Doctor's Medical Center Closes

eUpdate - April 21, 2015   
Doctors Medical Center Closes 
Health Care Resources in West County  
Earlier today, Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in San Pablo closed and is no longer accepting patients. The hospital, owned and operated by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, has been running at a deficit of over $18 million per year, and lacked the operating funds to remain open.

The closure of DMC is a loss to all of us in West County and reflects the failure of our federal government to adequately reimburse providers of Medicare and Medi-Cal services.  Eighty-percent of Doctors' patients relied on these government plans, and the federal  reimbursement rate didn't cover the cost of providing services.

While many of us have fought to get these reimbursements increased, the situation hasn't changed. Hospitals nationwide are closing for the same reason.

Hospitals like Doctors, with few privately insured patients, struggle to be sustainable.  Survival is especially hard for stand-alone hospitals, such as Doctors, who aren't part of a larger healthcare system.

For the past decade, I've worked very hard along with many others to keep DMC open. When the hospital filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and was set to close, I advocated for the County to provide funding to keep it open. While we cut the hospital's losses in half and passed a parcel tax in 2011to bring in new revenue, this wasn't enough to stem the operating losses and debt.

Click here for a chronology of Doctors Medical Center.

I understand the frustration that efforts to save the hospital weren't successful. Up until the last minute, many fought to  find a viable solution that would keep Doctors open and on sound financial footing.

As DMC's  closure became more likely, steps were taken to make sure everyone in West County has health care. Resources are available.
  • Contra Costa Health Services has compiled a detailed West County Health Care Resources Guide (click on link or see below),and a resource website, which includes information in several languages.
  • A new urgent care clinic has opened at LifeLong Medical Care, which is located across the street from Doctors, at 2023 Vale Road, San Pablo. The clinic is open noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week. 510-231-9800
  • Anyone without private insurance (Kaiser, Blue Cross, etc.) needing health advice is urged to call the County's free Advice Nurse Health Line as a starting point for getting services. The  line is 1-877-661-6230, option 1. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
John Gioia
Supervisor, District One 
Contra Costa County 
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D 
El Cerrito, CA  94530 

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Hit & Run Accident On Amend Rd. March 12, 2015

According to the Richmond P.D. the hit & run accident on Amend that occurred on Thursday, March 12th at approximately 3:00 p.m. was the first of two hit & run accidents that day caused by the same driver of a Suburban at approximately the same time. However, the R.P.D. was first notified about the second accident that occurred on Valley View and Morningside Dr. and did not learn about the first one on Amend until several hours later.  A witness to the Valley View accident took the license plate number and followed the driver to his residence on San Pablo Dam Rd..  Due to an 11 year old in the vehicle the Richmond Police performed a felony arrest of the driver on suspicion of D.U.I..  It wasn't until after 7:00 that evening that the R.P.D. investigators arrived on the scene on Amend to assess the damage and have the car removed. On behalf of the Richmond Police Department, Officer A. Dejesus apologized to all parties for the confusion that day, adding that in his 20 years of service he has never seen anything like this.
John Oster
President, Greenbriar Neighborhood Council


2015 Annual Neighborhood Council Meeting Update

 The 2015 annual meeting of the Greenbriar Neighborhood Council was held at the El Sobrante Library on Tuesday, Jan. 27th.     The guest speaker was Inspector Eric Munson from the Richmond Fire Department who informed us about the condition and use of the fire access roads in the neighborhood, the previous status of the weed abatement program as it pertained to the storm drain issue, and numerous other fine points of interest regarding our community.   Not only does he have an expertise in fire prevention, he is savvy on city government, sparking much debate--to the delight of all in attendance.  He will be a welcome guest at any future Neighborhood Council meeting!
    After a Power Point presentation on the neglected condition of the storm drains in the area by John Oster, Inspector Munson encouraged the council to continue in our pursuit of calling attention to the drain problem and to work with Wayne Madison, the head of Veolia, the drain and sewer management system currently used by the City of Richmond.  The Executive Board will be meeting with Wayne Madison on the storm drain issue in the near future.

    Will Plutte also had a Power Point presentation and by using a variety of maps illustrated how close the EBRP is coming in its quest to close the gap in the Bay Trail.  The gap exists due to the parcels of private properties near the Naphan Ranch.  We all hope this becomes a reality soon.

