August 7, 2012
Dear Community Members,
Bette Jo and I are incredibly fortunate to live in this community, which has embraced us with generosity from the day we arrived over 36 years ago. You have made us feel at home, at first with our three sons and now our expanding family, and supported us throughout the process of creating what Western Sierra Medical Clinic is today.
It is with a strong conviction, yet mixed emotions that I write this letter to inform you that Bette Jo and I have made the decision to begin our official retirement next year as of June 30, 2013.
This decision, though difficult to make, will allow us the flexibility to fulfill some our other interests, travel to our family more regularly, and work occasionally to cover Clinic staffing needs. I assure you that we have no plans of leaving our beloved community, and we plan to remain involved in the community and WSMC for several more years in some capacity.
It has been a privilege and honor to have been part of the fabric of this community and Sierra County. I venture to say that we have had well over 100,000 patient encounters since we began. Most memorable are those that allowed us to be part of your significant life events: childbirth, overcoming devastating diseases, and of course the loss of those most dear to us. We are intrinsically tied to all of you through these shared experiences.
When we arrived in Downieville on June 19, 1976, we didn’t quite know what to expect. As somewhat naive young adults who were used to the institutional supports of a larger community and its resources, we found ourselves in a community where we needed to develop whatever resources we could find. We were not physicians, but nurses who had been trained to provide primary medical care in a rural area and to meet the everyday, ongoing, and urgent medical care needs of a community.
With the help of so many of you – and a truly incredible staff – we have created a vibrant and integrated primary care medical care system that is highly regarded by other physicians and healthcare workers.
We have the utmost confidence in the current Board of Directors, CEO Scott McFarland and Chief Medical Officer Frank Lang, Jr, MD. They are actively seeking the resources that are necessary to continue the legacy of high quality medical care to this area.
In the coming months, I look forward to facilitating the recruitment of new health care providers that will sustain and nurture our medical program. Bette Jo and I will be here to help with the transition for our health care team.
In a reference to Thomas Jefferson: “There is a fullness of time when men should go, and not occupy too long the ground which others have the right to advance.”
Our legacy is not just an institution that will continue to provide quality medical care to this community, but also the life events, personal relationships and memories that created the institution in the first place. Thank you for being such an important part of our lives.
Sincerely,  Frank and Bette Jo Lang

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