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Thursday, May 08 2014 03:38 PM

County to hold public meeting on fate of Kern Medical Center

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    By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

    Rudy Salas has introduced legislation that would take one step toward putting Kern Medical Center under a hospital authority.

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BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer jburger@bakersfield.com

Kern County supervisors will on Monday convene a day-long public workshop on the future of Kern Medical Center.

The goal, said KMC Chief Executive Officer Russell Judd, is to explain why the struggling public hospital is important to Kern County and develop the guidelines needed to effectively manage it and its complex operations and finances.

The session will begin 10 a.m. Monday in the Kern County Board of Supervisors chambers at 1115 Truxtun Ave.

"We've got a consultant to come in to lead the discussion," Judd said.

In the morning, he said, the supervisors will handle a baseline question about the county-owned trauma center, which is costing the county an average of $3 million more a month than it brings in in revenue.

"Do you need a KMC?," Judd asked.

He hopes supervisors will answer yes.

Then, in the afternoon, supervisors will get down to strategy and work to develop a basic plan for running the hospital and the guidelines needed to achieve success.

Judd said the discussion should explore where the boundary should be between his role as day-to-day manager of the hospital and the policymaking role of the board.

He said he has to have some freedom to get his job done without checking in with the board about every decision. But the board has to have a way to oversee the hospital's operations as well.

At the end of the day, Judd said, he hopes supervisors will direct him to formalize a plan and bring it back in a couple of months for their formal approval.

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