Cheri Van Hoover of District 2 has decided to run for the seat of Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner Position 1. Cheri will be running against long time Hospital Commissioner Tony DeLeo.
Cheri brings a wealth of real world medical experience to the position. She has been a working mid-wife for over 30 years, including a teacher of midwifery in the area. As a person who’s son was born with assistance from a midwife, I can attest to the value these women bring to the medical practice. Cheri has also been a counselor in a community-based mental health crisis intervention residence and an educator & health policy professor, nationally recognized for instructing medical, nursing, and midwifery students.
Her professional leadership includes midwife practice administration, along with having been the chair of national committees for the American College of Nurse-Midwives and chair of the Ethics Task Force for Northern California Kaiser Nurse-Midwives Peer Group.
She has also run small businesses in the county, having been an owner of several small businesses spanning 40 years. Currently she owns the Great Blue Heron’s Nest B&B, Port Hadlock.
Her community experience includes work with the Tri-Area Garden Club (past president) & Master Gardener Foundation of Jefferson County (past board member), work with salmon habitat restoration groups, volunteering with the Friends of the Jefferson County Library and the Olycap Community Thrift Store along with efforts to support the Jamestown/Sequim Drug-Free Community Coalition.
While Mr. Deleo has given a lot to the community over the years, in attending hospital commission meetings I can say that he seems out of step with the current issues facing the Commissioners. His focus on keeping the commissioners out of any areas of controversy, such as throwing their support behind single payer efforts, seems at odds with the community demands. While newer members of the Board such as Kees Kolff work to promote better community healthcare access,especially for lower income patients and have fought for more transparency to collections, along with challenging the hospital on issues such as major changes to the INR lab, Mr. Deleo has been reluctant to support these efforts. His point of view publicly appears to be that the only role of the Commissioners is to either hire or fire Mr. Glenn (the JCH CEO), and do the bare minimum needed to satisfy the requirements of the position. While we expect that the bare minimum is always achieved, it seems we need more in this era.
The challenges that this county’s hospital is going to face in the coming years under the current President and his Congress mean we need a commissioner that is going to fight for the patients and the hospital. This may mean challenging bureaucratic dogma (which is not unique to this hospital) as well as fighting hard at state and federal levels to maintain current funding and find better ways to provide healthcare for all our citizens.
That effort needs new blood, but not just a new face, someone who understands the concerns of the medical community along with the concerns of the hospital. Every medical professional I have talked to in the last number of years have had nothing positive to say about the world we are creating of healthcare in America. We are far behind all other industrialized countries in our indices of health. Congressional meddling in our healthcare has created a system where the government doesn’t even attempt to negotiate drug prices for the spending of our tax dollars. The electronic record system is incredibly problematic for practitioners and we are moving farther and farther away from private practitioners to a system of huge regional health hubs that treat patients more and more like a number, and creating a system that has no way of properly understanding the prices you will be charged for your work. There are very few examples of corporations who treat their customers like this. For good reason.
Jefferson County Healthcare under Mr. Glenn is doing very good work overall given their resources. However there are a number of areas that could be improved, and there are independent watchdog groups that are working to prod the hospital in ways that they feel can make it more customer oriented. Cheri Van Hoover is someone who supports these efforts and will work with us to help oversee the healthcare system here, which is also one of the jobs of the Hospital Commissioners.
For those reasons, I support Cheri Van Hoover and urge Mr. DeLeo to stand down and retire from the Board, allowing Cheri to run unopposed for this position. We thank him for his decades of support, but feel it’s time for a new approach.
You can learn more about Cheri at the following link, and donate to her campaign.