Response to the District Dismantlers from Palm Drive Health Care District

It’s well-known that a group of Sonoma County residents have been attempting to shut-down the hospital and District for some time. They issued this FAQ sheet, and we are providing an opportunity for the District to respond (see bold text, below).

Claims asserted by: Bodega Bay Against Unfair Taxation “BBAUT”
FAQ – Bodega Bay Request for Detachment from Palm Drive Healthcare District

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF PALM DRIVE HEALTH CARE DISTRICT (PDHCD)?

Claim: Measure W, passed in 2005, formed the PDHCD and set a property tax of $155 per year to provide an acute care hospital and emergency room. Facts: Measure W also allowed the District to provide “…other health care services…” The District is still providing an acute care hospital including and an operating room, critical care, lab, radiology, and therapies. In January will open an urgent care clinic where we can see the same kinds of patients we saw in the Emergency room for the most part. Ninety-percent of our patients were urgent care patients. Urgent care is also a lot less expensive for the patient.

WHY IS THERE NO LONGER AN ACUTE CARE HOSPITAL AND EMERGENCY ROOM?

Claim: On August 17, 2018, the PDHCD Board of Directors voted 4 – 1 in favor of a hospital management contract with American Advanced Management Group (AAMG) which results in closure of the Emergency Room and conversion of the hospital to a Long-Term Acute Care Facility and, possibly, an urgent care clinic. Facts: See above. The hospital is still an acute care hospital and you could be admitted from any doctor’s office (or urgent care clinic) directly to the hospital since it is still an acute care hospital.

WHY DO WE NEED TO DETACH?

Claim: Through two bankruptcies, PDHCD accumulated $28 Million in debt.  The losses and costs are expected to continue with AAMG.  If Bodega Bay detaches from the PDHCD now, we will not be responsible for the repayment of PDHCD’s future debt, but we will still have to continue to pay the outstanding bonds and current debt. Facts: If you detach you will save $47 per year or $4/month. We are suggesting that this money be spent on community health services in Bodega Bay. We are ready to bring health screenings, drug/alcohol rehabilitation services and others to Bodega Bay – we have spent two years in planning and are ready to go. Detachment would deny this needed service to Bodega Bay. Bodega Bay has essentially no health services. The District would partner with the Municipal Advisory Board to change this.

WHY DO I NEED TO SIGN A PETITION?

To detach from PDHCD, a petition must be signed by registered voters in the Bodega Bay Fire Protection district and presented to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO)

WHAT IS OUR CURRENT RESPONSIBILITY FOR PDHCD DEBTS?

PDHCD is in default on Measure W bond principal and interest payments in the approximate amount of $6 Million and anticipates incurring at least $1.7 Million more debt from its contract with AAMG.  If Bodega Bay detaches now our property tax payments to PDHCD will be reduced until the current debt is paid off. Facts: PDHCD is not in default of any bond debt. That debt is consistently paid. We do not anticipate incurring anywhere near $1.7 in debt with AAMG.

WHAT IS OUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR PDHCD FUTURE DEBT?

Once detached, the accrual of future PDHCD debt to Bodega Bay property owners is stopped. If we do not detach, the $155 per year property tax payments will remain until both current and future debt is paid off.

HAS LAFCO REVIEWED THE SITUATION AT PDHCD?

Claim: Sonoma County’s LAFCO recently conducted a review of the PDHCD.  LAFCO’s recent review noted deficiencies in PDHCD’s governance and fiscal decision-making and called for corrective actions. No or inadequate corrective actions have been taken by PDHCD. Facts: This is incorrect. One of the primary recommendations from LAFCO was to consider changing the model of care at the hospital so it could be more fiscally sound. That is exactly what we are doing.

WHY ARE WE SUBSIDIZING A “FOR PROFIT” BUSINESS?

Claim: AAMG is a private, for-profit enterprise, which will be competing with other private medical care facilities in the area. AAMG should not be protected against business losses by our tax dollars. If we don’t detach, we will be paying their losses until they become profitable. Facts: No tax money is going to AAMG to subsidize their operations. We are paying for management services like anyone would do. We are putting money into community health efforts like homeless housing, senior programs, disaster programs, BP screening at Farmer’s markets, helping BODEGA BAY FIRE DISTRICT ($47,000), a teen center, anti-bullying program, fall prevention programs and many more.

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