Degrees of Remoteness

The catastrophic fires raging in the counties south of us have made me think of our ER and all our healthcare services in a new light, especially as those fires caused Highway 101 closures reminiscent of last winter’s closures near Garberville, which included not just 101 north and south, but also Highway 1, Bell Springs and other roads, cutting off ready road access to the west and east of us at the same time that air travel from our locale was also impossible due to weather. 

At times like these, all of our services are not just convenient but actually critical to the well-being of our most vulnerable populations – our elderly, our children, and all our neighbors with chronic health conditions -- along with anyone needing emergency care.

One such member of our community is Sue Quast. If you come into the Healthcare District through the Emergency Department door on a Thursday morning, maybe for a blood test or an X-ray, chances are you’ll encounter Sue and her husband Jim Quast.

Sue first became involved with the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District after Jim was hired as Principal of South Fork High School in 1989. Once their family was settled here, Sue served as our District’s radiology and mammography technician for a number of years in the early 1990s. If she provided these services to you back then, you may remember her engaging smile and quick wit.

Sue’s involvement with the District took a very different turn when she suffered a devastating stroke in 2001. She was quickly brought to our ER where she was stabilized and ultimately transferred to St. Joseph’s Hospital for emergency surgery that saved her life.

Though Sue retains her smile and her sense of humor, she has endured many additional physical maladies since her stroke and has been brought to Jerold Phelps Hospital’s Emergency Room over a dozen times, for problems ranging from a heart attack to a broken hip, as well as number of seizures and a blood clot on her lung. Some of these incidents have required stabilization and transfer to Redwood Memorial or St. Joseph’s, but many have been resolved right here, sometimes quickly and other times following observation and/or treatment in our hospital’s acute care department.

Through the years, Sue has also relied on other services provided at our District, including regular Southern Humboldt Community Clinic visits and her weekly Thursday morning appointment for physical therapy provided by Ther-A-Con.  

According to Jim, “We have always been treated well here, from the front desk to the nurses and doctors. Without the Emergency Room and the other services our Healthcare District provides, it would be very difficult for us to live here.”

For more information about how we care for the community we're privileged to serve, watch for our columns or visit our Facebook page

Written by Barb Truitt, Foundation Director, SHCHD.

SHCHD is looking for a NEW Board Member




PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that a vacancy exists on the Governing Board of Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District (“SHCHD” or “District”), a public agency, as of October 11, 2017.  Pursuant to and in accordance with the provisions of Government Code section 1780, the Governing Board intends to fill the vacancy by appointment.


Interested, qualified residents of the District are asked to submit a letter of interest and resume containing a statement of qualifications and other information which will assist the Governing Board in making a selection.  Letters, resumes, and any questions should be directed to SHCHD Board of Directors c/o Susan Gardner, 733 Cedar Street, Garberville, CA 95542, (707) 923-3921, ext. 276 or via email to  For more information, or to introduce yourself to the SHCHD Board of Directors, please attend their regular board meeting Thursday, October 26, 2017 in the Dimmick Room at Jerold Phelps Community Hospital.


Minimum qualifications for membership on the Governing Board are set forth in California Health and Safety Code section 32100, requiring that each member shall be a registered voter residing in the District, as well as Government Code section 53227, which states that an employee may not be a member of the Board unless he or she resigns.



Susan Gardner

Administrative Assistant

(707) 923-3921 x276

Fax:  (707) 923-1456

Measure W Preliminary Voting Results are Definitive

The tax to provide collateral for building a new hospital has been rejected by a shockingly wide margin. Still, the Governing Board and the staff of the District are united in our commitment to do whatever is necessary to continue providing healthcare beyond 2029, and we will redouble our efforts to obtain community support for this project.

We learned as we worked on this campaign that win, lose, or draw, we have a lot of work to do to acquaint our community with who we are, what services we provide, and how we do it. Our goal is to provide the information our friends and neighbors need to realize that this is, indeed, our community’s Healthcare District.

