The Fallbrook Regional Health District (FRHD) board of directors held a town hall meeting April 12 to allow the greater Fallbrook community to discuss possible options for the old hospital building.
“We have made several changes in the district,” said board president Gordon Tinker. “We hired a new executive director, who has brought enthusiasm and experience; we have revised our mission statement; changed our name; hired a company to collect data to see the disparity in the community; and we are trying to look at the medical needs of the community with the help of a citizen’s advisory committee.”
Executive director Bobbi Palmer explained that transforming the healthcare district has taken time.
“In the state of California, it’s no longer sustainable to have a hospital,” said Palmer. “Fallbrook benefited from having its own hospital. Now we need to look at the future. We are now focused on preventable care, which is less costly.
“We are taking steps to create a new future in our community,” continued Palmer. “We need to find the tools and listen to the community.”
Fallbrook residents made suggestions about what they would like to see offered at the old hospital facility.
Sandra Buckingham believes the site could be a place for wellness nonprofits to use as a hub for the community. Miriam Padilla, who works with a youth advocacy group, and Vi Dupre, the former executive director of the Healthcare District, would like to see the mental health community represented there as well.
Others discussed the need for wellness programs for seniors, specifically cardiac rehabilitation.
“I used the cardiac rehab center from 2006 until it closed,” said John Watson of the Senior Wellness Program. “We need a collaboration of nonprofits, and we need a cardiac facility restored.”
The fact that the Fallbrook Hospital brought with it 400 jobs was also mentioned, as well as the hope that whatever business that entered into the area would bring more jobs back into the community as well.
Once all community members expressed their recommendations to the board, Tinker stated that another town hall meeting, with possible answers, will be held at the May healthcare district meeting.