Board calls on Hall again If anyone can steer the mental health department, she can

Feather Publishing

The Plumas County Board of Supervisors has tapped Public Health Director Mimi Hall to oversee the mental health department for three months, while an outside consultant reviews and makes recommendations for restructuring the department. Specifically, the consultant will consider whether the county would be better served with a behavioral health department, a model adopted by a majority of the state’s counties.

We can’t think of a better person to steer a department that has struggled in the past couple of years. Hall has shown an ability to manage all facets of her own department, from personnel to fiscal management to community outreach. Her skills were most recently demonstrated when she stepped in to assist Plumas District Hospital’s effort to take over the skilled nursing home. She worked behind the scenes with the hospital leadership, the nursing home’s management company and various state agencies to make the takeover a viable option. Ultimately, the hospital didn’t qualify, but it wasn’t for her lack of success in the work she did and the relationships she cultivated.

While Hall oversees mental health, she will be coordinating with the Kemper Consulting Group (if the supervisors ratified the contract during yesterday’s board meeting as expected).

The contract calls for Kemper to be paid up to $250,000 — a hefty amount — and we can’t help but wonder who negotiated the terms. A quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money to pay for advice. The situation is similar to the sheriff’s agreement to pay a consultant $229,000 to prepare a grant application for jail funding. Who negotiated that agreement? This is clearly an area where a county administrative officer could have been a valuable asset.

The supervisors have recognized that Hall is an asset to this county; maybe someday they will acknowledge that a CAO would be one as well.

Local hospitals and clinics need our support
We encourage our readers to take a look at the From Where I Stand column written by Dr. Jeff Kepple in this weeks paper. Kepple is the chief executive officer of Plumas District Hospital and he addresses the financial challenges facing the facility. Some are self-inflicted — including a flawed billing system — but others are external, such as paltry reimbursement rates that don’t cover services. He articulates well his personal and professional struggle to maintain the hospital’s viability, as he has watched similar-sized, rural institutions wave the white flag.

The county’s other two hospitals — Seneca and Eastern Plumas — may not have the same billing problems, but they do face sagging reimbursement rates from government and private entities. We can all do our part to ensure that our invaluable health care facilities continue to exist by utilizing the services offered whenever possible. And if there are reasons why we aren’t, taking the time to alert health care leaders of those reasons. It was a well-written, fact-laden letter from concerned patients that caught Dr. Kepple’s attention and prompted him to delve even deeper into some of the issues facing the hospital. His reaction is worth a read.

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Congress and the president need to consult — and not just on Iran

Where I Stand - Lee H. Hamilton
Center on Congress at Indiana University

Congress has developed a fondness for open letters when it comes to Iran. First came the warning shot signed by 47 Republican senators that touched off a storm of criticism. Not to be outdone, the House checked in with its own bipartisan and more diplomatically stated letter to the president, warning that its members must be satisfied with any agreement before they’ll vote to reduce sanctions.

What lies behind these moves? I think Congress feels left out of foreign policy-making. I have considerable sympathy for this impulse. Over the decades, too much power has drifted to the president when it comes to foreign affairs. Congress has been deferential, even timid, in allowing this to happen. Add a comment

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Four dreaded words: ‘In the event of …’

James Wilson - My TUrn

  “James, I just want you to know that I sent you and your brothers a letter, letting you know about a new life insurance policy I got,” my mom told me.

  My wife, baby daughter and I had just finished dinner over at my folks’ house a few weeks back when my mom decided to bring the not-so-sweet topic up over dessert.
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Welcome home Vietnam veterans

Feather Publishing

The Vietnam War fiercely divided America and left many scars, especially on the men and women who answered when their country called. Many of those veterans report they were treated badly by antiwar critics when they returned from Southeast Asia and many still feel forgotten and unappreciated today.

Certainly we cannot change the events of the past or undo the unfortunate treatment many veterans suffered upon their return, but we can and should make today to those brave men and women who fought in Vietnam — those who enlisted and those who were drafted — by celebrating Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day on March 30.
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Here is a media conspiracy that’s good for you

Guest Editorial
Feather Publishing

Each spring for 10 years now, a vast media conspiracy has rolled across the hills and plains of this nation. Journalists of every stripe — cartoonists to commentators to hard news reporters — have been in on it. And not just journalists, but politicians, educators and librarians, as well as members of nonprofits and civic groups.

What’s the conspiracy? It’s called Sunshine Week, and it is built around the birthday of James Madison, the father of the Bill of Rights. This year, the week is March 15 – 21.

The agenda: to brazenly promote your right to know. Open government, we argue, only works when public information flows freely. As Madison himself explained nearly two centuries ago: “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.”

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