Two zones in Palomar Health District that include Poway, Rancho Bernardo and 4S Ranch have candidates in the Nov. 8 election.
Palomar Health is the region’s public health district. It covers 800 square miles in North San Diego County and is served by two hospitals, Palomar Medical Center Poway and Palomar Medical Center Escondido. It also has a skilled nursing facility, The Villas at Poway.
The district is represented by seven elected officials who serve four-year terms on its board of directors, based on their residences in geographic zones. The odd-numbered zones are up for election this fall. To see the district zones map, visit tinyurl.com/PHzones.
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Three candidates are running for the Zone 5 seat. They are incumbent John Clark, Alejandro Paz and Hans Christian M. Sison. The zone covers most of Poway; part of the east and southeast side of Rancho Bernardo, east of Interstate 15; Carmel Mountain Ranch and Sabre Springs.
Incumbent John Clark, 70, is a Poway resident. He has owned and operated businesses in the healthcare arena for over 40 years, and is the founder and CEO of Global Cancer Technology.
“It is a bioPharma company that is developing a drug for brain cancer and breast cancer,” Clark said. “Concurrently I am developing additional medical technologies to bring to the forefront of healthcare.”
Clark earned a Bachelor of Science in pre-med studies at the University of Scranton.
He has served one four-year term on the Palomar Board. He has also been its finance committee chairman.
“I learned a great deal about the operations of Palomar Health, the largest public health district in California and I hope to serve the community as a board director for the next four years,” Clark said.
“I care deeply about our citizens having access to high quality and reliable healthcare from their local hospital. I have come to know many of our physicians, nurses and caretakers and very much appreciate their dedication and commitment to our well being. I want to make our hospital system known as a place where patients can expect high-quality healthcare to be delivered at all times.”
According to Clark, the top three issues facing the Palomar Health district are maintaining quality healthcare, conservative financial management which includes more transparency in all financial disclosures and reporting obligations, and better and independent board oversight when advising hospital management and the CEO.
Clark said he has “proven myself to fight for the best healthcare options facing the community. I have a deep hospital/medical industry background and can merge that experience with the accumulated knowledge I gained serving as a board director for the past four years. I can provide the necessary leadership to make corrective changes within the hospital system and I enjoy the support of so many physicians, nurses and employees at Palomar.”
Clark’s campaign website is johnclarkforpalomarhealth.com.
Alejandro Paz, 68, is a Rancho Bernardo resident. He is a family practice medical doctor. Paz earned his bachelor’s from the University of California San Diego, medical degree from the University of Utah School of Medicine, completed post-graduate work at Phoenix Baptist Hospital Family Medicine Residency and earned a master’s from the University of California Los Angeles.
He has never served on Palomar Health’s board.
“I have worked as a family doctor in the Palomar Health District for over three decades. My practice has allowed me to care for generations of San Diegans, from grandparents to grandchildren, sisters and brothers, and everyone in between,” Paz said. “As a physician, I am more than a medical specialist to the patients that I care for. My experience as a trusted advocate and problem solver will lend well to the Board of Directors. I am committed to putting the interests of the people Palomar serves first.”
Paz said the three biggest issues the health district is facing are a need to “implement strategies to strengthen healthcare staffing, deliver quality patient experiences and improve access to care. Between advancements in technology and rising healthcare costs for patients, Palomar is facing a highly competitive environment.
“Patients are seeking a convenient experience when it comes to their health,” Paz said. “Minimizing wait times and ensuring patients don’t feel rushed are critical to delivering a quality experience. Palomar will need to rely on consistent quality to attract and retain patients.”
“For three straight years, Newsweek has named Palomar Health a World’s Best Hospital, and I am committed to building on this recognition, and several others, to continue the tradition of excellence we rely on,” Paz said. “If elected, I will be the only doctor on the board, bringing an important perspective to the leadership of the district.”
Paz’s campaign website is worldsbesthospitalpalomar.com/paz.
