Saturday, December 10, 2016
[Stanislaus County] Health board member steps down after 45 years
Blog note: this article suggests that there is a life after serving on the grand jury.
Ed Maring has a record of service that fellow Del Puerto Health Care District board member Dr. Steven Pittson couldn’t emulate “if I wanted to.”
“I’m too old to even start,” he said, noting Maring’s 40-plus years on the board.
Before Del Puerto staff and officials, Maring said goodbye during a high-spirited breakfast ceremony Friday. Except for four years, he has sat on the board continuously since 1971.
“You’ve been able to lead us and be there for us for all of these changes that we’ve experienced,” Cherie Swenson, human resource manager, said, addressing Maring. “And you were always the rock, you were the strength, and we could count on you.”
Betty Carlson, former director of nursing and board member, said that Maring is “such a dedicated person to good health care in this little town.”
Replacing the longtime board member is Frank Daras, who recently sat on the Stanislaus County civil grand jury during an investigation into the Del Puerto Health Care District. After meeting and interviewing Maring, Daras was motivated to run for the board.
“Ed’s really been an inspiration,” he said. “I agree with his ideas for the future. I’m younger, have a little more energy, and maybe I can take some of those ideas and move forward with them.”
Maring said Friday that during his four-plus decades of service, the district “has had a lot of adversity.”
“Probably the toughest thing was closing the hospital, because we knew it was never going to come back, at least not in our lifetime,” he said, referring to the former Del Puerto Hospital, which closed in 1998 and was destroyed by a fire earlier this year. “We were criticized for it … but if we didn’t close the hospital, we probably wouldn’t be here today, because we’d be bankrupt.”
Del Puerto Hospital opened its doors in 1950, built through the Hill-Burton Free and Reduced-Cost Health Care Act of 1946. Hill-Burton provided grants and loans for the construction of health facilities; it stopped supplying funds in 1997.
The hospital already in debt, the board at that time shut it down a year later “so that we could, as they say, rise again,” Maring said.
He then noted how proud he was of the new Del Puerto Health Center building, which opened in 2012 and hosted his goodbye ceremony, calling it a “beautiful facility.”
“There’s all these hospital districts and health care districts that went out of business … but after we got financially where we were strong enough, we opened this facility, and I think it’s wonderful.”
Maring said that he was comfortable with Daras as his successor, commending his efforts on the civil grand jury. Though offering a number of recommendations, the grand jury’s report, released in June, found that the district delivers “good quality” health care and ambulance services and is “effectively managed.”
Daras took the oath of office Friday alongside Anne Ielmini Stokman, who won her third term. Both ran unopposed in the 2016 election and were appointed to the board.
The newcomer said he was excited to get to work with the district.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Daras said, complementing Del Puerto staff. “Like we said in the grand jury (report), they do a great job providing health care for this whole region – phenomenal job.”
December 7, 2016