of employment options in the healthcare field. Organizers Val Lakey, Director of Public Relations and Libby Mee, Director of Human Resources said the event was intended to show student the many jobs available with varying degrees of education and qualifications.

Learning about employment opportunities in healthcare - Photo courtesy of Mayers Memorial Hospital District

Learning about employment opportunities in healthcare – Photo courtesy of Mayers Memorial Hospital District

For example, a student can take a phlebotomist program and complete it in as little as 12 weeks, an EMT can complete training in 6 montha, a Listened Vocational Nurse can finish schooling in 18 months and a physician takes many, many years. “We want to show our students there are a lot of opportunities, clinical and non-clinical. There are careers in Medical Records, Administration, Nutrition and IT,” said Lakey.

Mayers employees over 250 people and offers a wide variety of career options. “We want to grown our own and show local students it is an option to return to our community to work,” Mee noted.

Information was provided on:

  • Education needed college prep and beyond.
  • Information about the field
  • Skills required, etc.
  • Wages, Benefits, etc.

Students were required to ask questions in order to be able to participate in a drawing. Other events are scheduled for May 20 at Fall River High School and May 25 at Big Valley High School.

Photos and press release from Mayers Memorial Hospital District. For more information contact Valerie Lakey vlakey@mayersmemorial.com


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