Hans Christian M. Sison, 55, is a Poway resident. He is a licensed nurse who earned a Bachelor of Science in nursing at Lyceum Northwestern University.
He was elected to serve one four-year term on the Palomar Health board, which he did from 2014 to 2018.
“I have served on the Palomar Health board for four years and (am) a former military veteran,” Sison said. “I will continue to fulfill my commitment to serve the people and patients in my community.”
According to Sison, the top three issues for the Palomar Health district are a lack of investments going to Palomar Hospital Poway, short staffing in addition to the affordability and accessibility of healthcare.
“I will fight to keep the services open at Palomar Hospital Poway and advocate for well-equipped and well-trained staff for the benefit of the patients in my community,” Sison said.
As of press time, Sison did not have a campaign website.
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In the Zone 7 race there are two candidates — incumbent Linda Greer and Carol Ware. The zone includes 4S Ranch, the southern part of Poway, Del Sur, Santaluz and Rancho Peñasquitos.
Incumbent Linda Greer, 69, is a Poway resident. She is a registered nurse who graduated from Palomar College Nursing School.
She was on the Palomar Health board from 2004 to 2014 and elected again for another four-year term in 2018. She is currently the board’s chair.
“As a registered nurse, patient advocate and mother of nine, I first joined the board to bring a unique vantage point. I’ve spent my 40-year career focused on caring for people, no matter who they are, where they are from or their personal circumstances.
“I’m particularly proud of my work championing support services for victims of abuse in order to provide hope and healing to survivors,” Greer added. “It would be my great honor to continue to work for you.”
According to Greer, the three biggest issues facing Palomar Health are financial stability, workforce stability and access to quality care. She said Palomar is the largest healthcare district in California, yet only 3 percent taxpayer funded. “Financial experience in overseeing a large integrated business is necessary to improve healthcare,” she said.
In addition, she said healthcare worker shortages are causing significant effects in patient access, so recruitment must remain a top priority. Also that maintaining quality care and patient safety is her top priority.
“Palomar Hospital needs experienced and passionate leaders to ensure the district will be around for generations to come,” Greer said. “Under my leadership, Palomar Health is nationally recognized as one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals and has made Newsweek’s list of World’s Best Hospitals for the third year in a row. Our healthcare system emerged from the pandemic financially viable, with excellence in safety, a stable workforce and plans for bringing innovative technology and more inclusive patient care.”
Greer’s campaign website is worldsbesthospitalpalomar.com/lindagreer.
Carol Ware, 54, is a 4S Ranch resident. She is self-employed and a community volunteer and fundraiser. Ware has a bachelor’s in business administration and master’s in organizational management.
She has never served on the Palomar Health board.
“Our closest trauma hospital should have the highest quality medical staff, equipped with the latest in lifesaving technologies,” she said. “I am alarmed to learn from medical professionals that the quality of patient care has declined over the last few years, especially in the emergency trauma department.
“As a board member I will represent the taxpayers and ensure our Palomar Hospital’s focus returns to providing the highest quality patient care over profits,” she said.
She said the three biggest issues facing Palomar Health are staffing issues, transparency and fiscal responsibility and need to expand services.
“Current nursing, physician and general staffing shortages have negatively impacted the quality of patient care, leading to low morale of nurses and physicians, and unacceptable prolonged waiting times in the emergency room,” Ware said.
She said transparency and fiscal responsibility need to come from hospital leadership and the Palomar Health Board of Directors. As for expanding services, she said this includes cardiovascular, oncology and cognitive disorders, which can be done “by attracting and retaining experienced nurses and physicians, and improving emergency room and trauma care.”
“As a community leader, small business owner and fellow taxpayer, I share your desire to stop wasteful spending and expect our trauma hospital is fully staffed and ready to serve our community,” Ware said. “Whether Palomar Health is your primary care or just the nearest trauma hospital, I will work for you to ensure our board’s focus remains on improving the quality of patient care and the morale and expertise of the hospital staff.”
Ware’s campaign website is wareforpalomarhealth.com.