This week the Fringe DeVita explains why western Sierra County has to stop expecting too much on our health care. After all he says, “many towns bigger than Downieville” don’t have what we have`. He minimizes the service area which is all of western Sierra County including many resorts, campgrounds, summer home tracts, 6 well established towns Alleghany, Pike City, Goodyears Bar, Downieville, Sierra City, Green Acres and many outlying homes scattered along Highway 49 and side roads. In the summertime the population triples in size.
He is right about the problems that are hurting the clinic, “policies and economics “determined in another more populated county. The Downieville Clinic does not need the massive staff and overhead costs of the Nevada County site. The Clinic in Downieville needs the support of the locals using it as Primary Care, use it or lose it. We need a full time provider and 2 or 3 Nurse Practioners who are willing to rotate for some of the 24/7 urgent and emergency care. If we were an independent entity again we could use the same medical billing company that Downieville Ambulance does for billing, we would need assistant LVN’s or RN’s to help the Providers, a secretary/receptionist, the phone calls for after hours clinic assistance could go through the Downieville Fire Department who are able to reach the provider immediately. There are overhead costs of course, payroll, taxes, insurance and all of these things need income, income provided by the Affordable Healthcare Act, everyone has insurance, provided by smaller grants for smaller facilities. Nevada County needed the 850,000 “330” grant but there are many grants, endowments and other sources of fundings to seek if it was directed at our small Clinic.
Unfortunately one source of friction right now is the difficulty in understanding why the Downieville founding source of the WSMC has been the stepchild who has to clean the ashes out of the stove for some gruel to be tossed to them. It has been suggested that Downieville residents are responsible to raise money, write grants, get funding to support our Clinic. Which makes me and others wonder, are the citizens of Grass Valley and Nevada City being asked to do the same for their site. We are asking for one provider 5 days a week, and some rotating relief personnel to help cover the 24/7 urgent and emergency care.
Lauren Alderdice, FNP, Flene Folsom PA-C, Lora Lee Grutkowski, FNP, Heather Lucas-Ross, MD, Elaine Lundy, MD, Galen Martin, MD, Celia Sutton-Pado, MD, Glenn Thiel, DO are all Family Practice/Family Medicine at the Grass Valley WSMC.
Lora Lee Grutkowski FNP will be working in Downieville 4 days and week including the Clinic off hours for urgent and emergency care. Celia Sutton-Pado was recently given a contract to be the Sierra County Public Health Officer which is for 8 hours each week but doesn’t really involve any Downieville clinic work right now.
Meanwhile in Pediatric Care there is Michael Curtis, MD, Kris Jessen-Mathers, RN, PNP, Joseph Lambert, MD, Douglas Wagner, MD and Sarah Woerner, MD at Grass Valley WSMC.
Then there are J. Alberto Chavez, DDS, Elizabeth Miltner, DDS and Justin Pfaffinger, DDS for dental care in GV-WSMC, Dr. Chavez is up here one day a week and I heard it will soon be two days, we can only hope.
Let’s move on to Behavioral Health, Kelly Cirner, MSW, Tracy Deliman, PHD, Karen Higgins, MD, Jennifer Sale, LCSW all at GV-WSMC.
Case Management/Nutritionist Jerusha Horlick,RN ; Diane Miessler, RN, Danielle Yantis, Dietician, MS at GV-WSMC. and last but not least is Maternity Health: Vanita Lott, RN and Midwife and Wendy Paye, RN .
So there are 25 medical staff on their website. http://wsmcmed.org/index.php/about-us/medical-staff/
Let’s look at Executive Management, all salaried personnel : CEO Scott McFarland, CMO Glenn Thiel, CFO Tom Morrisey, DD Justin Pfaffinger, COF Francine Novak; CIO Dan and PDD Cheryl Rubin. To be fair,Thiel and Pfaffinger see patients too, I think.
Of course there is the Management Team: Office Mgr Leo Avelar, Director of Clinical Services, Jennifer Edwards, RN, and Exec Admin Asst. Jessica Fraser and Downieville Clinic Manager C.C.Gelatt.
The Board of Directors:Sierra County residents: Larry Allen, Tim Beals, Jon Peek, Don Russell and Brandon Pangman, Nevada County Residents: Florence Lyss, Anita Daniels, Derek Williams, Scott Browne, Katherine Medeiros (also CEO at SNMH), Richard Kuhwarth, Jeannie Medley and Lupe Peterson
So where is the money going and if we merged why don’t we have the same service here. We don’t need the same service, we need the basics, what we have always had. We need Primary, Urgent and Emergency care in western Sierra County 24/7. We are not asking for the moon. In Grass Valley, in addition to the WSMC site there is a plethora of doctors and dentists, urgent care centers, a hospital and emergency room. In all of western Sierra County we have the WSMC Downieville Clinic…. come on… we are not spoiled. Grass Valley needs to stop whining about how costly we are and start facing who is really sucking up the money… and it ain’t us.