Thursday, February 22, 2018
California Oversight Agency Cites Beach Cities as an Example For Future of Health Care Districts
Little Hoover Commission highlights Beach Cities Health District’s preventive care programs and services as ‘…how districts might retool themselves.’

REDONDO BEACH, Calif.  (February 22, 2018) – The Little Hoover Commission, a non-partisan oversight agency that promotes economy and efficiency in California government, recently concluded a year-long examination of the state’s independent special districts. A portion of the Commission’s report focused on the state’s 79 healthcare districts, specifically citing Southern California’s Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) as an exemplar of how a health district can successfully operate.

BCHD, which provides community health services to Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach residents, shifted from disease-focused care (and managing a hospital) to preventive care in 1998.

“As a health district, BCHD exists to work for the public, with a mix of taxes and self-generated revenue funding vital local services,” says BCHD CEO Tom Bakaly. “Two decades ago, BCHD’s publicly elected board recognized that nearly three-quarters of chronic diseases were preventable, and ever since our focus has been to provide health and wellness programs throughout the lifespan of our residents that help keep them healthy, thriving and out of hospitals.”

This continuum of care stretches from kids to older adults. BCHD programs have reduced childhood obesity in Redondo Beach elementary school students by more than 60 percent, and a team of district social workers help more than 400 older and disabled adults remain healthy and independent at home.  Additionally, BCHD is a certified Blue Zones Project® community – whereby residents, schools, businesses, restaurants and civic leaders work in concert to optimize all residents’ longevity and well-being. BCHD also heads a community taskforce to address the growing issues of teen substance use and mental health.

Overall, BCHD offers more than 30 community health services, ranging from nutrition, exercise and mental health programming in schools to supplying financial support for organizations that include domestic violence prevention, Meals on Wheels and YMCA senior nutrition. And an army of more than 1,000 community volunteers provides, among numerous other services, errand assistance, social support and in-home exercise to isolated and disabled older adults.

“In June 2016,” according to the Little Hoover Commission report that was submitted to Gov. Jerry Brown and the legislature, “U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visited the (Beach Cities Health) district, and told representatives, “We tend to believe that America’s health problems are too big and intractable.  You have proven that communities can take charge and reverse the trend.”

Media Contact: Eric Garner, BCHD – (541) 413-2880; eric.garner@bchd.org