It is our mission to deliver quality healthcare to the residents of and visitors to

Big Bear Valley through the most effective use of available resources.


To be the premier provider of emergency medical and healthcare

services in our Big Bear Valley.


___ E T Russell___ In its mission and vision statements it is indicated that the efforts of the Bear Valley Community Hospital is to provide the best possible healthcare services that are possible for the public.  The name-title also carries the word ‘community’; we define as, to work in unity. The residents of the mountain community claim a close relationship with the local hospital and want to be aware of the healthcare administration activities. Most of the staff, healthcare providers and employees are neighbors and friends; therefore claim a close acquaintance with each other.  

Throughout the 40 years history, not only was the facility founded and funded by residents of the community, with expectation that the hospital would provide medical services including emergency care but they expect the board of directors and administration to understand the that local participation and funding was necessary for the hospital’s survival. The residents have voted for their neighbors or friends to serve on the board of directors and have created a close bond to the hospital’s physicians and medical-care workers.

The experience of local citizens serving on the Bear Valley Community Healthcare District Board of Directors through the years has contributed to the close-relationship, as well. Since this reporter has lived in the valley for eighteen years, I’ve become aware of how residents are possessive of transactions regarding the  hospital board. Many of those same residents have financially contributed and served as directors. Not only because the hospital has cared for us and our loved ones but the attachment has motivated us to stay aware of the decisions and actions of the BVCHD Board.  

The public consists of residents of whom are approximately two-thirds of the population second homeowners; which means they have invested financially in the availability of our local medical facility. In casual conversations with residents, comments have been made that they couldn’t live here on the mountain unless they were assured of the hospital’s services, especially the emergency care. Since a serious accident in October 2013, I am one of many residents who can honestly feel that because of their expertise of emergency personnel, I am alive today.  

Like many hospitals throughout the country the critical economic crisis has threatened to close or impose tremendous constraints on them and especially on small rural hospitals. The BVCHD Board has gone through many challenges in the recent years to cope with survival concerns; not to mention several Chief Executive Officers. This Board of Directors has played ‘musical chairs’ in recent years that have challenged the authority of the directors and the actions that have influenced their faith in the decisions.  

When notified by email the Agenda on the Special BVCHD Board Business Meeting, to be held Monday January 5, 2015 at 1:00 P.M. for the board’s closed session and the open session to convene at approximately 2:00 P.M. In the agenda the business to be discussed in the CLOSED SESSION was only one item,

1.    TRADE SECRETS:  *Health and Safety Code Section: 32106 & Civil Code3426.1

A.   Fidelity Partners Physician Search Agreement

B.   EmCare Contract Agreement  

On the OPEN SESSION Agenda were several Notice to the Public items, from past meetings such as 8. D. Policies & Procedures (1) Board Members Code of Conduct. Interesting! Why this isn’t on the open session’s agenda for discussion, as the public may have suggestions that could improve the conduct of the board members. Isn’t there room for improvement?

Reading further in the agenda:  

10. A. Discussion and Potential Approval of Bear Valley Community Healthcare District Board of Director Candidate (For some reason, it appeared there was only one candidate.) Also, upon receipt there was nothing, indicating the follow-up of the candidates’ interviews and choosing a new board member.

The vacated seat was that of the board president, who resigned in October 2014.  Visit: http://www.bigbearlake.net/etnews/hospital-board-pres-resigns- Because of the informal resignation of Russ, there was a procedure to the process of bringing on a new board member from the public. Originally, all of the directors are elected by the voters.   

At this point Board President Donna Nicely stated that there were three candidates: Rob Robbins, Jack Briner and Dr. Peter Boss. Nicely called Robbins to be interviewed first, followed by Briner with Boss the last.  All three applicants offered explanations of their past professional experiences of working with boards, financing and suggestions of possible improvements with BVCHD.

At the close of the interviews, Nicely made a few comments and called for an adjournment of the Open Session, inviting the public of approximately twenty with a few hospital staff managers; to stay until the directors discussed and return with their selected candidate that would fill the board vacancy.

My question was, why would the board go into ‘closed’ meeting, due to the fact

the public originally participated and now shouldn’t the issue be to automatically complete the process publically. No sooner that I was questioning the president’s adjourning to a closed session, did the Big Bear Grizzly Editor Judi Bowers, spoke up that the posted agenda did not indicate any ‘closed session’ or discussion of the interviewed candidates.

Bowers addressed both Nicely and BVCHD’s legal counsel, Deborah Tropp, objecting t0 no reference to a closed session, or change of the posted agenda and Brown Act violations. To avoid a Brown Act violation, the discussion of the interviewed candidates would have to be in a regular, posted open session of the board, previously scheduled January 14, 2015.  In research of the Brown Act, there are several violation guidelines that needed clarification such as ‘discussion in closed (doors) session’ of the applicants and ‘trade secrets’ subjects that should be avoided.

President Nicely asked for a move to an Open Session in the January 14th Bear Valley Community Healthcare District Board of Directors Regular Meeting and the Applicants Interviews would be scheduled on the agenda. A vote of approval was positive. 

The public and those interested in the BVCHD board’s actions are welcome to attend Wednesday January 14th meeting, Open Session at 3:00 P.M.