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Action possible by end of year

The chairman of the Sutter Coast Hospital board of directors said that with the recent completion of a high-priced strategic options study, he hopes the board will have a plan for what direction to take the hospital in before the end of 2013.

Findings from the $170,000 study conducted by the Camden Group, a health-care industry consultant, were given to the public Tuesday via a live web presentation, which at least 100 people remotely attended.

The presentation, which is now posted to the hospital’s website, suttercoast.org, provides an overview of how the study was conducted, what was found, and what input was given by a local group of community leaders who participated in the study by serving on a steering committee.

“Now that the study is done the important thing to do is get feedback from community,” said Ken Hall, chairman of the hospital’s Board of Directors.

During the presentation, hospital CEO Linda Horn encouraged the public to submit input on the study’s findings by either calling
707-464-8688 or emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   The hospital is accepting public comments on the findings until Friday.

Hall, who also served on the steering committee, hopes that the group remains intact while the hospital navigates its future.

“The input that they’ve provided us has been invaluable,” Hall said.

The steering committee decided that two of the four options studied were viable for the hospital:

• Remain affiliated with parent-health system Sutter Health, but make changes (i.e., merge with Sutter West Bay Region, replacing mostly local hospital board with regional board) and pursue Critical Access Hospital designation

• Or divest from Sutter Health and affiliate with another health system, also while pursuing CAH designation.

“Critical Access in my mind is primarily a financial decision,” Hall said. “You have to look at the numbers and ask ‘can we make it without becoming Critical Access?’”

Steering committee members were polled several times throughout the study on which option they thought the hospital board should pursue.  During the last vote, there was unanimous consensus that the hospital board should stick with Sutter Health and pursue Critical Access designation.

Hall said that the board will be meeting with the hospital’s medical staff Friday to discuss the study’s findings, and that the board is poised to make a decision on the future of the hospital within two to three months.

How to watch

The presentation of the study findings can viewed by following links under the“Options Study” orange tab on the home page of the hospital’s website, suttercoast.org.  You can either review a PDF of the slide presentation or watch a video of the presentation that includes audio from CEO Horn and a representative of the Camden Group and the question-and-answer session from Tuesday.  It is recommended to use a Windows operating system computer and Windows Media Player to watch the video.

Committee members

Members of the steering committee include:

• Scott Feller, representative  of state Sen. Jim Nielsen and a Crescent City Harbor commissioner

• Ken Hall, Chairman of the Sutter Coast Hospital Board of Directors

• Linda Horn, CEO of Sutter Coast

• Martha McClure, Del Norte County supervisor

• John Menaugh, president of the Crescent City-Del Norte County Chamber of Commerce Board and former CEO of Sutter Coast (1986 - 2008)

• Trista Mentink, hospital employee of the year for 2012; works in diagnostic imaging

• Clarke Moore - Chairman of the Del Norte Healthcare District

• Darrell Moorehead - Smith River Rancheria, tribal employment rights compliance officer

• Dr. Warren Rehwaldt, senior physician for the Del Norte Community Health Center, the county’s public health officer and former hospital chief of staff

• Dr. Sandy Saunders, medical director, Valley Emergency Physicians, the organization which staffs Sutter Coast Emergency Department

• Kelly Schellong, Crescent City Council member

• Dr. Nikki Schwartz, co-chief hospitalist, Sound Inpatient Physicians for Sutter Coast

• Rene Shanle-Hutzell, general manager, Bicoastal Media Studios

• Hermann Spetzler, CEO, Open Door Community Health Centers

• Rich Taylor, CPA, Crescent City

Reach Adam Spencer at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

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