Press "Enter" to skip to content

Public meetings to address EKHCD and RRH annexation

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH)–

The East Kern Health Care District (EKHCD) has scheduled a series of virtual and in-person meetings, in the communities of Ridgecrest and California City, to allow residents and property owners to discuss their questions about a proposal to annex Ridgecrest into the existing EKHCD.

Zoom meetings are scheduled for Friday, April 5, at 3 p.m. and Saturday, April 6, at 10 a.m. (Dial-in numbers to be announced). In-person meetings will be held in Ridgecrest on Thursday, April 11, at 5 p.m. in the SpringHill Suites Maturango Room and Friday, April 12, location to be determined in California City.

The public information meetings are a part of an ongoing public-engagement process, which was preceded by interviews with key stakeholders in both Ridgecrest and California City. Members of the EKHCD and RRH will be on hand to answer questions relating to the annexation and ensuing implications.

RRH Executive Board Chair Chris Ellis and EKHCD filed a joint statement in December about the effort to explore inclusion of the IWV community into the district — which would qualify RRH for new government funding streams.

Like other rural communities across the nation, RRH has been facing serious obstacles to healthcare access and sustainability, which became more severe during the pandemic. RRH entered into the COVID-related challenges with an un-reimbursed debt from earthquake damages.

RRH leadership noted that if the local hospital had been part of a district, we could have qualified for government reimbursements for earthquake damages. Joining the existing EKHCD will make RRH eligible for additional revenues, without having to endure the years-long process of forming a new district.