Last Saturday, 54 local residents of the Mendocino Coast, representing many different interest groups attended a 5 ½ hour Strategic Planning Retreat for Mendocino Coast District Hospital. The retreat was held at the C.V. Starr Center on a rainy day. Participants included 5 members of the hospital’s medical staff, 1 City Councilman, 3 members of the Hospital’s Board of Directors and dozens of community citizens, including many hospital employees. “Every region of our District was represented,” said Hospital CEO Raymond Hino. “We even had representatives from Westport, Comptche, Elk and Gualala.” Participants were asked at the beginning of the session to name the hospital accomplishment that they were most pleased about, and their greatest fear for the future.
Accomplishments included the new Diagnostic Imaging Center, the Healing Hospital program, Improve- ment in Hospital Finances and Improvements in Employee Morale. It was not surprising to see that many of the participants feared a worsening economy, changes due to National Healthcare Reform, and a continued emphasis on community support of MCDH. For the 3rd time in the past 4 years, the hospital used the firm of Philps and Associates to lead the planning session. Michael and Kathy Philps revealed the results of Mendocino Coast Focus Group Sessions that were held last month and walked the assembled participants through a discussion of what they viewed as MCDH’s key strategic goals for the next few years. The final report will be developed by Michael and Kathy Philps based upon input from the Community last Saturday and will be ready early in 2011. Some of the items that are likely to be included in the Plan will be the need for continued financial improvements, marketing of services, new technology including electronic medical records, communication between all of MCDH’s stakeholder groups, and perhaps some mention of the need to begin planning for a new hospital in the year 2030. Some participants suggested that the most important step towards new facilities in the future is a steady improvement in hospital financial performance to improve borrowing potential in the future. Others suggested that it takes at least 10 years to plan for a new hospital and many more years after that to build it. All in all, it was a great day for MCDH. It is wonderful to see the community so involved and interested in the future of our hospital.