Dr. Glenda Humiston, appointed by President Obama to run the USDA's rural development programs in California, made a stop this afternoon at Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville.
Dr. Humiston spoke for 30 minutes in a small hospital conference room crowded with administrators and staff. She discussed not only the recently approved grant but also talked about her long term goals as the USDA's rural development director for the state of California. She said that the way the USDA distributes grant money to states is currently not fair to California, and she plans on changing that. By educating the USDA on California's unique geography and demographics Dr. Humiston believes that more USDA grant money can be obtained by the state. She says that in previous years California has been slated to receive $400 to $500 million in USDA grants, but that this year up to $1 billion will be made available. Dr. Humiston hopes that number will increase even more over the coming years.
Much of today's meeting centered on how the hospital's outdated information systems prohibit patient services from reaching their full potential, with Dr. Humiston listening to feedback from many of those in attendance. She and her staff, 3 of which attended the meeting with her, say they'll working more with the hospital to secure the grants necessary to purchase modern equipment. The USDA grant presented today, called the Community Facility Grant, amounts to just over $60,000.