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Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay.

Four seats are open on the Bay Area Health District Board of Directors, which oversees Bay Area Hospital. Three races are contested, and profiles of the candidates are below, in their own words.

Seat sought:  Bay Area Health District Seat 3

Name:  Linet Samson

Age:  48

Years in area:  21

Occupation:  Business Consultant and Financial Advisor

Past political/civic experience: Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors: 2017-2019; BAH Board of Directors: 2020 – present

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

In serving the district, it is important to me that I can use my skill set to add value.  The hospital is a very complex organization. My background is as a business consultant.  I help clients in the areas of risk management, workflow efficiency, financial planning, and simplifying the complex.  That skill set typically allows me to disseminate information succinctly to provide focus and move people and projects towards action.  I hope I can serve our community through working with the district as it continues to grow and expand. 

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

At the center of the hospital’s strategic foundation are the words, “Put Patients First”.  Working with clients who have suffered catastrophic medical events, I have seen first-hand what can happen when medical care is difficult to navigate and/or unavailable close to home. Although, access to healthcare in both primary care and specialty areas are crucial to this remote area, recruiting and retaining talented providers is challenging.

How would you address those issues?

The continued efforts in the areas of recruitment, retention and housing for health care providers needs to be kept a priority.  My hope is to use my expertise to ensure our local hospital district serves those who need care while continuing the sound financial stewardship that came before us to allow the hospital to operate and serve the citizens of this community.  

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I have lived in Coos County for over twenty years, raised kids here, and have parents moving to the area to retire here.  I want what is best for our local health district and have a unique background that gives me a broad perspective of the healthcare industry.

Seat Sought: Bay Area Health District Seat 3

Name:  Carma Erickson-Hurt, DNP, RN

Age: 54

Years in the area: 14

Occupation: U.S. Navy Nurse Corps (retired), Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Registered Nurse (RN), online nurse educator/faculty and consultant

Past political/civic experience: 20 year military veteran, volunteer and team leader on numerous humanitarian/disaster and education efforts in the U.S. and internationally (i.e.; Africa, China, Russia, Philippines, Haiti, Indonesia, Vietnam)

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I really want to be a voice for the people of this community who are experiencing our health care system. Ensuring that our health care dollars are spent wisely and that the results of our efforts are shared with the community is something I would focus on. Most importantly, I want to help find solutions to barriers impacting access to health care. Many people I have talked to did not know this board existed or did not know what the board does, so increasing awareness of this board and its activities is something I would do.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

Access to care is a priority issue. My husband grew up in North Bend, and when we returned to the area after retiring from the military we faced the reality of not being able to find a health care provider who was taking new patients.  The truth is, if a patient cannot get into see a provider when they need one, their health will be negatively impacted. The 2015-2020 Coos County Health Improvement plan targeted access to care, chronic disease, mental health and maternal/child health and I believe there have been improvements, but these are still priority areas to address.  

How would you address those issues?  

We need more providers. Recruiting and retaining quality health care professionals can begin with looking at other rural communities across the country similar to ours to find best practices.  One approach to consider is supporting and encouraging higher education for the health care professionals currently working in our community. Investing in our own makes sense, as who better to support than those who would stay here upon completion of their education? Chronic disease management is multifaceted, but community education in various formats is key. A discussion with the mental health professionals would be a starting point to build a program.

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I am a nurse, and advocating for others is what nurses do. I am very good at advocating for patients at the bedside and for my students, but I would like the opportunity to advocate and serve on a much broader scale, for our community. My knowledge and over 35 years of diverse health care experience will bring a fresh perspective to the board. I know how to research best practices, evaluate health care related data and use this evidence to guide health care decisions and I hope to use these skills to serve my community. Thank you...

 

Seat Sought: Bay Area Health District seat 4

Name: Angila Petris

Age: 39

Years in the area: 4

Occupation: Mom & Financial Professional

Past political/civic experience: Board Member and Treasurer for CASA of Clackamas County. Vice President of The Kruse Way Rotary Club. 

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I’m running for the Board to bring my years of managerial and financial experience, as well as my personal life-saving experience at Bay Area Hospital, to create a thriving community of service and support. I will work to ensure Bay Area Hospital is for the community, by the community, and keeps providing the high level of care that made such a difference for my family. I also want to make sure staff members have all the tools and resources needed to serve patients so they can provide the best quality experience for those like myself who rely on their care.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

The impact of COVID-19 will create increased health demands and the Hospital must be prepared to meet this moment, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community. That will require leaders who can ask the right questions and determine how we can make dollars stretch as far as possible. I will use my financial experience to help guide the work of the hospital and clarify how we can best meet the increased needs of our community. Equally important, I will be able to assess how we can make choices that will support the long term health of our community.

How would you address those issues?

Our Hospital works best when it is responsive to the needs of the community. It is important that we maintain an active conversation with the community at large and our employees to build collaboration. I will be actively soliciting feedback and input from the community – inviting opportunities to learn how we can be doing better. I am also interested in what we can do to make our board meetings more accessible to the public. Unlike most hospitals in Oregon, Bay Area Hospital is a public hospital intended to truly serve our local community; our leadership should reflect that. 

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I am a financial expert, mom, and an advocate for community-focused health care. I served as Vice President of Pacific West Bank, as an accountant at a local CPA firm, and recently as Director of Finance for the South Coast Education Service District. With my experience in finance and business, I’m coming equipped with a skillset that will contribute to the success of our hospital and our ability to increase community health. I also have a personal connection to the hospital, as the staff was critical to saving my life and my son’s life during a high-risk pregnancy. 

