Sierra Vista Hospital’s (SVH) Joint Powers Commission (JPC) gathered for a regular meeting Thursday, January 9, and joined in an unanimous vote of support for proposed state legislation, which could effect creation of a special hospital district for Sierra County.
The proposed special district body would be composed of five elected officials, and would essentially assume responsibilities both the JPC and SVH governing board have been overseeing since local municipalities joined in ownership of the hospital.
With support from all Sierra County’s municipal bodies comprising the JPC, the approved resolution will now be forwarded to state senator John Arthur Smith and state representative Rebecca Dow, who have both previously expressed support for the creation of a special hospital district. While acknowledging considerable preparations would be necessary, board members were told Smith and Dow would be taking steps to introduce legislation during the upcoming session. The joint support expressed by SHV’s municipal owners, plus a reported eagerness of Department of Finance Authority officials to assist the JPC and hospital administration through such a transition, were viewed as being positive steps toward gaining legislative approval of the proposal.
Should such legislation be approved and then duly endorsed by the governor, board members were told there would be sufficient time to include an election for hospital district members on the November 2020 ballot. This would in turn allow for a transition of hospital oversight in 2021. While SVH’s leaders would like to see legislative action approved this year, JPC members recognized many hurdles must still be crossed. Before adjourning Thursday’s regular meeting, members agreed the approved resolution represented a firm step toward such a move, even if legislation to form a special district does not gain the support needed during this year’s session.