Toward that end, we are looking forward to a busy summer. We will be sharing stories about our employees and the work they do. We’ll host an event in our courtyard where community members can meet our providers, tour our current facility, and learn about our plans for the new hospital. We’ll be tabling weekly at the Garberville Farmers’ Market, varying both the subject focus and the individuals manning the table. 

We’ll also continue sharing information about the planning process, and about the complex regulatory environment within which we are working to accomplish our goal of building a healthcare facility that will be state of the art when it opens and that will serve our community well for the next 50 years.

And we will be asking those who share our commitment to join us in these efforts. Small rural hospitals throughout the United States and the state of California have closed when their communities failed to support them. These next few months will be critical in determining the future of our community’s healthcare.

Share your thoughts in an open discussion about Measure W

Upcoming Events

Monday, March 13th

Town Hall Meeting
5:00pm at the Redwood Playhouse
286 Sprowl Creek Rd, Garberville, CA 95542

Thursday, March 16th

Town Hall Meeting
1:30pm at the Healy Senior Center
456 Briceland Rd, Redway, CA 95560

Monday, March 27th

Town Hall Meeting
4–6:00pm at the Abalone Hall
1555 Upper Pacific Dr., Shelter Cove, CA 95589

Tuesday, March 28th

Town Hall Meeting
5–7:00pm at Stevens Hall
Schoolhouse Road, Miranda, CA

Voting on Measure W - May 2, 2017

Building a new hospital is not just an option; it's a must! Our current facility will not meet California’s seismic standards after 2029. We have already accomplished every possible seismic retrofit, and we will be forced to close our existing hospital in 2030.

Measure W, the parcel tax to enable us to build a new hospital, will be brought before the voters in a special election May 2, 2017. This is a mail-ballot-only election; no polling places will be open, and to vote, you must return your ballot to your County Elections Office in person by May 2, or by mail postmarked on or before that date.

Ballot Question for Measure W

Shall the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District renew its expiring parcel tax to continue providing local access to hospital emergency care, physician clinic services, other healthcare programs and services, including a new hospital and new or improved healthcare facilities? The renewed tax will be at a new rate of $170 per year on all qualified parcels, annually providing $1.63 million dollars per year for 45 years beginning July 1, 2018.

To learn more go to


Public Letter Regarding College of the Redwoods Instructional Site

Dear Editor,

                I’m writing on behalf of the Healthcare District (SHCHD) Board to answer some questions I’ve heard about the plans to purchase College of the Redwood’s (CR’s) instructional site on Sprowl Creek Road.  People have asked, given the School Board’s (SHUSD’s) recent decision, will we still be able to build our new hospital there. We’re confident the answer to that question is “yes”, and here’s why.

                When the SHUSD sold the property to CR several years ago, their purchase agreement contained a provision which allowed them the option of buying it back if CR chose to sell it within the first 10 years. The price they would pay was CR’s purchase price plus what CR had invested in improvements within a specified number of years, less depreciation.  

                The School Board decided not to waive their option at this time, and our belief is that the majority of the board members voted as they did not to thwart the Healthcare District’s hospital plans but to help our community make the best use of this property for our long-term health and educational needs. Regrettably, no Healthcare District representatives were at the School Board meeting to answer their questions as they decided on the best course of action, so the School Board wisely decided not to take the irrevocable step of forfeiting their repurchase rights. Our Healthcare District representatives are taking steps to share information with School Board members about this important community issue.

                Would it be prudent to wait until the cost of the property is reduced by scheduled depreciation? Has the Healthcare District offered to pay too much?

                We’ve all heard the adage “time is money”. Hospital construction is especially expensive, and those costs generally go up by about 2% per year. The cost of the new facility is estimated in the neighborhood of $45 million, so every year of delay could mean additional costs of $900,000 or more.

