CALM AND SKEPTICAL — Jim Horn resigned from the Palm Drive board on May 6.

Then there were four.

The Palm Drive Health Care District Board of Directors meeting was informational only after board member Jim Horn’s resignation left the board without a quorum.

Horn resigned hours before the meeting in a letter addressed to the board. Due to lack of time to cancel the meeting under the Brown Act, the meeting was still held, though no action could be taken.

Board member Eira Klich-Heartt was the only member at the meeting’s start. Board member Gail Thomas arrived late, having thought the meeting was canceled, according to Klich-Heartt. Board president Dennis Colthurst was in training off site and board member Richard Power was in Spain.

The action items of the meeting have been postponed to the board’s next meeting, possibly on Thursday, May 9, at 11 a.m., according to the attending board’s suggestion. A public noticing of the meeting as required under the Brown Act was unavailable as of press time.

Horn’s letter explains his reasons for leaving.

“I write to notify you that I am resigning my position as a director of the Palm Drive Health Care District effective at 5 p.m. today, May 6, 2019. Unfortunately, the time and effort required for responsible board service has become too intrusive on my work and family obligations as well as too frustrating personally,” Horn wrote.

Horn wrote that the frustration stemmed from “modest success” with attempts of oversight and holding the district accountable to the community. Specifically, Horn said two poorly handled situations were the former manager of the hospital, Sonoma West Medical Center, and its involvement in Durall Capital Holding’s drug testing and the lease/sale of Sonoma Specialty Hospital to AAMG, the current managing company.

“Given the signing of a lease/sale agreement for virtually all of the district’s physical assets, and the proposed settlement of the district’s five-year-old bankruptcy case, I will support the timely dissolution of the district so that all district revenues can be used to pay off our debts as quickly as possible, without unnecessary overhead. I can do that as a private citizen, without holding office,” he concluded.

During public comment, board watchers Mary Fricker and Sukey Robb-Wilder came up and thanked Horn for his service, saying he provided a high level of critical thinking that was much appreciated.

The two board members who were present did go over the non-action items on the agenda during the meeting.

Chief Operating Officer of AAMG Matt Salas reported that the district’s net losses were $3.23 million as of April. He said that number includes a “substantial” sum of money that has yet to be billed. AAMG is currently in negotiations with its billing software service provider to rectify its lack of access to billing.

The main concern is that should some bills not be sent out in the proper timeline, the hospital will not be able to collect on the services provided. There was not an estimate as to what the unbilled total was at the meeting. No bills have been sent out since March 18.

Salas also reported that the change of ownership is progressing and will trigger a new cost-reporting period once done. He said this will help with the hospital’s ability to manage long-term acute care.

One thing included in the agenda packet that will be ready for approval upon a quorum are the overdue minutes since January.

(4) comments


Jim Horn was the best thing that ever happened to that sad little district. Thank you for your service to the community whether they understood what you were doing or not.


Jim Horn was always the voice of reason amid the otherwise chaotic dysfunction of the Board majority. I wish him well and I do believe that as a taxpaying citizen no longer serving on the Board, he may be able to accomplish so much more on behalf of the taxpayers that he couldn't do while he served. Thank you Jim for your commitment to your community.

Downtown Facing Dog

Sadly, there goes the smartest guy in the room. I trust that several of the remaining incumbents will continue in their Three Stoogesesque fulfillment of their duties...


You are so correct! At their first opportunity, the board approved a new contract with the executive director without any performance review and gave her a retroactive bonus to boot! These actions are not in the best interest of the taxpayers and likely are not legally supportable. This board is marching directly to dissolution.

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