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Sequoia Healthcare District - Masters of Deceit

Original post made by Jack Hickey, Woodside: Emerald Hills, on Nov 1, 2012

Sequoia Healthcare District CEO, Lee Michelson, in a letter published in today's Daily Post Web Link perpetuates the lie about the Report to the Community. He says, "The Sequoia Healthcare District publishes an annual report that is mailed to residences in late October of every year. Not true. In 2011, not a District election year, the report went out the 2nd week of November. Web Link

Mr. Michelson continues the deceit by reciting that the "...District continues to receive about $8 million a year in tax income. We spend more than $10 million a year on community health with clinics, schools and nonprofits."

The relevant information which he fails to mention, (and is absent from the annual report) is that in 2012, the District will SPEND $11,607,766 to deliver what they claim to be $10,600,000 in Community Support. That claim is bogus. It fails to exclude more than $500,000 of Nursing Program expenses for nurses who have left the area. It also failed to exclude Heartsafe and Healthy Schools Program expenses of more than $300,000 a year.

Lee says "Exactly where these dollars go is described in the annual report..." Is there anyone out there who received this 4 page, 11" x 17", full color piece of campaign literature, disguised as a Report to the Community, who could say that with a straight face? The Report should have at least containe a copy of the budget. There was certainly room for it.

This rogue District must go!

If you support dissolution of the Sequoia Healthcare District, vote for John J. "Jack" Hickey and NO other candidate.

Visit for more information.

Comments (3)

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Nov 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

The Sequoia Healthcare District General ledger for the period 10-1-10 to 10-25-12 is accessible on my website Look for the "General Ledger" link. You will find that the District only began collecting HeartSafe and School Health payroll information separately (70701-01 and 70801-01) from other program expenditures (70700-01 and 70800-01) on 7/7/11. Other overhead expenditures are not collected separately, and the pie chart on the District's website does not account for any of the overhead. It assumes that ALL program expenses are returned to the community.

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 7, 2013 at 12:23 pm

At the December 5, 2012 meeting of the Sequoia Healthcare District Board of Directors, Lee Michelson handed out his Comments Regarding Annual Report, which I have appended below. Notable is

"4. Since space in the publication is limited the annual report to the degree possible does not duplicate information available on the district website such as the budget, water reports, exhausted program detail or item by item lists. The publication is used as a vehicle to direct readers to the district website."

Photos and annotations which are available on the district website were included in the Annual Report: Web Link
a. The Lucas Chest Compress Device Web Link and the photo and story of Roy Henderson, Survivor, Web Link took up the same amount of space as the deceptive Financials.
b. A detailed listing of 34 individual schools under the heading "Scores of Area Schools Benefit" A listing of the 5 School Districts, which were also included, should have sufficed.

The Lucas Chest Compress Device

1. The annual report highlights district activities over the previous 12 months to keep taxpaying residents who financed district activities informed as to how their tax dollars are being spent and services available to them if needed.
2. Production of the annual report begins after the close of the previous fiscal year and after budgeting and goal setting have been accomplished, with the objective of producing and distributing the document as soon as practicable. Planning, design, production and distribution typically takes 3 to 4 months with mailing in October. The 2011 annual report was mailed the first week of November.
3. Mailing dates, content, formatting and all other aspects of the annual report are established independent of the Board of Directors and without consideration to any directors point of view or the board’s election cycle. Legally district publications cannot feature candidates, endorse candidates or promote an individual board member, caveats that are strictly adhered to in all our publication
4. Since space in the publication is limited the annual report to the degree possible does not duplicate information available on the district website such as the budget, water reports, exhausted program detail or item by item lists. The publication is used as a vehicle to direct readers to the district website.
5. Various annual report format have been tried. The newsletter style used this year was used previously, is used commonly and is very effective.
6. Cost of production was 61¢ per piece, inclusive of all costs including postage, consistent with previous publications (the 2011 per piece all-inclusive cost was 60¢ per piece). This is a fully budgeted item.
7. All board members receive a preview of the annual report at the same time. Board members are not asked for content suggestions as this would favor one board member over another. The annual report is an administrative function, not a governance or policy function.

Apparently, since it is fully budgeted, the CEO does not have to account for details of the production.

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Posted by Jack Hickey
a resident of Woodside: Emerald Hills
on Feb 21, 2013 at 11:51 am

A press release (appended below with my annotations in capital letters) from the Sequoia Healthcare District produced an article in the Daily Journal on February 20, 2013 Web Link braces for major changes to health care
My response, published today as "Sequoia Healthcare District — masters of deceit" follows:
Editor, in "District braces for major changes to health care" (SMDJ 2/20/2013) you say:
"Elected officials with the Sequoia Healthcare District are bracing for uncertainty as they grapple with the implications of the federal Affordable Care Act..."
The Sequoia Healthcare District has been faced with an uncertain future ever since the grand Jury exposed their continued use of property tax dollars to fund pseudo-philanthropic activities never intended by voters in the 1996 Measure "H" election. See: Web Link
You included a statement from the District's press release in which CEO, Lee Michelson refers to Dignity Health as "operator" of Sequoia Hospital. They "own" Sequoia Hospital! And, the District is still collecting property taxes originally assessed to build, operate and maintain Sequoia Hospital.
The $100,000/year PR efforts of the Sequoia Healthcare District are deceitful if not criminal. See: Web Link

