(Victor Valley)–Trudy Raymundo, who has served as interim Public Health Director for more than two years, has been appointed Public Health Director effective this week. Ms. Raymundo will continue to serve as the department’s chief administrator while Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare continues to oversee the medical services provided by the department.
Ms. Raymundo has been involved in county public health administration for more than 14 years, serving as interim director, assistant director, an administrative analyst overseeing all the county’s health care operations, and program coordinator. She has been with the county since 1990.
“Trudy has accomplished much while serving as interim director. This, combined with her years of experience with the county and in Public Health, makes her the perfect choice for the director’s position,” said Linda Haugan, Assistant Executive Officer for Human Services, who oversees Public Health and appointed Ms. Raymundo as director.
Ms. Raymundo’s appointment marks the continuation of an innovative and successful approach to public health management in which the administrative responsibilities are assigned to a professional administrator and the medical responsibilities are assigned to a physician. Public Health is one of the county’s most administratively complex departments and this approach, implemented by the county in 2001, relieves the county from having to limit its leadership recruitments to a small pool of applicants who are both highly skilled administrators as well as accomplished physicians.
The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health has an annual budget of $97.2 million and includes 912 positions.
During her time as assistant director and interim director, which began in January 2010, Ms. Raymundo:
* Played a key role in a massive reorganization of the Department of Public Health. The effort included the consolidation of positions to achieve greater efficiencies and cost savings, and the creation of positions to provide for greater oversight over crucial department functions, including disease control, nursing, and community health. Among those are positions that will allow the department to look at new grant opportunities, conduct a needs assessment and strategic planning, and prepare for full implementation of Health Care Reform.
* Led the department in moving towards primary care rather than depending solely on traditional categorical funding. This ensures the department can fully take advantage of Health Care Reform and Medicaid expansion in 2014. Primary care is now being provided to the county’s indigent population at the Department of Public Health’s three major clinic sites.
* Led the department in its efforts to gain Federally Qualified Health Care designation for its clinic in the High Desert. This will allow the department to serve the approximately 10,000 uninsured and underinsured people in the area. This is crucial because there is currently a huge gap in services and a shortage of primary care providers in the area. Public Health is now the only FQHC facility in the High Desert. This will also allow the department to explore future FQHC designation for its San Bernardino and Ontario clinics. FQHC designation also allows for enhanced and stable future funding for clinic activities. FQHC designation allows the department to seek additional grant dollars for capital improvements and infrastructure support only available to FQHC facilities.
* Spearheaded Community Vital Signs, a multi-departmental, countywide and comprehensive health and needs assessment. CVS includes the county’s three health departments, Public Health, Behavioral Health, and Arrowhead Regional Medical Center. It has successfully brought together a vast array of health care professionals and interested stakeholders that will ultimately identify and address the needs of the community in terms of health and wellness, identify priorities for improving the county’s health, and develop strategies for addressing such. CVS also addresses the wellness aspect of the Countywide Vision.
* Improved partnerships with community agencies and other county departments. Worked specifically with the Inland Empire HIV Planning Council to help address transition of HIV/AIDS population to medical homes, address future Ryan White funding questions, and develop techniques for improved education and prevention.
Also under Ms. Raymundo’s leadership, the county received a grant from the Office of Justice Programs for the Second Chance Act Adult Offender Reentry Program. This 12-month planning grant allows the Department of Public Health to:
* Conduct a crucial strategic planning effort, through the San Bernardino County Reentry Collaborative (which is led by PH), to address the needs of the recently incarcerated and address strategies for successful reintegration into the communities within the county.
* Play a crucial supporting and partnership role with law enforcement and the Probation Department to assist in meeting the intent of AB109 – the inmate realignment law.
* Provide crucial data and evidence-based strategies that can be used to seek future grant funding.
Ms. Raymundo is currently working to develop long-term solutions to address the health care gaps and needs in Needles by seeking Rural Health Designation for the area to develop a model strategy for “connected care” as well as looking at innovative ways to increase and enhance the availability of the health care professionals serving the area.