BVEF Abandons 2nd Clinic


Last updated 5/7/2021 at 3:15pm

The Borrego Valley Endowment Fund (BVEF) announced Pioneer Memorial Healthcare District (PMHD) has withdrawn from negotiations to operate a new medical clinic in Borrego Springs. The announcement was made via a press release from Dr. David Garmon on April 25, 2021.

Bruce Kelley, who spearheaded the plans for the second clinic, has resigned from the BVEF Board. According to David Liebert, a director on the board, “Bruce was one of the hardest working members of our board, and he will be missed.”

Kelley was active in recruiting Pioneer to open a controversial second health care clinic in Borrego Springs.

Pioneer’s CEO Larry Lewis cited the need to rebuild internally as the reason for Pioneers’ decision: “COVID was a very difficult experience for all healthcare organizations, and we have all agreed internally that we need to stay focused on rebuilding the current clinic, emergency room, and surgery volumes; while reviving the employee workforce and focusing on the effective startup of our new cardiac cath lab and recently added endoscopy lab/suite. It saddens me to say that we will not be able to risk starting up another service location at this time.”

The BVEF press release confirmed it is not involved in negotiations with other potential operators of a new medical clinic in Borrego Springs.

‘The BVEF will continue its mission to support healthcare in the valley. The BVEF is hopeful that the ongoing reorganization of the Borrego Community Health Foundation will lead to a renewal of the long-term relationship and partnership that previously existed between the two organizations.”

According to Dr. Sarah Rogers, former CEO of BVEF, “The BVEF Healthcare Committee has been stalled without clear directions to improve the clinic for several years. After joining the BVEF as CEO, it became apparent to me that there was unwillingness within the committee to collaborate. Contractual discussions for not only clinic operations that BVEF might fund, but also about air medical evacuation services supported by the BVEF were mired in negotiations without clear direction. With changes to the Healthcare Committee, I believe the BVEF can get behind new efforts to improve the clinic in Borrego Springs.

“There is a group of volunteers within the Borrego Springs community with medical expertise who are interested in working with the BCHF monitors and Board to discuss real requirements. Clear understanding of population healthcare needs is required and I believe this group can identify target goals for improvements to the existing clinic. The BVEF can and should have a role in that discussion as the fund established to provide support to clinic improvements. Going forward, we should be able to create lasting improvements to healthcare in Borrego Springs”

When asked about the discontinuation of discussions with Pioneer, Bruce Kelley stated, “Although I don’t have a healthcare project right now, I expect the COVID Task Force will be active at least through June.”

Bob Kelly, president of BVEF reported, “ I don’t know what Bruce is going to do with regards to the COVID Task Force. BVEF supports the Task Force, but it’s not a program of BVEF.”