REDWOOD CITY, CA/Feb. 6, 2013 — The transition of Sequoia Healthcare District board leadership to President Gerald Shefren, M.D. and Vice-president Art Faro is expected to reinforce board policy that returns more to the community in services and financial support than the district raises in property tax and maintains administrative overhead at approximately 5 percent of budget.
In voting Feb. 6 Shefren moved up from Vice-president to succeed Kim Griffin, Faro was elected Vice-president and Katie Kane returned as Secretary-Treasurer.
Presenting his State of the District message at the same time, District CEO Lee Michelson reported that the district last year spent $10.3 million on programs on $8.3 million in tax revenues. A contractual payment from Dignity Health, operator of Sequoia Hospital, and reserves provided the balance of spending.
President Shefren was top vote-getter in the 2010 election to the board, and previously served as a member of the board of Sequoia Health Services. Sequoia Health Services was an entity created during the transition from Sequoia Healthcare District’s ownership of Sequoia Hospital to its ownership by the non-profit Catholic Healthcare West (CHW). CHW recently implemented a corporate change and emerged as Dignity Health.
The association with Sequoia Hospital continues through Vice-president Faro, who was Sequoia CEO through its transfer to CHW in the late 90s and currently serves as Sequoia Hospital Board Chairman. Fact: ART FARO AND KATIE KANE'S ASSOCIATION WITH SEQUOIA HOSPITAL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DISTRICT, AND MAY CONSTITUTE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WHEN THE DISTRICT BOARD VOTES ON SUBSIDIES TO THE HOSPITAL.
Director Kim Griffin, a pediatric cardiology nurse in private practice, became board President in the second year of her first four-year term and served as President for the last two years. Griffin was re-elected in November, 2012 and began her second four-year term in January, 2013.
“It was a privilege and valuable learning experience to serve in a leadership role for the district board,” Griffin said. “I have the utmost confidence in the new officers and look forward to another productive four years as a board member.”
Griffin’s tenure saw significant changes in several Sequoia Healthcare District programs. She oversaw implementation and expansion of HeartSafe’s placement of state-of-the-art Lucas® chest compression devices, an expansion which helped get one of these devices into every fire department in the healthcare district.
The district also expanded the Code Blue® AED tower to include a special installation at the Woodside Fire Department, which gives anyone 24/7/365 instantaneous voice access to emergency personnel
Most recently Griffin helped San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Adrienne Tissier break ground on the county’s new medical-dental facility in North Fair Oaks. Sequoia Healthcare District made a $4.3 million grant to the county to help get the facility built.
President Shefren said he is “very pleased with the direction the district has gone in terms of tighter controls on how we make grants and with the accountability the board has displayed to the community. We have the responsibility to invest tax dollars with careful oversight and management controls,” he said.
“As for the future, in the next two to three years the board has to understand the implications of the (federal) Affordable Care Act and how it affects the care delivery systems in the district which may require changes in our strategy.
“We have to make sure that our activities are in sync with the major changes that will be occurring in healthcare.”
Director Faro also emphasized he was pleased in the board’s expression of confidence in electing him Vice-president.
“My goals are to continue the great work that Kim Griffin and Jerry Shefren have done as board officers in enhancing the health of our community,” Faro said.
“There are many loopholes in our healthcare delivery system. As best we can, the district should ensure that no citizen in our district goes without preventive and curative care.”
Sequoia Healthcare District board officers serve two-year terms.
About Dr. Shefren
Dr. Shefren attended the University of Iowa for his undergraduate training and then the University of Illinois School of Medicine. He spent 2 years in the United States Army stationed in Vietnam and Hawaii following his internship at the University of Texas Hermann Hospital. His residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology was served at George Washington University, following which he was in private practice for almost 25 years at both Stanford and El Camino Hospitals. DHe has held administrative roles with El Camino Hospital, the Camino Medical Group, and Lifeguard Healthplan. In 2001 he returned to Stanford as the Chief of the General Gynecology Division in the Stanford Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and later served as Vice President of Ambulatory Care for Stanford Hospital and Clinics until 2008.
About Art Faro
Art Faro earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Vermont and his master’s in business administration at George Washington University.
Director Faro retired as Chief Executive Officer of Sequoia Hospital and currently serves as Chair of the Sequoia Hospital Board of Directors
Active in the community for many years, he is past president of the Sequoia Awards Board of Directors, honorary member of the Sequoia Hospital Foundation, former board member of the Redwood City-San Mateo County and San Carlos Chambers of Commerce, former Chair of the American Heart Association, Western States and San Mateo and is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives
Sequoia Healthcare District provides major funding to numerous non-profit community health organizations that directly assist more than 50,000 women, children and seniors in the district, which includes the cities of Atherton, Belmont, Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Redwood City, San Carlos, Woodside, and portions of San Mateo and Foster City from Skyline Boulevard to the Bay.

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