“The need for a healthcare district board of directors has come and gone.” – Supervisor Federal Glover
By Daniel Borsuk
The little heard of governmental entity dubbed the Contra Costa Local Agency Formational Commission (CCLAFCo) will consider either at its February or April 2018 meeting a resolution unanimously passed by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to dissolve the financially troubled Los Medanos Community Healthcare District (LMCHD).
Established in 1963 by the state legislature to sort out local governmental agency boundary issues and other inter-county government problems, every county in the state has a local agency formation commission. The CCLAFCo consists of seven voting members, with two members representing the board of supervisors, two members representing city councils, two representing special district boards and one public member.
In this instance, Board of Supervisors Chair Federal Glover, who represents Pittsburg and Bay Point which are the two communities served by LMCHD, and District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen have already voted to dissolve the LMCHD and both serve on the CCLAFCo board and will have a second opportunity to vote on the issue when it comes before the commission. District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood also serves as an alternate to the CCLAFCo only when either Glover or Andersen cannot attend a meeting.
On its face there seems to be a potential conflict of interest or perhaps not.
CCLAFCo Executive Administrator Lou Anne Texeira told the Herald that when this item comes up, the two supervisors can vote on the issue and will not have to recuse themselves as long as they have no financial stake in their action.
“There is no law or rule that bars them from voting on the matter again,” Texeira said. “They do have the option to recuse themselves when the matter comes up for a vote if they so choose to do so.”
“All of this will be considered before LAFCo,” said Glover before the supervisors’ vote. “The need for a healthcare district board of directors has come and gone. I accept the staff’s recommendation.”
At Tuesday’s supervisors meeting, the decision to approve the County Administrator’s Office recommendation took less than 20 minutes.
LMCHD Executive Director Godfrey L. Wilson admitted he was caught off guard that the board of supervisors were considering dissolving the financially struggling healthcare district in this manner by placing the issue on the board’s agenda.
Recent financial data indicates the healthcare district that serves Pittsburg and Bay Point is not perking along well. The district had healthcare grant programs, which are the district’s core operation of $268,569 or 25 percent of total revenues of $1,060,330. At the same time, district financial records show general administration costs, including board member stipends represented 33 percent of the district’s expenses or $345,383.
When asked what way CCLAFCo may vote when the issues come before that panel next year, LMCHD Executive Director Wilson responded in an unoptimistic manner, “I think some people have already made up their minds on that issue.”
The county health department that has operated the Pittsburg Health Clinic at the 130,000-square foot building at 2311 Loveridge Road since 1998 will continue to operate the health clinic that is the most successful clinic in the county treating more than 100,000 patients a year.
The county has paid $100,000 a year in rent to the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development for use of the Loveridge Road property. In addition, the county has paid the state $24 million for capital improvements to the building on Loveridge Road.
The county-run Pittsburg Health Center accounts for 65 percent of all clinic visits in East Contra Costa County. The clinic provides primary adult care as well as pediatrics care, audiology, orthopedics, podiatry, and dental care services.