Council Connect Articles

Hospital Council, CHA Staff Visit Humboldt County Hospitals


• Hospital Council and CHA
• Hospital executives
• Local health officials
• Verily Life Sciences


Following a successful behavioral health collaborative, Meghan Hardin (Hospital Council), Kirsten Barlow (CHA), and Verily’s Rebecca Messing Haigler visited the four general acute care hospitals (GACH) and the lone psychiatric health facility, Sempervirens, in Humboldt County. While they varied in the order of their priorities, representatives from all four GACHs expressed concerns with post-COVID-19 hospital finances, behavioral health patients in the emergency department, staffing, and 2030 seismic standards. Recruiting both primary care and specialty care physicians is also a daunting challenge in Humboldt County, as is finding adequate housing for any hospital associate or caregiver. 

Like all rural hospitals, however, the Humboldt facilities are using ingenuity and their tremendously strong work culture to devise innovative ways to continue providing the best possible services to their community members. Some notable examples include: 

  • SoHum Health’s work to provide critically needed behavioral health care to southern Humboldt’s unhoused population 
  • Providence St. Joseph Hospital Eureka’s forward-pushing physician recruitment and development programs 
  • Mad River Community Hospital’s community-building and health-promoting hospital farm 

Sempervirens’ circa-1880s building severely limits its ability to properly conduct infection prevention, admit any patients with mobility issues, and ensure physical safety of staff and patients.

Takeaways / Next Steps

CHA continues to actively lobby for a more sensible approach to disaster preparedness, as well as financial security and staffing assistance for member hospitals. All hospitals were intrigued by the prospect of working with Verily’s OneFifteen addiction program, and those conversations will continue to progress.