The Sonoma County Gazette: Community News Magazine
Sonoma County Gazette
| more

Photo Gallery

Sebastopol's Palm Drive Health Care District LISTENING Results


Sebastopol's Palm Drive District Shares Community Listening Session Results

A presentation regarding community health service options will occur at a special Board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

By Daymon Doss, Interim Executive Director

The Palm Drive Health Care District Board of Directors shared information from the four community listening sessions it held this June and July. The listening sessions provided an opportunity for district residents to share ideas for health care services needed in the District and to learn more about the District’s planning process. Community listening session meetings were held in Bodega Bay and Guerneville, and two meetings were held in Sebastopol. Each meeting lasted two hours and was attended by 25 to 75 residents as well as District Board and staff members. The minutes from each session and a summary table of recommended services are posted on the District’s website at

Palm Drive Listening Figure 1

After a brief update by the District, listening session meeting participants reviewed district health and demographic data. Participants then divided into small work groups to discuss services they felt would benefit District residents within the next one to two years.

Small group recommendations included a wide range of services. In order to summarize the input, 10 overarching health themes were identified as shown in Figure 1.

The four most frequently mentioned service areas were: emergency services, listed by 84 percent of the 19 work groups; prevention services, listed by 63 percent of the work groups; hospital services, listed by 58 percent of the work groups; and mental health services, listed by 53 percent of the work groups (refer to Figure 2).

Participants expressed a strong interest in emergency services including a hospital emergency room (mentioned by 8 of the 19 groups) and improving ambulance response times. Another commonly mentioned option was hospital services; however meeting participants in Guerneville did not voice a need for hospital services but emphasized other preferences. 

Palm Drive Listening Figure 2

Multiple groups provided ideas on how to increase hospital appeal and assure business growth. Many small groups mentioned prevention services including screening and intervention for chronic and communicable diseases, education to promote healthy behaviors (nutrition, exercise, tobacco use) and prevention and treatment for alcohol and drug abuse issues.

Listening session participants also developed a list of potential agencies that could partner with the District. Ideas included community health centers, insurance companies, local health care professionals, other hospitals, schools, businesses, the faith community and many others. Participants who wished to do so were encouraged to leave additional written comments on cards.

Palm Drive Listening Figure 3

Detailed information from the community listening sessions has been shared with the District Board of Directors. The Board has also commissioned a report regarding community based health services that the District could provide. In addition to this input, the Board and staff are consulting with health leaders in the community, financial experts, and bankruptcy attorneys and state regulators to inform theirdecision-making process (refer to Figure 3).

The District has appointed and convened review committees to consider the three proposals submitted in response to the District’s “Request for Proposals.” Proposals, which are posted on the District’s website, include a plan to operate an urgent care center submitted by Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, a community paramedic program submitted by the ambulance provider American Medical Response, and a proposal to lease the hospital facilities to the Palm Drive Foundation, an independent non-profit which would operate inpatient and emergency department services.

A presentation regarding community health service options will occur at a special Board meeting on Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Palm Drive Listening Results Top Ten

Explanation: The Listening Sessions had 25 to 75 participants at each of the four meetings.  As part of the agenda, 19 small discussion groups were asked to brainstorm and discuss health services needed  by the district residents. One group came up with 25 suggested  services, another with five. The groups did not prioritize their suggestions,  and not everyone  in the group supported each suggested service.   The "Totals" column on the right shows the numbers and percent  of groups which mentioned a particular service or theme (not the  percentage of meeting  participants  in favor ofthat service).

The listening sessions were structured as an informal dialogue and information sharing opportunity, not as a statistically significant poll. Because of the open-ended  nature of the small groups, it was difficult to group the recommended services into distinct themes and is overlap in categories. Some of the specific comments made in meetings by the groups are  outlined below under each "theme." These comments are presented to provide niore transparency on how the themes were developed and to illustrate the range of recommendations each theme encompasses. 

Emergency Services comments include: Emergency Room (this service was  specifically identified in 8 out of 15  groups); ER with Cardiac care in Sebastopol and Guerneville; Stand-alone ER; 24  hour physician availability; Life-sustaining emergency services; Coordinated triage;Shorten time and  distance to emergency services; Mitigate factors that increase response time; Mobile emergency care with professional medical personnel;Trauma center; If we cannot terminate district then tax  money should go to ambulance services and improve services in West County Health Centers; Additional ambulance service; Routes include whole district;Stable and available service; increase local ambulance capacity; EMT/Paramedic services for accurate assessment; Speedy access by  coastal residents to trauma care or any  care; Fastest ERin the area? Goal; Capacities of hospitals to provide quality emergency services; 

Prevention comments include: Use  hospital as a central hub to foster/promote health; Health education program;Get kids to stop smoking; Board keep in mind the determinants of health; Smoking cessation for youth; Exercise; Health promotion; Wellness classes; Address smoking;, drugs, substance abuse; Blood pressure screening; Health classes- wellness, prevention; Health center for health education; pro-active health education; Community Outreach- haven't seen any  community outreach other than Sebastopol; Addiction rehab and education; Vaccination education; Prevention;Preventative services; Outreach program to bring health care to schools; Alcohol and eating disorder; Drug rehabilitation center.

Mental Health Services comments include: For  seniors; Focus on adolescents; Mental health services; Mental health.

Re-open Hospital comments include: Re-open hospital so physicians can  practice; Increase taxes to keep hospital; Need a hospital now; Serves as a meeting ground for medical personnel; Research (brings funding); Outreach/Marketing of services available; More in-patient hospital service; Observation beds; Surgeries that require overnight stays; Hospital and ER bought by  citizens by  large donors/small donors within the next month; Specialist to initiate business growth plan of hospital with the knowledge of how to compete with other hospitals especially Kaiser; Use telecommunications/telemedicine; 100% of revenues should be  dedicated to re­ open and operate hospital with ER; Board should actively support opening the hospital within 24 hours; Sell or lease to a qualified entity; Advertise like a magnet school to help make hospital profitable; Better food to draw people; Destination hospital for complementary/integrated medicine;Taxes are  for the hospital, not other services; Local, humane care here; Pay for service hospital vs. taxpayer supported.

Dissolve District or Redraw District Boundaries comments include: Keep hospital closed until taxpayers are out of the equation;Dissolve Board;Realign District to exclude River Road corridor;Have hospital and ER or dissolve district and eliminate tax;Guerneville/River Road detach from District; Detach River Road north; Redefine boundaries; If we cannot terminate district then tax money should go to ambulance services and improve services with West County Health Centers.

Urgent Care  comments include: Turn existing Emergency Room into Urgent Care; Urgent Care provided by ambulance staff; Urgent care; Provide basic 24 hour primary urgent care (can be done outpatient);

Senior Services comments include: Residential care; Focus on seniors; Successful aging; Support services for aging in place;Transportation; Elder aging in home;Convert building to assisted living; Adult day center; Assisted living; Geriatric care; Senior care and services.

Cardiac/Stroke Care  comments include: Look at specific services that can be  provided without a whole hospital (e.g. stroke services);Cardiac event/stroke center; Primary stroke center if we reopen acute hospital of any kind;Clot-busters for heart/brain; Stroke center;Trauma attention (stroke/heart attack); Cardio care.

Support Community Clinics  comments include: Set up clinics in small towns (24/7); Use  of other services (Community Care Clinics); Add more providers, services, time (hours of operation) at health care centers; Support current clinic system;Turn Palm Drive resources into community health services; 24-hour pharmacy;