Vicki F. Grove is a candidate for Zone 2 of the Palomar Health hospital board. Zone 2 includes some parts of Escondido. Note: In the original version of this article we stated that it included most of Escondido. That was incorrect.
A resident of North County for 20 years and of Escondido for five years, Grove is a licensed marriage and family therapy counselor with clients all over North County. She has a biology degree from UC Davis and an MA degree in counseling. Before she opened her practice, Grove did work with at-risk youths, survivors of human trafficking and with bereaved families at Elizabeth Hospice.
“As a marriage and family therapist who specializes in trauma, I have been hearing a lot about trauma in recent months and how it has really taken a toll,” said Grove. “I’ve also been hearing from my husband who is a surgeon. I decided it was time to step up and advocate for my patients and others.”
She has watched the hospital board meetings remotely, “and they are frankly quite embarrassing,” she said. “That’s another reason why I’m running. The directors act like a feuding married couple. I’d like to help them work together in the spirit of collaboration instead of hostility. I think they could use a marriage and family therapist.”
She added, “They argue about just about everything. There is little they don’t argue about. They are not a unified board by any means.”
The issues she wants to focus on are “access to safe quality health care for all residents of the district, not just COVID patients. Also maintaining the safety and wellness of our healthcare workers—not just their physical wellness but their morale. The big one is supporting the expansion of mental health services as we recover.”
There is “so much fear” out there added onto other worries people have related to COVID, she said. “This all has to be done while keeping the district financially viable,” she said.
The district’s financial well-being is also a big issue, one that she feels is not being addressed adequately by the board. “It’s a complicated question and takes a lot of critical thinking and thoughtful collaboration because there are so many factors to be accounted for,” she said. “It’s a difficult job because some things clearly need to be cut for other things to happen.”
Cutting the CEO’s and some executives’ salaries have been discussed. “I’m not sure if I would be in favor of that but I am open to it,” she said. “The CEOs make a lot of money and that’s a big cost for the district. I’m a therapist, it’s part or my job to look at things critically and not make kneejerk decisions. That’s something I think is important and it requires the emotional intelligence I bring to the board.”
In reaching out to voters, Grove has found that “their concern is to expand mental health and I’m happy the district is already answering that call. It would be irresponsible not to elect a mental health professional to the board. I’ve made a career of serving my community. My calm critical thinking and ability to build relationships is imperative right now. If you don’t want four more years of a non-unified board, then vote for me.”
The Palomar Hospital District has severe financial issues and the community may soon see their tax bills go up to fill in the opening gaps. The board is led by Dr. Engel who has severe conflicts of interest along with “private partners”and is personally benefiting from his position.
The huge increases for the CEO’s compensation are not justified and inappropriate given the sinking fortunes of the District. Recordings of meetings are immediately erased to eliminate [embarrassing?] records. A majority of the Board can invent reasons to throw off dissident Board members who foresee the problems when the net worth of the district has shrink by 20% for two years in a row. Fiscally sensitive board members led by Kumara and Clark are questioning the bad financial status and a bare majority led by Engel and Greer vote to reward bad policies and finance.
Getting these factions together is folly. This feud is on hard drawn lines – survival of the District or turning it over to insiders. You should cover Kumara’s campaign as well for balance.
This letter from the CEO and hospital quality officers should also be considered:
In a recent social media post, it was stated that “According to National Data on AHD.com, Palomar Health is in the bottom 3rd percentile in the nation of the government’s value-based quality program.” We take our quality performance very seriously and want to provide some context and clarity to the statement.
The Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program is administered by CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services), who does not publish percentile rankings of the participating hospitals; therefore the reported ranking is one AHD.com has determined using their own calculations. When we sent an inquiry to AHD.com asking how their organization determines National Percentile rankings, given that this information is not provided to the public by the source (CMS), they replied that ”The field for ‘National Percentile’ listed on the Quality tab is based on an internal methodology report that calculates a percentile ranking based on all total performance scores for all hospitals nationwide.”
The post appears to imply that the 3rd percentile performance is reflective of “Palomar Health.” In actuality, the performance referenced in the post reflects only Palomar Medical Center Escondido’s performance in one quality rating program (Value-Based Purchasing) for one measurement period. The post fails to mention that the very same website lists Palomar Medical Center Poway as having achieved 46th percentile national ranking in the FY20 VBP Program or that Palomar Medical Center Poway demonstrated improvement in its score between FY18 and FY20.
It’s important to note that the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program data looks at data from years prior. The FY20 VBP Program results reflects how hospitals performed in four areas between 2015 and 2018, not how they performed in FY20. This year, Palomar Medical Center Escondido received the top 250 Best Hospital and Best Regional Hospital badges from Healthgrades and US News and World Report respectively, and Palomar Medical Center Poway received a Leapfrog “A” rating.
We are proud of the work we have done to improve our performance at Palomar Health and continually seek to improve the quality and value of care we deliver to the communities we serve.
With all due respect, who are you, and how do you know about the “severe financial issues” of the district? What is your source of information?