Healthcare leaders discuss expanding resources and recruiting medical professionals 

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Access to healthcare is a big priority in Humboldt County. Healthcare leaders in the community sat down with the Greater Eureka Chamber of Commerce to talk about solutions. Recruiting and retaining healthcare providers is a big topic among healthcare experts from Providence, the Humboldt Independent Practice Association, and the Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services.

“One of the issues that is always brought up is recruitment of physicians to the area,” said James Goldberg, the Interim Associate Chief Medical Officer of Providence. “Last year they initiated this Destination Humboldt Program, which is even more of a repayment program to entice new providers here.”

In the last year, they’ve hired 12 new providers for primary care and hospital services. The Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services has five programs to increase healthcare access. 

“We enroll people into health coverage, including covered California and Medi-Cal,” said Nancy Stark, the Legislative and Policy Manager at the Humboldt Department of Health and Human Services. “There’s about 60,000 people in Humboldt County who are enrolled in Medi-Cal the county is also the specialty mental health provider for people with serious mental health needs and children with serious emotional disturbance. We’re also a substance use disorder treatment provider for Medi-Cal patients. We have public health, we have public health, nursing, laboratory, communicable disease response and environmental health.”

The health department said mental and behavioral health services are a priority in the county. They received a grant to build a behavioral health crisis center on the Mad River Hospital campus.

“It’s going to include a sobering center crisis, stabilization crisis, residential and we hope to have that open and accepting patients in December 2026,” Stark said.

The Department of Health and Human Services of Humboldt will also sponsor a non-profit clinic this summer that will provide onsite medical, dental and vision services for two days. This is an effort being made by the California Care Force non-profit.