Position available on NIHD board

By Deb Murphy

If you live in the Highlands/Meadowcreek area and are willing to work your butt off for your community, the Northern Inyo Healthcare District has a job for you.

With the resignation of Phil Hartz, the at-large board member for the district, the process of filling his position has begun.

We’re sad to see Phil leave,” said district CEO Dr. Kevin Flanigan . “We’re appreciative of his time and energy. His constituents were well-served.” Hartz tendered his resignation in mid-October. He’ll be leaving the area for family reasons, Flanigan said.

The district is in the process of posting the board opening. A committee of two seated directors will interview the candidates and make its recommendation to the full board.

According to state law, the board slot will be filled by appointment within 60 days of the opening followed by an election no less than 130 days from the vacancy. Flanigan said that put the election in March or June.

In perhaps the understatement of the year, Flanigan said “this is an exciting time to get in at the governance level.” Whether the Affordable Care Act or something else prevails at the federal level, NIH is looking for a director “with a passion for people and the preservation of local health care,” Flanigan said.

He admits the learning curve is steep and the work load hefty, but unlike private hospitals with directors appointed by skill set, the primary qualification for a potential board member willing to take on the challenge is simply the knowledge of what is needed for those he or she represents. The rest is learnable.

The primary responsibility of board members is to function as visionaries, setting the strategy and direction the district should go and assessing if it’s reaching those goals, Flanigan said. “This is a unique opportunity to positively impact health care in the community for years to come.”

So what does healthcare look like now? Flanigan gave us the answer in understandable terms.

Years ago, health care was transactional, he explained. You went to the hospital, got billed and either your insurance company or the state picked up the tab. “There was no tie to the quality of care or the outcome,” he said. The ACA changed the emphasis to prevention and maintenance with an incentive to keep people out of the hospital. If a heart patient had multiple hospital stays, the district would be paid less than if that same patient were treated and stayed out of the hospital.

Unfortunately, Flanigan said, hospitals can’t just flip a switch to transition from a transactional system to one based on prevention and maintenance.

We don’t know what the system will look like in the future,” Flanigan said. “The district’s solution is to do what the community needs.” No matter what Congress does, or doesn’t do, NIH can adjust accordingly.

Those interested in filling the position should contact Sandy Blumberg at 760-873-2838.


12 Responses to Position available on NIHD board

  1. Almost Native November 6, 2017 at 8:45 am #

    God forbid we create another nonprofit organization for the sick and poor. Like the red cross and the NFL.

  2. sugarmags November 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    A for profit health care system, as most of our health care system is, will never be in the patients best interest. ie. that system makes money by reacting to a sick patient. It has no motivation to help people stay healthy and therefore avoid the for profit healthcare system. We have reaped what we sowed. It’s no wonder that pharmaceutical companies rule our country. We must find a way to take the profit out of the system. Only then do we have a chance to put health care money into preventative care, instead of treating only the sick

  3. Almost Native November 1, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Mrs Houser, we have people being forced to pay for phoney insurance that only covers 6 basic doctor visits and basically nothing else. I’d love to hear a better option .

  4. Patricia Houser November 1, 2017 at 5:21 am #

    Talk to someone who has had someone die waiting for Canadian healthcare to kick in.

    • T-Bone November 2, 2017 at 8:58 am #

      Patricia, we can also talk to many folks here in the US who died avoiding the doctor because they were afraid of going bankrupt. Of course, they’re dead, so talking to them is gonna be tough.

  5. Almost Native October 31, 2017 at 5:53 am #

    I have become convinced that the best way to solve our health care problems is to join Canada’s health care system. Otherwise we’re all going to die broke and in pain. Our tax dollars should go into the true health of our nation.

    • Buzz Killington October 31, 2017 at 9:00 pm #

      No, no no! This is what happens when you let the those swamp creatures in D.C. get a hold of your healthcare….

      Socialsim only works till you run out of someone else’s money.

      People need to realize that more govt equals more dysfunction..

      • Almost Native November 1, 2017 at 10:15 am #

        Buzz, how is letting doctors and citizens buy into Candas health care system socialism? I pay my taxes.

        • Buzz Killington November 2, 2017 at 9:51 am #

          @Almost Native- Because Canada’s Health Care system in Socialism…

          – The More you know…..

      • Low-Inyo November 1, 2017 at 12:07 pm #

        Buzz….trump to the rescue…LOL !!!…another thing he talked about “fixing”,but his ideas are so friggin’ stupid even his own party won’t agree or help get it done for him..

    • Tom Boo November 1, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

      American healthcare is a mess and Congress and the President seem determined to make it worse for a lot of people. Support CA Senate Bill 562, Healthy California. State Senate passed it this summer, it’s in Assembly now. Will provide health insurance to EVERYONE in the state, with no direct costs. Funding mechanism to be determined but IF it is funded with a 2.3% sales tax (housing, food, utilities exempted) plus a 2.3% tax on gross business revenues (first $2million in revenue exempted) virtually everyone in the state pays less than they do now (at both individual/family and business levels). Expanding health insurance is good for the economy. MThe efficiency and simplicity of having a single insurance plan might even make private medical practice viable again.

      • Almost Native November 3, 2017 at 6:42 am #

        That is the best news I have heard in years. I will support it. Do you know how we can help?


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