North Bay Business Journal

Thursday, May 22, 2014, 4:54 pm

Harlan steps down from Palm Drive as district continues to explore options


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    SEBASTOPOL — The Palm Drive Health Care District announced on Thursday that it has received and accepted Tom Harlan’s resignation as CEO of Palm Drive Hospital as the district looks to find a more appropriate model for the shuttered hospital.

    Tom Harlan

    Tom Harlan

    The district board is set to meet tonight to discuss proposals from the Palm Drive Health Care Foundation and other possible strategies about either re-opening the hospital or other future uses for the facility. The hospital was shuttered April 28 after declaring Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the second time in seven years, having seen its patient volumes dwindle while debt mounted.

    “This was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made,” Mr. Harlan said in a statement. “I love this hospital – and know that our board is fully committed to its reinvention and reemergence as an innovative health care organization that is both relevant to community health needs and financially sustainable for the long term.”

    Mr. Harlan and the district board have said the hospital could re-emerge as a more nimble entity, such as urgent care and outpatient services, but that operating a full acute-care hospital is simply too costly for so few patients. St. Joseph Health has said it might have interest in Palm Drive as an urgent care facility, similar to what it operates in Windsor, Rohnert Park and southwest Santa Rosa, but not as an acute-care hospital.

    Mr. Harlan was hired almost two years ago. While bankruptcy proved to be unavoidable, the district board still praised Mr. Harlan’s efforts, which included enhancing programs and associated revenue while streamlining and “rightsizing” hospital operations, according to the board. The board also cited Palm Drive’s clinical quality under Mr. Harlan’s tenure, including being recognized by Consumer Reports magazine as the fifth highest ranked hospital in the United States for Patient Safety.

     Mr. Harlan took over Palm Drive Hospital after a 40-year career in health care leadership, including his roles as president and chief administrative officer of John Muir Health in Concord, CEO of the Chinese Hospital and Chinese Community Health Plan (HMO) in San Francisco, and vice president and other senior executive positions at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

    During his tenure in the industry, Mr. Harlan has been called on to help institutions during difficult transitions. It was that expertise that brought him to Palm Drive. 

    “As challenging as this has been, Tom has been recognized by our physicians, nurses, hospital staff and the community for his dedication and grace during this very difficult time,” board President Chris Dawson said in a statement. “We appreciate Tom’s focus, expertise, tireless energy, and kindness over the past two years and wish him the very best.”

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    1 Comment

    1. May 23, 2014, 11:15 am

      by Mark Burger

      Let’s get Palm Drive out of the Western paradigm of Sick-care and help them get into the realm of Functional Medicine. I’ll volunteer to be on the Planning Committee and sit on the newly elected Board (no incumbents welcome!).

      Primarily, we will have a facility that strives to keep people OUT of the hospital. The cafeteria will feature good, wholesome, non-GMO, nutrient-dense food sans hormones, HFCS, pesticides, herbicides and BP-A, phthalates and all that. The cafeteria (run, not by dieticians, but by graduates of Bauman College) will teach the community how to cook and eat to stay out of the hospital. The Pharmacy (I volunteer to train the integrative, functional pharmacists and the health technicians) will advise and teach the physicians, patients and other health care professionals about proper Nutrition, supplementation and herbal remedies. Patients who are admitted will be able to bring in their supplements, vitamins, herbs, protein drinks, etc. as long as they are reviewed by the integrative pharmacist for dose, potency, and efficacy. All patients will be exposed to yoga, tai chi, meditation techniques, and relaxation techniques. They will have the opportunity to practice all of these several times every day. Every patient will receive a full body massage. Every patient gets a health portion of bone broth daily. Every patient gets 30 grams of protein every morning before 9AM. No processed food is allowed. Every discharge from the hospital will be accompanied by 2 home visits at 7 and 28 days where the home environment will be reviewed. The planting of gardens (vegetable and herbal and floral) will be explored and explained. Shopping Assistants will be available to help the patient shop for only healthy food at the grocery store.

      How will we get paid? Cash. And insurance companies that buy into our Health-Care paradigm. We won’t take all comers: Only sign contracts with third party payors whose reimbursement makes sense. “Sorry, we don’t take that insurance. Tell your employer to pick a third party payor that doesn’t skim the profits off of your premiums and underpay the providers.”

      Our goal will be to GET PEOPLE OFF OF THEIR MEDICATIONS if they are admitted. No drugs will be started w/o the approval of the Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee (they will meet daily and review all requests to start medications. The drug choice, dose, frequency and STOP DATE will be reviewed. No drug is started without a plan to discontinue its use by addressing the CORE issues of the patients fall from health: i.e. Functional Medicine will reign). Practitioners who do not understand the concept will lose their admitting privileges until they take the appropriate A4M Clinical Module and prove competency in the Functional Medicine aspect of the illness they tried to cure with a drug.

      Allow providers other than MDs to see patients: NDs, CFNPs, FAARMs, PharmDs, CNCs, massage therapists, Reike practitioners, MHs, RHs. Have seminars every night on various aspects of health and nutrition. CHARGE for the seminars! Have Tracks for people to go into: Cardiac Health Track, Cognitive Health Track, Nutrition Health Track, Body Composition Track, Herbal Health Track, Auto-Immune Health Track, Athletic Health Track, etc. CHARGE fees for these.

      People will come from far away lands to experience our hospital and get healthy.

      End of rant.

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