The view of the Marina Terrace at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa in San Diego.
BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
Four members of the Sequoia Healthcare District and two administrators are going to be staying at the Kona Kai Resort and Spa in San Diego this week for a conference, which will cost more than $6,600, the CEO of the district confirmed.
District Chief Executive Officer Lee Michelson told the Post that he will attend along with Director of Programs and Grants Pamela Kurtzman and board members Katie Kane, Kim Griffin, Art Faro and Jerry Shefren. They are going to the Association of California Healthcare Districts conference in San Diego from Tuesday to Thursday.
The six district officials will be staying at the Kona Kai, at 1551 Shelter Island Drive. Michelson said the district is spending $179 a night for hotel rooms, meaning that the representatives may be doubling up, as the only rooms the hotel offers for that price have two queen-size beds. The rooms have a patio that overlooks the bay next to the hotel. This room is the second most expensive at the hotel, the costliest being $197 a night.
The conference registration fees are $800 per person, Michelson said. That means the district will shell out $4,800 just on registration.
Based on hotel fees alone, the district will spend around $1,074 for the two-night stay, bringing the total for the trip to $5,874.
Michelson said that the flights were $125 roundtrip. This brings the total of what the district has spent on the trip so far to $6,624.
Michelson said some of his expenses paid for by the district will be reduced by the association because it has CEOs stay longer and go to different events.
Hickey’s not going
Only one of the board members is not going to the conference — Redwood City resident Jack Hickey, who has been trying to dissolve the district for years.
Hickey said he believes the district’s final tab will come closer to $10,000 once meals are added.
“They’re having breakfast and then dinners at fancy places,” Hickey said. “Seems like a junket to me.”
Hickey said in the past the district has sent two or three board members.
The sessions at the conference include a panel about women’s leadership, health care boards and policy-making, insurance and behavioral health.
The district was formed by voters in 1948 to fund Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City with property taxes. Dignity Health, previously Catholic Healthcare West, took over the hospital in 1996, but the district continued to collect a portion of the 1% county property tax. The district’s board now uses those tax dollars, about $12 million this year, to fund nonprofits that provide health services.
Board member Griffin said the conferences put on by the Association of California Healthcare Districts have been “informative” and “useful,” even though the district no longer is a hospital district.
“It’s been informative to hear how other districts provide services, predict the needs of their district members and obtain ideas for new services that would be instrumental in our own district,” Griffin said in an email. “It is always good to ‘benchmark’ against other agencies; not always to provide the same services, but to see if we are at least meeting a standard and often learn we are doing much better.”
The district covers central and southern San Mateo County, where about 220,000 residents live. The district currently receives a small percentage of all profits that the hospital makes each year as part of a 40-year agreement signed in 1996, according to board member Faro. The district uses that money, along with property taxes, to fund health care-related nonprofits.