Kaweah Health adopts new district map, wraps up redistricting process with public input

After holding a series of public meetings to gather community input, the Kaweah Delta Health Care District Board, which governs Kaweah Health, has wrapped up its redistricting process, approving a map that redraws the district’s five geographic zones to better reflect the population it serves for future board elections.

The new map, which was approved by the Board, has been submitted to the County of Tulare and will be in use for the November 2022 election and serve as the District map for the next 10 years. It outlines the healthcare district’s 183-square-mile boundary and its five geographic zones for publicly-elected directors.

The map now better reflects changes in demographics, population, and communities of interest that have evolved since the map was last redrawn in 1990. The district encompasses Visalia, Goshen, and parts of Ivanhoe and Farmersville.

It was one of seven maps submitted to the Board for consideration and it was largely based on a map submitted by a community member – Angel Ruiz, of Tulare, a Geographic Information System (GIS) program student at California State University, Bakersfield.  He said the map he submitted was developed based on communities of interest discussed during the Tulare County Board of Supervisors’ and the City of Visalia’s redistricting process meetings.

David Francis, Kaweah Health’s Board President, commended Ruiz, along with the representatives from the League of Women Voters and the Dolores Huerta Foundation for their engagement in the process. “We really appreciated the participation of the community,” he said.

That strong public participation left the Board with plenty to consider – three sets of proposed maps that were all well done and met the letter of the law, said Mike Olmos, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board who represents Zone 1. “From that effort, we had a successful process and we were in a position to make an informed decision that would benefit the District and the community,” he said. “The people who attended the meetings were sitting around the table along with the Board and at any time in the process, they could ask a question and make a comment.”

In the new map, the District’s five zones all have some boundary changes. The most significant improvement is the establishment of two Hispanic Citizen Voting Age Population zones.  The newly reshaped Zone 1 has a Hispanic population of 60 percent and the new Zone 3 has a Hispanic population of 53 percent. These zones give a higher probability that the person elected to serve on the Board in those zones will be representative of the people that live in that zone. The new district map can be viewed on Kaweah Health’s website at www.kaweahhealth.org/redistricting.

“The composition of our community has really changed quite a bit – we’re over 60 percent Hispanic today and in 1990, we were only 27 percent Hispanic,” said Gary Herbst, Chief Executive Officer, of Kaweah Health.

State and federal law requires municipalities redraw district boundaries every 10 years, in line with the most recent census, to help rebalance population. Kaweah Health started its redistricting process in January by inviting Tulare County residents to attend a series of meetings to offer input on redistricting and submit maps. Virtual and in-person meetings were held in February, March, and April.

The District’s current board members are: David Francis, President (Zone 4); Lynn Havard Mirviss, RN, Ed.D, Vice President (Zone 2); Mike Olmos, Secretary/Treasurer (Zone 1); Garth Gipson, Board Member (Zone 3); and Ambar Rodriguez, Board Member (Zone 5).  Elections will be held in November for Zones 2 and 4.

The board is responsible for the safety and quality of care, treatment, and services provided district wide. This board also establishes policy, promotes performance improvement, and provides for organizational management and planning.

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