Council Connect Articles

Behavioral Health, Elderly, Poverty, and Workforce Discussions


  • CEOs and other representatives of member hospitals in the North Bay Section
  • Hospital Council and CHA staff


    On Feb. 15, the CEOs from the North Bay Section gathered by Zoom with CHA and Hospital Council to discuss several issues — legislative priorities, behavioral health, workforce, as well as member hospitals’ priorities for the year. Behavioral health remains a top concern and there was robust discussion with CHA’s Kirsten Barlow about priority advocacy items. Attendees were also intrigued to learn about Adventist Health’s Full Scope Family Medicine (FSFM) residency resilience program.

    In January 2023, Adventist Health leaders convened a gathering of current residents, providers, executive leadership, and community stakeholders to better understand the factors that influence a resident’s decision to stay in the Ukiah Valley or pursue opportunities elsewhere. Because FSFM providers are critical to community health — especially in areas like Mendocino’s Ukiah Valley — Adventist’s commitment to understanding how to foster a welcoming, inclusive, and rich community of providers can have implications for similar programs. One surprise issue that arose from member hospitals is an increase in patient abandonment among both elderly patients and some juvenile patients with mental illness. In Sonoma County, the percentage of elderly residents living below the poverty line has increased significantly in recent years and some hospitals are finding families will leave their loved ones at the hospital for lack of any other options.  

    Takeaways/Next Steps

    Those in health care understand that the scope of a hospital’s responsibility in the community seems to grow every year. The conversation around elderly poverty and patient abandonment underscored the reality that — absent any other support — the responsibility to navigate these issues will fall on a hospital. The evolving role of hospital advocacy and leadership will be more focused on fostering strong community bonds and relationships. Hospital Council will continue to advocate for and support these relationships.