BVCHD's CFO and acting CEO Rudy Shutta

Big Bear Lake, CA — The five-member board for the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District—President Dr. Chris Fagan, Brad Summers, Ron Peavy, Kathy Bauch and Dr. Michael Hartstein–convened at 7am yesterday morning (May 3), to address two issues, and one closed session item, in a special meeting at the hospital. Acting CEO Rudy Shutta says the early-morning start time was to accommodate schedules of the Board of Directors but, still, there was a small turnout of public attendees. Though no action was taken during closed session, progress was made on two subsequent open session agenda items. “It was a short agenda,” Shutta notes, “principally for two items. Item number one was the Search Committee for a new CEO. Ron Peavy and Michael Hartstein are on that committee, and we elected to move forward by having a CEO Search Committee meeting on Monday the 10th at 6:30am, and it’s going to be a working session. Basically, we’re going to be coming up with an action plan for the search for a new CEO. The Board and the community have expressed that they would like a CEO with rural healthcare experience, because running a rural hospital is totally different than an urban hospital as we are in a medically underserved area, which means different rules.”
As for the second item, two rural hospitals, our Bear Valley Community Hospital and Mountains Community Hospital in Lake Arrowhead, which falls within the San Bernardino Mountains Community Hospital District, have been addressed by San Bernardino County’s LAFCO, or Local Agency Formation Commission, of late; specifically, LAFCO is investigating the sphere of influence, as they do for districts in their territory. As Shutta explains, “Every five years, LAFCO looks at the sphere of influence of certain districts, and their question to us was why do we have two entities serving the mountaintop region? The position I took and recommended to the Board, which they accepted, is that we are not a mountain region, we are two separate mountain communities.” This, and other points, will be submitted to LAFCO in a letter this week, outlining the need for two separate healthcare districts. “We’re separated by 27 miles of extreme mountainous terrain,” Shutta says, “so the bottom line is the challenge of governing these two areas would be a difficult task. Our property tax is $45 a parcel, theirs in Lake Arrowhead is $80 per parcel, so how do you dovetail that in? When you get these politics and different communities involved, it becomes a struggle. And their position, too, in Lake Arrowhead, is that we need to have different boards and districts. Both CEOs from each hospital had their own conclusions in response to LAFCO, but each was similar.”