People are asking, "What does Tehachapi Valley Healthcare do now that Adventist Health is renting and operating Tehachapi Hospital?"

I feel a responsibility to be forthright and open with the voters of the TVHD who have been so generous in the past and have passed two general obligation bond issues to build the new hospital.

It may come as a surprise to many of you to learn that we continue to collect money owed to TVHD from the payment backlog in Medicare, Medi-Cal, HMOs, insurance companies and private payers. Without many of the usual expenses associated with operating a hospital, we have now accumulated a sizable reserve surplus.

With the possibility of Adventist Health giving the present hospital and associated building back to TVHD the question now is, what should be done with the old facilities, plus the few million dollars we now have in reserve, and the ad valorem property tax receipts ($700,000 per year) originally intended for the support and operation of the old hospital?

We do not want to duplicate AH programs, and our rental contract prohibits that form of competition. So any endeavor by TVHD should be supportive of AH and the health and welfare of the citizens in our area of Kern County.

I welcome your ideas and suggestions.

Dr. Sam Conklin, vice president of the TVHD board