 

Seat Sought: Bay Area Health District seat 4

Name: Barbara N. Taylor

Age: 68

Years in the area: 45

Occupation: Retired CPA

Past political/civic experience: BAH board member since 2011, BAH Finance Member since 2004, current Treasurer of BAH.  Board member and Treasurer of Friends of Shore Acres. Former board member of Coos History Museum. Former volunteer for AARP Tax Aides.

 

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

I will continue to use my skills and experience to provide good governance for the District. As a board member and Treasurer, I chair the BAH Finance committee that reviews all major components of the financial decisions facing BAH, including budget oversight, monthly review of financial reports, review of business plans for new services or projects, annual financial audit review and oversight of BAH retirement plans’ investment performance.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

BAH is facing several challenges including issues related to COVID-19, implementing a new Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, and an ongoing need to recruit and retain healthcare providers.

 

How would you address those issues?

The financial impact of COVID has been somewhat mitigated by federal funding but requires the Board, Administration and Medical Staff working together to provide safe and effective care.   The implementation of the new EHR system is in progress and I have been attending the Epic Executive Adoption Committee meetings each week. Recruitment/retention of healthcare providers to our district is vital and BAH partners with local clinics to provide an attractive environment for providers.  Examples include the expansion of the hospitalist program, maintaining up-to-date medical equipment and facilities, and supporting local healthcare education opportunities through the local community college.

 

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I find serving on the Board and Finance Committee to be very rewarding, and it allows me to use my experience as a former partner in a local CPA firm in giving back to my community.  The BAH Board is the governing body for the health district and we have a fiduciary responsibility to see that the BAH remains financially sound while providing safe and effective medical care to the District’s citizens.  With your support, I look forward to continue serving this vital asset to our community.

 

Seat Sought: Bay Area Health District seat 5 

 

Name: Cody Borgogno  

Age: 32  

Years in the area: 27 

Occupation: Electrician  

Past political/civic experience: Student Body President of Marshfield High School, Active member of IBEW Local Union 932 

 

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?  

On the Bay Area Hospital Board, I will prioritize improving community health and access to health care so more Coos families can thrive, increasing support and resources for the hardworking frontline workers at the Hospital, and strengthening the connection between our Hospital and the people and community it serves. We depend on the frontline workers at Bay Area Hospital to care for us and keep us safe – I’m running to make sure the people that make the hospital run are valued and respected, and that community members come first. 

 

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?  

We need to focus on ensuring that we are helping the community recover from COVID-19, preventing the continued spread and addressing the health impacts from the pandemic. We also need to focus on fair compensation for all workers, not too much for executives and not too little for frontline workers. I’d like to see more outreach by the Hospital to seek community input about how we can prioritize services and would use my position on the board to identify how we can do that better. 

  

How would you address those issues? 

I would like to see us explore more listening sessions, particularly for parts of the community that may not seek us out to provide feedback. We should also do more to make board meetings more available to the public, adding recordings and up to date minutes to the hospital’s website and making the broadcast of the meetings available without people needing to sign up first. I’d also like to see how we can better build relationships with groups in the community to help us get the word out about the work of the Hospital. 

 

Why should voters trust you with their vote? 

I’ve lived in Coos Bay my whole life, and now I’m raising my three boys here because I love this community. I grew up doing homework at Bay Area Hospital after school while my mom worked in the emergency room; I saw firsthand how the success of the hospital depends on the people it employs to care for patients and serve the community. I will fight to make sure the hospital serves working families like mine and yours, and that we come first to the hospital – because a public hospital is supposed to be community-focused.  

 

Seat sought:  Bay Area Health District Seat 5

Name: Donna Rabin

Age: 70

Years in area: 40

Occupation: Retired Pediatrician

Past political/civic experience: Bay Area Enterprise Board of Directors, 2010 – 2019, chair 2012 - 2019; Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, 2007 – 2015, chair 2014 – 2015; Pediatrician, NBMC:  1981 – 2010; BAH Board of Directors, 2011 – present; chair 2017 - 2019

What do you hope to accomplish if elected?

The 2020 BAH strategic plan is focused on patient safety and quality of care, increasing accessibility to health care, and developing community partnerships to improve the health of the community. The plan also lays out operating metrics to continue the financial stability necessary for success of the plan. As a board member I hope to continue to work to provide oversight and support to ensure that the hospital stays focused on the plan and continues to put patients first.

What do you feel are the most important issues you’ll be asked to face if elected?

Our community has a high prevalence of serious health conditions such as diabetes, cancer, depression,  and chronic heart and kidney disease. Access to primary care and care in many specialty areas is difficult, and the health system is hard to navigate. Recruitment and retention of providers across all areas is challenging due to geographic location and perceived lack of amenities and opportunity. It is important that everyone in our community has access to great healthcare. Making that a reality is a big challenge in today’s economy.

How would you address those issues?

Recruitment and retention of all health providers directly impacts access to care. Joint recruiting efforts between the hospital and other community groups can increase our success rate. Our relationship with SOCC helps supply nurses; we need to continue to work with the college. The hospitalist program at BAH makes it possible for community providers to focus on outpatient care. Continued development of this program has the potential to increase capacity and improve access. And most important, we need to make sure that our hospital provides safe, high quality care and a positive working environment.  

Why should voters trust you with their vote?

I have been in healthcare my whole life.  I took care of infants, toddlers, and young people for 29 years at NBMC as a pediatrician. I learned that helping people stay healthy is as important as caring for them when they are sick. After serving on the health district board for 10 years I also have a better understanding of the incredible complexity of the healthcare system. I would like the opportunity to continue to use my experience to support the mission of BAH: improving the health of our community every day.

Reporter Zack Demars can be reached at worldnews3@countrymedia.net.

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