Public hearings set on hospital services situation – Aug. 25 and Sept. 16

Two public hearings have been scheduled by Fallbrook Healthcare District (FHD) so that residents can better understand changes that are in the works in regards to healthcare services locally, primarily related to Fallbrook Hospital.

“We are inviting all adult citizens to attend,” said Vi Dupre, FHD administrator.

The first meeting, slated for Monday, Aug. 25 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Fallbrook Library, 124 S. Mission Rd., will provide an informational overview regarding the current status of Fallbrook Hospital and what is being done to seek and secure healthcare services for the community.

“President of the FHD board Stephen Abbott will facilitate the meeting with district board members Gordon Tinker, Richard Levering, Barbara Mroz, and Lynette Shumway in attendance,” said Dupre. “Kapua Conley, CEO of the Fallbrook Hospital, will be present and will also address the attendees. There will be a question and answer opportunity following the brief presentations.”

The second public hearing will take place on Tuesday, Sept. 16, also from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fallbrook Library. This hearing will take place after the deadline has passed for other hospital organizations/medical professionals to submit proposals to operate services here (in lieu of Community Health Systems, the current for-profit company that operates Fallbrook Hospital Corporation and leases the hospital from the district).

At the Sept. 16 meeting, “A presentation will be made by the board of directors of the district as well as the engaged consultant firm,” said Dupre. “The intent of this hearing is to present an overview of the options presented in the RFPs (request for proposals) with information that will shed light on the possibilities for the future of healthcare services within the community. There will be a question and answer opportunity following the presentations, so that those in attendance may provide input to the board.” Dupre said there are now seven entities in process of developing proposals to present to the district for consideration, but the content and dimension of those is not known yet.

“These include both nonprofit and for-profit corporations, educational institutions, and other healthcare districts,” she said.

It is hoped, Dupre said, that the public turns out for the hearings.

“We want them to have the pertinent information, to state their concerns, ask questions, lend their support, and provide input to the district as it moves forward to seek and secure medical opportunity, accessibility, and stability as well as more extensive, healthcare services for the people of the Fallbrook community,” she said.

According to Dupre, the healthcare district “is diligently working to bring solution to the community concerns regarding the future of healthcare services within this community.” She reported that the current operator of Fallbrook Hospital is working in “a fully cooperative manner to provide support to those efforts.

In addition to district and legal review of all proposals, Dupre said insight will be obtained from two different community committees that have been developed.

“One consists of several local physicians, and the other is made up of local citizens from the Fallbrook community, many of whom have expertise in the health and medical field,” she said. “Members of each of these two committees will bring valuable perspective and in-put to the district in its considerations.”

If the timeline proceeds as expected, Dupre said the district’s goal is to have a decision by the first or second week of October as to “where we are going and how we are going to get there.”

When asked if the current operator of Fallbrook Hospital will continue to provide services until that time, Dupre said, “We want to keep healthcare services operational; we are working together.”

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