The Neighborhood Watch group for Kipling, Maison Way, & Garrison (KMG) also spoke at the meeting.  Discussion included the suggestion that although some had complained, sharing your email address as part of their list was safe.  

Storm Drain Update:
On Tuesday, February 10th, the Executive Board met with Wayne Madison of Veolia and it was agreed that progress on the cleaning of the storm drains in and around Greenbriar would begin on Tuesday, Feb. 17th. Updates to follow.

"Only share your primary email address with people you know."

 "Sharing your personal email address puts you at a greater risk to receive fraudulent emails."

Interestingly, if you enter (Do not share your personal email address) into the search box of your  browser, you will get 75, 300, 000 results!

  1.)  Keeping your personal email address private is a generally accepted principal in the universe of internet security.  Some think it is sacred information to be used only when absolutely necessary.
   At the meeting we were told of  "only one violation" of the Neighborhood Watch email list, which involved a person who advertised his own business.  It was not mentioned that Jack Etherington had his email account with ATT hacked.  For weeks afterward, my wife, myself and others who were on Jack's contacts list continued to receive email that appeared to come from Jack but was actually from a Canadian Pharmacy or some other unscrupulous entity.  Jack had a web based email client which can be more susceptible to attack than private accounts. But the bottom line is that when one person gets hacked, everyone in their contact list is hacked.  The more you give out your email address, the more susceptible to being hacked you are.  Fortunately for us, this was only a pharmaceutical ad company looking for new addresses and not a virus related hack.

   2.)  If you want neighbors to have your email address, by all means give it to them.  It is your neighbors who will watch your house when you are not there, not the neighbors who live several blocks away.  As the email list grows so must your trust that all members guard your address as carefully as you do.

  3.)  In this age of electronic mail, the telephone is still the #1 choice for communication in an emergency.  Even a text message is quicker and more reliable than an email.  Unnecessarily adding your personal email address to any list increases the chances of it being hacked.

Greenbriar Neighborhood Council never shares your email address with anyone.

John Oster
President of Greenbriar Neighborhood Council



Why Are Our Storm Drains Being Neglected?

Every since we moved to Greenbriar in 2008 I have never seen the City of Richmond clean the storm drains on the hill behind my house.  And today they are choked with weeds, dirt and debris. In hiking around the hills in the area, I have discovered that ours are not the only storm drains being neglected!
Come to the annual Greenbriar Neighborhood Council meeting this coming Tuesday, January 27, from 7:00 to 8:00, at the El Sobrante Library and find out more about this serious issue.

This is looking South and is behind homes on upper Rain Cloud.

This is one of the culverts on the hill behind my home on Maison Way.

A 'drop inlet' (drain) almost totally hidden by an overgrown Redwood tree.

This is the drain I cleared myself. A fire in the 1980's damaged the leech lines that put water runoff into the culverts.

From a map of storm drains in the Richmond area. The four drains between Kipling Dr. and Maison Way are indicated at the end of the red line.



Storm Drain Call To Action Update:

The Greenbriar Neighborhood Council has recently asked the City of Richmond to resume its practice of annually cleaning the storm drains on the scenic easements between Kipling Dr. and Maison Way.  As it has been only 6 years since we moved to this wonderful area, I was unfamiliar with this custom. But I can say that in that in those 6 years I have never seen the City out here on a cleaning mission.  This information came to me in part because of a chance meeting with one of our residents on the day I walked the hillside with the City workers.  Over her back fence this resident asked me if the City was going to resume cleaning the storm drains "like they used to".  In small communities like Greenbriar, some of the best information is learned over the back fence! It also helps to check into this website from time to time!
   We are presently waiting for a response from the City of Richmond's Environmental Manager Lynne Scarpa for the final word on this important issue.  As soon as we hear from her we will let you know how the City has decided to handle this.

John Oster
President, Greenbriar Neighborhood Council


Call To Action!

Did you know that we have 4 storm drains on the hillside behind some of us?  They are choked with weeds and need to be cleared!

The weather report said we may get up to 2 inches of rain between now and Saturday.
I cleared the lower one last year and I just cleared part of it again today.  But it would be great to have some help!  I will be up there again tomorrow. (And again today if there is a break in the rain.)  If you want to join me tomorrow, meet me at my house for coffee at 9:00 and we will venture up the hill from my backyard at 10:00.  Please bring any shovels, small rakes, brooms and other garden equipment you have.   You can contact me by phone at 415-725-8394 or my email

The view up there is great so bring your cameras or you phones!