                Interest rates will also be a huge factor in overall costs. Right now interest rates are at a historic low, so we want to lock in an interest rate on a building loan application ASAP. This can’t happen until we’ve entered escrow on a building site. If a delay resulted in even slightly higher interest, it would raise our monthly payments by tens of thousands of dollars and our overall project cost by millions.

                 Where can the activities currently occurring at the CR site be housed in the future? The Healthcare District recognizes the importance of educational and cultural enrichment opportunities in overall community health, and we will do all we can to facilitate these activities, initially by allowing them to continue to rent space in the Sprowl Creek building, and eventually to move to our current Cedar Street location if any space there is not needed for healthcare needs. We see the Redwood Playhouse as a community treasure, both architecturally and culturally, and we are committed to maintaining it for the uses it currently serves and more.

                There are many questions still to be answered, many planning decisions to be made, and many important choices on which we will be seeking community input in the coming months and years.  All of us on the Healthcare District Board look forward to public forums and workshops beginning in early 2017 at which we can continue this conversation.

                In the meantime, we welcome your questions and wish you all happy holidays!

Barbara Truitt, President

Governing Board


Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District

Welcome back to our BELOVED Barbara Hayes, FNP

We could not be more thrilled to announce the return of our Beloved FNP, Barbara Hayes

          Barbara Hayes, FNP, Serving Patients at SHCHD

After an extensive medical leave, Barbara Hayes, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), is pleased to be back serving patients at Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District (SHCHD).

With over 40 years of experience, Barbara’s aim as a clinician is to take care of the whole person and to help all patients realize their full potential. She recently stated, “I am glad to be back to work and look forward to seeing patients I previously took care of and meeting new patients’ needs.”

Barbara Hayes has been serving patients at the Southern Humboldt Community Clinic since November 2010. She is passionate about getting to know each patient and providing the highest quality of healthcare services. Her strong connection to patients stems from careers in nursing and midwifery, “I grew up wanting to be a nurse and have always wanted to help people.” As a midwife, she became intimately involved with women and their families, making heartfelt connections: “To be at a birth is like witnessing heaven on earth, and it’s so empowering to support women.” Now as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Barbara meets the needs of patients of all ages, including those with complicated medical conditions. She believes her role is not only to be the expert but also to be a strong listener who takes the time to understand her patients. She maintains certifications in both advanced life support and pediatric advanced life support, so she is better able and prepared for all patients’ needs.

Having grown up in New Jersey, Barbara earned a nursing degree from St. Francis Medical Center, Trenton, New Jersey in 1969. She then worked from 1969-1977 as the Head Nurse of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at St. Peters Medical Center, New Brunswick, New Jersey. In 1978 she moved to Arcata, California and worked at Redwood Memorial from 1984-1995. In 1990 she became a midwife and then in 1999 Barbara got her certification as a family nurse practitioner from the University of California at Davis.

Most recently, Barbara was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She describes it as a “very scary experience”. She went through chemotherapy; however, her scans are now clear and she “feels good.” She thinks her cancer experience has helped her to relate better to patients with chronic and life threatening illnesses.

Barbara stated that she settled in rural America because she has always enjoyed a rural lifestyle that is “quieter, less harried, slower, and where there is time to enjoy one another.”  She chose Southern Humboldt because she appreciates its mild weather, easy access to the ocean, and year-round opportunities to be outside and to garden. She has a life-partner and three grown children: two daughters and a son, one of whom lives in Arcata.

To learn more about the SHCHD go to or email For an appointment call (707) 923-3925, ext. 221. To stay on top of local health events and news, like us on Facebook!

Open Your Heart, Open Your Home - Join Us For Foster Care Information Night!

Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District (SHCHD) and its Southern Humboldt Family Resource Center (FRC) are pleased to host a foster care information night. Please join us Tuesday, October 18, 4:00pm - 6:00pm, for this free event with dinner and training. The event will be held at the FRC located at 344 Humboldt Ave., Redway. This location is on the south side of Redway School Campus. For more information call Treena at 701/923-1147 or email her at

Foster Care Information Night Flyer