The Mendocino Coast District Hospital has provided vital healthcare services to the coastal community for more than four decades. However, like many other rural hospitals throughout California, recent governmental policy and economic factors have put the Hospital’s financial condition in a fragile state. Everyone at the Hospital is actively working to restore its financial health and continue providing access to quality healthcare on the Mendocino Coast.
To seek input from the community about their connection to the Hospital, their feelings about different aspects of the Hospital, and whether they would make an investment in the Hospital, the Board approved a written survey to be released to all voters in the District. More than 2,700 responses were received.
The number of responses was significant and certainly indicates that the coastal community cares about the Hospital. Of all of the responses, the vast majority (approximately 2,000) were handwritten and returned in the mail or in-person to the Hospital. Also, this response rate is greater than the 18.3% turnout throughout Mendocino County for the recent primary election on June 3. The vast majority of responses came from Fort Bragg and Mendocino, given the concentration of the District’s population in those two communities, and most respondents appear to have received services from the Hospital and/or have heard or read some information about MCDH.
The overall sentiment was positive and a considerable majority of respondents were willing to say ‘YES’ to the parcel tax question. The proximity of the Hospital, the quality of care, nurses, physicians, and many other aspects of MCDH were viewed favorably by a large portion of respondents. The vast majority also value local health care and want it to continue at MCDH. Some portions of the Hospital, however, appear to be less known to the community. This means that public outreach is critical so everyone can better understand the work being done to allow the Hospital to continue providing quality health care – as well as take advantage of the wide range of services the Hospital provides to the greater community.
94% of respondents indicated that they want MCDH to continue providing local health care. Strong support for the Hospital was reflected in most of the responses, and nearly all respondents want MCDH to continue providing local health care.
With this nearly unanimous agreement – as well as sustained engagement with the broader community – a solution can be developed. Based on all the feedback and suggestions, the Board, Administration, Medical and Hospital staff, Foundation and many community members will redouble efforts to communicate with local residents, accepting additional input, continuing to improve local health care, and refining a solution.
Chief Financial Officer