PDH is one step closer to U.C. Davis affiliation

To be deemed a Rural Center of Excellence by U.C. Davis is an accomplishment and Plumas District Hospital is one step closer to that distinction.

Representatives from U.C. Davis made a site visit to the Quincy hospital Friday, Sept. 28, meeting with staff, board members, community partners and touring the campus.

If the status is awarded, it will be the result of a four-year effort by Dr. Jeff Kepple, who made that one of his goals when he became CEO of Plumas District Hospital in April of 2014. He has announced his intention to leave the position Oct. 23 to spend more time with his family and pursue other opportunities in the medical field.

It looks like his wish will be realized. “You’ve convinced me,” said Dr. Suzanne Edison-Ton, director of the U.C. Davis program, near the end of the Sept. 28 visit.

She said the next and final step is to take her recommendation to the full committee that will make the ultimate decision. But she’s optimistic. “I think it’s definitely going to happen,” she said. “I hope to get the meeting scheduled soon; hopefully before Jeff retires,” she added.

The relationship benefits both U.C. Davis and Plumas District. The U.C. Davis Rural-PRIME program focuses on preparing future physicians to practice medicine in rural communities. Local doctors have already mentored a number of U.C. Davis medical students in the hospital and the clinics.

Going forward that relationship would continue, as well as opportunities for the two entities to collaborate on research projects and in other areas.

Once the designation is achieved the hospital will submit an annual report to maintain its status.

In discussing the benefits to the hospital, Dr. Kepple said that a sign would go out front designating PDH as a U.C. Davis Center of Excellence and on its literature and stationery. “It raises the bar,” he said. “It helps with recruitment and perhaps other resources.”

“It definitely strengthens the relationship,” Dr. Edison-Ton said.

Following the site visit, Kepple sent an email out to his staff proclaiming this was a “fantastic day.” He noted that the success wasn’t due to the presentations made during the visit, “but because of a lot of hard work over many years to pursue excellence. It was all quite evident.”

During the visit, Dr. Edison-Ton and her associate, Amy Jouan, heard presentations from Dr. Mark Satterfield about PDH’s history; Dr. Jeff Kepple on the past four years and the inaugural wilderness conference; Dr. Mark Lindsay about the Allevant Transitional Care program; Lisette Brown on telemedicine; Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff about the agency’s collaborative efforts with PDH; and Matt Brown and Sam Blesse about Care Flight’s unique relationship with the hospital. The visit included a round table lunch with the healthcare providers discussing their experiences with the program.