In bid for KVHD director’s seat, Hess talks about issues

Photo Courtesy of Deborah Hess
Michael Hess is one of four candidates for the Kern Valley Healthcare District’s Board of Directors.

BY Monica Lambert

This is the second in a series of interviews with candidates for the four open seats of the Kern Valley Healthcare District’s Board of Directors.

Michael Hess is a lifetime resident of the Kern River Valley. His grandfather settled in the KRV over 100 years ago. Michael grew up in Weldon, the youngest of eleven kids in the Hess/McDonald household.

As a teenager, he worked on the Kissack ranch. He admired Grace and Bill for all they did for the valley and faithfully honors the legacy created when they donated the land the hospital sits on. He feels it’s up to valley residents to preserve and support this gift, and keep the hospital viable for future generations.

“I have a strong background in construction, and as a licensed electrician I understand the challenges of this earthquake retrofit problem,” Hess told the Kern Valley Sun. “I am well-versed in problem-solving and can look at this retrofit from a different vantage point than the average person.”

He also worked as a planner for Southern California Edison and has the knowledge to help manage the retrofit.

Additionally, Hess owned an electric company where he worked with all levels of staff in the planning and execution of projects.

When asked about other issues the board is facing, he said, “Attracting and retaining excellent staff, improving working conditions and providing incentives are all necessary elements to helping our hospital become state of the art.”

Big on common sense and logic, Hess believes that all of these elements are intertwined. Meeting the compliance issues for retrofit will allow the hospital to stay in business.

Upgrading the 50-year-old facility will allow for more varied outpatient and inpatient services, which will in turn improve cash flow.

Attracting a qualified and excellent staff will persuade valley residents to choose the facility over going down to Bakersfield for medical services.

“It’s very dependent on all of these elements coming together,” he stated. “This is how our hospital will survive.”

If elected, Hess, who is retired, has the time to give full attention to the hospital board position.

“I’m a planner and a problem solver,” he said.

For full transparency, Hess’s wife, Deborah, is the manager of Public Affairs/ Marketing for the Kern Valley Hospital District.

Barbara Casas - October 11, 2020

Thank you Kern Valley Sun for your interest in our Kern River Valley, I feel your purchase of this small town newspaper sets up a pattern for new growth for this area, both in Spiritual and Economic measure. Our valley has sustained many changes within the last 42 years and some changes have not been beneficial to those who chose to move here for retirement. My husband and I moved here in 1978 after a lot of years in another valley South of here, Antelope Valley. We planned to live here as a base site and travel and enjoy the fruits of our labors seeing what the rest of the world was like. We love the weather here, the retirement atmosphere, and the “down-home atmosphere” and attitude of the constituents here, we were not disappointed with the measure of good, Christian, peaceful thinking of most people here, however some elements of change have crept in and keep a consistent “dis-trust” attitude going in talk and manner. I feel the measure of your newspaper can make a big change in that with the attitude you have shown so far. Thank you for that and I will do all I can to help you suceed with your venture.

Barbara Anne Casas

    Kern Valley Sun - October 13, 2020

    Hi Barbara,
    Would you like this comment to be a letter to the editor?
    I am glad you appreciate the changes we have made.
    Thanks, SR

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