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How do we save the hospital and keep doctors on staff?

Letter to Editor

I  attended the public information meeting held on April 11th. It was interesting, yet it lacked any substance regarding why our hospital is in trouble. I expected a room full of concerned citizens. That was not the case. There were maybe 20 people and  I am finding out there wasn’t much in the way of communication letting the citizens know it was happening at all. I was lucky  to catch it in the paper. No other effort was made to let people know about it. No flyers, or door hangers, or anything on the local radio station. Perhaps those in charge didn’t want a bunch of angry folks showing up…who knows.

It was run by a very well dressed, well groomed man with perfect hair and a great speaking voice. Dr. Stephan Goodwin.  I wanted to take him seriously, but realized he was there to sell something. The joining of Ridgecrest hospital with another town in Kern county, that being California city, to have a larger footprint and voice. California is divided into Health Care districts, and our Kern county district needs to be larger. There are 6 other Kern county districts. but we can’t join any of those. (proximity ?)

What I found disturbing was there were no Ridgecrest Regional upper management of any kind at this meeting. There was  a nice lady named Karen Macedonio and a consultant named  Thomas  Hayes. I thought consultants cost money of which Ridgecrest has none.

Dr. Goodwin told us there were two factors draining the hospitals coffers. #1 the earthquake. No reason was given as to why. and #2 Covid.

I have recently  moved back to the area. I grew up here and little Drummond Hospital seemed to be thriving.

Yes Ridgecrest has grown quite  a bit and a larger hospital was needed.  Was too much money put into the expansion, maybe too quickly.

I moved to Ventura County in 1976. Ventura alone has two giant hospitals one private not for profit hospital Community Memorial Hospital and Ventura County hospital. Oxnard has a huge hospital, Camarillo has a large hospital and Ojai has a smaller rural hospital  attached to CMH and Santa Paula has a small rural hospital attached to the county hospital. None of them floundered during covid. Their staff worked longer than normal hours but the hospitals all survived, and are healthy  today.

How do we get and keep doctors and staff? How do we save the hospital and the healthcare Dr. Goodwin says we deserve. How is it that Ridgecrest Regional is on the brink. Who is in charge there allowing this to happen? I can’t help but wonder who’s been at the wheel all this time.

Judi Kroeger