Saturday, 03 December 2022

Pavoni 'pays it forward'

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John Pavoni, board chair of the Board of Directors of Mendocino Community Health Clinic. Courtesy photo.


LAKE COUNTY – As Aug. 5 through 11 is National Health Center Week, it a good time to celebrate the efforts of groups like Mendocino Community Health Clinic (MCHC) and its board of directors for their contribution to the health of our local community.

Meaningful service is one of John Pavoni’s fundamental values. The Clearlake Oaks resident works with disadvantaged children and serves on the Lake County’s Maternal Child and Adolescent Health Advisory Board, East Lake Elementary School’s Site Council, Konocti Unified School District Bond Oversight Committee, Clearlake Oaks Manor Senior Housing Project and serves as Liaison Officer for Li'l Acorns Preschool.

Since 2000, he has served on the Board of Directors of Mendocino Community Health Clinic (MCHC). In 2006 and 2007, his peers have elected him to the position of board chair. He holds governance oversight of MCHC’s three community-based health centers: Hillside Health Center, in Ukiah, Lakeside Health Center, in Lakeport and Little Lake Health Center, in Willits.

“I have stayed on the MCHC Board out of a desire to ‘pay it forward,'” Pavoni explained. “As a MCHC consumer and as a citizen, I know that serving MCHC is an opportunity to safeguard the right to health care for others and for my family. It is a way to build a safe and healthy future that will benefit all of us.”

A former nurse, Pavoni has become certified in Health Center Governance through the National Association of Community Health Clinics (NACHC). NACHC certification marks the board’s commitment that MCHC will work with staff to provide quality, competent, cost-effective health care at each of its centers.

He also recently participated in a training at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management/Health Care Executive Program.

“Being a board member requires something more that just showing up to meetings,” Pavoni explained. “Health care is quite complicated and, to be effective as a board member, you must engage in continuous education. This is a must and, for me, it is a passion. The training offered through NACHC helped to familiarize me with the procedural, financial, legal and technical responsibilities of serving a community health center.”

Prior to 1960, before the development of the community health center system of care, distribution of health services was primarily based on a community’s financial ability to support their health care provider. Of course, that left many small and rural communities without services from a doctor or dentist; often, there were not enough people in the community to make the “business” of doctoring pay.

As part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, the dire health status of our nation’s citizens was improved through creation of a nationwide system of community health centers.

Since the beginning, federally funded health centers have been required to have boards made up of a majority of people who use its services.

“The consumer-based boards of our nation’s community health centers make it possible for each center to meet the unique needs of their community,” Pavoni noted. “Such boards exhibit better responsiveness to the health care needs of their families, friends and neighbors. Having such members gives center's administration a different perspective. We are people who utilize services the clinic provides.

“First and foremost, we are volunteers,” he continued. :”We have no financial incentive for our service. We are involved to demonstrate our commitment, to our communities and to staff as they provide the best health care possible. I am also proud to say that we work hard to ensure that quality healthcare is available.

“The health centers operated by MCHC strengthen the local Web of care in each community,” said Pavoni. “Our centers meet the highest standard of care as demonstrated by recent results from our review by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Their report on our services provides an in-depth look at our system of care, and their accreditation of each of our centers provides strong evidence of excellence.”

Because of his position as board chair, Pavoni also serves as a board member on the Alliance for Rural Community Health (ARCH). ARCH is a consortium of Lake and Mendocino County health centers.

“ARCH helps to give our region’s rural communities a strengthened voice in the growing healthcare debate,” he said. “Through ARCH, we are advancing our strength as patient advocates, locally and regionally.”

As the national health care environment worsens, the local system is feeling the impacts. “The difficulty of recruiting doctors, dentists and nurses into an area where housing prices have gone through the roof is only going to get worse,” said Pavoni.

“New programs are going to be needed to support the health of our aging population but, at the same time, the commitment to caring for these needs is diminishing. I am hopeful that, as health centers work together to advocate for meaningful local solutions though ARCH, we will be empowered to address the health care needs of our community more effectively.”

The federal community health center program is recognized as one of the federal government’s most effective. Designed to have a unique and significant impact, the program is expanding access to health care for underserved populations.

According to ExpectMore.Gov, “A 1998 evaluation found Medicaid health center users experience 22 percent lower hospitalization rates than Medicaid users receiving care from other sources.” In this way, health center patients improved health status is reducing the impacts on local hospitals and other service and law-enforcement agencies.

In addition to John Pavoni, Manuel Ramirez, former staff member of Lake County Environmental Health, represents the interests of Lake County.

From Mendocino County, Directors include Harold Lance, Carlos Frausto, Robert O'Connell, Bill Mergener, Bonnie Carter, Anne Veno Caviglia, Cyril Colonius and John Slonecker.

For more information about how you can make a contribution to Lakeside Health Center by becoming an MCHC Board Member, please contact Kathy MacDougall, administrative assistant to the president, at 472-4511.

Margaret McClure is director of communications for the Alliance for Rural Community Health.

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6Dec
12.06.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
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12.08.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
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10Dec
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10Dec
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10Dec
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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10Dec
12.10.2022 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Christmas open house
13Dec
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15Dec
12.15.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
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