Cambria weighs options for health care leaders

At its monthly meeting Tuesday, the Cambria Community Healthcare District board will have to rethink its administrative options in the wake of the recent unexpected firing of Cambria Fire Department Chief Mark Miller.

With current administrator Don Melendy due to retire in June, the board of the agency that provides North Coast ambulance and other health care services has narrowed its options for replacing him.

The board could hire a part-time replacement or contract with the Cambria Community Services District — which runs the Cambria Fire Department — for administrative services.

Those two options would be short-term solutions, according to board President Greg Bates.

They were intended to be in place until the two districts could decide on a long-term agreement for combining some operations, or at least sharing some personnel, equipment and space at the Burton Drive fire station.

Both choices were intended to include training for administrative assistant Heidi Holmes so she could eventually take over leadership responsibilities.

“The health care district is a very unique animal,” district board member John Headding said. “It requires oversight by someone with extensive education in health care administration.”

Headding said he’s confident that “there are individuals out in the community who have the qualifications to manage our district.”

Headding, a pharmacist and former hospital administrator, added that he’s “very much pro-collaboration, and I think that agenda needs to move forward more quickly.

“But I don’t want my organization to get caught in the middle of a lot of agenda items that could potentially minimize the importance of delivering health care services,” he added.

The health care board meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rabobank, 1070 Main St., Cambria.