Voter’s Edge California
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Presentado por
League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
November 8, 2016 — Elección General de California
Distrito especial

Desert Health Care DistrictCandidato para Director

Photo de Les Zendle

Les Zendle

Physician / Medical Director
24,457 votos (18.58%)Winning
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Mis 3 prioridades principales

  • Improving access to mental health and primary care services (for people with and without insurance - including the under-insured.
  • Encouraging community-based education programs to teach people how to navigate our often confusing healthcare system
  • Addressing healthcare disparities and culturally competent care to better serve the Coachella Valley's diverse population.



Profesión:Physician/Medical Director
Volunteer physician and medical director, Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine — Cargo designado (2011–current)
Member, Palm Springs Task Force on Ethics, Transparency and Government Reform — Cargo designado (2016–current)
Commissioner, Palm Springs Human Rights Commission — Cargo designado (2010–2015)
Physician (Geriatrics and Internal Medicine), Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region (1980–2010)
Board of Directors, AIDS Project Los Angeles — Cargo designado (2002–2008)
Board of Trustees, Union for Reform Judaism — Cargo designado (1995–1999)


Harvard Business School AMP , Advanced Management Program (1996)
University of Arizona M.D., Medicine (1977)
Occidental College A.B., Biology (1974)

Actividades comunitarias

President, Past President, Board Member and Member, Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (1980–current)

¿Quién apoya a este candidato?

Featured Endorsements

  • Congressman Raul Ruiz
  • Desert Healthcare District President Dr. William Grimm
  • Desert Stonewall Democrats

Organizaciónes (4)

  • Equality California
  • Riverside County Democratic Party
  • Democrats of the Desert
  • Planned Parenthood

Funcionarios electos (2)

  • Palm Springs City Councilperson Geoff Kors
  • Palm Springs Councilperson Ginny Foat

Individuos (2)

  • President-elect Eisenhower Medical Center staff Dr. Joseph Sanchez
  • Past Director Desert Healthcare District Dr. Glen Grayman

Creencias poliza

Documentos sobre determinadas posturas

My priorities


Below are a list of my priorities for the use of Desert Healthcare District grant money.

1.    Improving access to primary care and especially mental health care (for people with and without insurance – including the under-insured).  The District should help fund training programs for providers in these fields.  Also, the District can use grants to help non-profits expand their counseling services (e.g., Jewish Family Service, LGBT Community Center of the Desert, etc.)

2.    Developing community-based programs in health education --- both teaching people how to navigate our often non-integrated healthcare system (e.g., urgent care, emergency care, home health care, social services, etc.) and educating the community in wellness, disease prevention and self-treatment.

3.    Addressing issues of healthcare disparities and educating all providers in culturally competent care. The Coachella Valley’s Latino, Native American, African-American and the LGBTQ communities present unique challenges to those delivering high quality healthcare.  As a community-wide organization, the District is in a unique position to address issues these challenges.

District expansion to the eastern Coachella Valley


The following paper summarizes how I feel about the expansion of the Desert Healthcare District to the eastern Coachella Valley, as well as how I propose paying for the new services.

I very much support the expansion of the Desert Healthcare District to the eastern Coachella Valley for two reasons.  First, it is the most efficient way to offer residents of eastern Valley similar support in improving the health of that community --- something they need and deserve.  Second, dividing the Coachella Valley into two halves makes no sense from either a public health or an access to healthcare perspective.  Residents cross Cook Street (in both directions) to work, shop, eat and seek medical care.  Desert Regional Medical Center is home to the Coachella Valley’s only designated trauma center and the only neonatal intensive care unit. 

As to how to pay for the expansion, AB 2414 calls upon the Riverside County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo) to do an “analysis of funding sources available to the district”.  I would hope that such funding could come from the taxes residents already pay rather than new taxes.  Perhaps as part of the negotiations of a possible new lease agreement with Tenet Corporation for Desert Regional Medical Center, Tenet could contribute part of their profit to expand the district.

Tenet Corporation operation of Desert Regional Hospital


Should Tenet be given approval to operate the hospital beyond 2027?

Although the District Board does not manage Desert Regional Medical Center (DRMC), I believe it has a clear responsibility to ensure the hospital provides high quality affordable care to District residents.  The current lease with Tenet Healthcare does not expire until 2027, however, the District Board can represent the community to help identify issues and to continually improve the quality of care and service at the Medical Center. 

The recent low score from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is concerning, but it needs to be put in the context of other health scorecards such as the Hospital Safety Score from the Leapfrog Group, Consumer Reports, Healthgrades, US News and World Reports, etc.  Each of these scorecards gives us information about the quality of care and service at DRMC. Tenet should use all this information, as well as its own quality assessment activities, to continually improve.

Two services I think Tenet should certainly add are inpatient psychiatry beds and more beds in the Emergency Department.


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