Founder urges communities to weigh in on Clinica transition

  • [photo by Patric Hedlund, The Mountain Enterprise]

    [photo by Patric Hedlund, The Mountain Enterprise]

UPDATED STORY: Hours after we went to press we received additional information in this story. Please see the e-Edition to get the updated facts. This is the first in a series.

By Patric Hedlund, TME

On Thursday, April 23, Clinica Sierra Vista’s Chief Executive Officer Brian O. Harris submitted his resignation. He had worked just 26 months as CEO of the most expansive nonprofit network of healthcare centers serving rural, low-income communities in the San Joaquin Valley.

Mystery And Discord

The saga of the past two years within Clinica Sierra Vista is tumultuous, marked by massive purges of experienced managers, internal discord and chaos, followed by closing of clinics and withdrawing services from some of California’s most vulnerable populations. Under the cover of covid-19, a reported 70 or more additional layoffs occurred before Harris quit last week.

Through it all, the Clinica Sierra Vista Board of Directors has remained largely absent from the public eye, clamping down on communications to the public. Maintaining silence. Not explaining to the press, patients, or staff what was happening, or why.

On Wednesday, the retired founder, Steve Schilling, reported in an email what happened when he tried to reach…(please see below to view full stories and photographs)

Photo captions:

After local residents became alarmed at loss of vital services at their clinic, new Clinica CEO Brian Harris agreed to meet the Frazier Mountain public in a Town Hall in July 2018 hosted by The Mountain Enterprise, the Chamber of Commerce and the Frazier Park Library.

Photos from January 2018: In these photos from January 2018, Brian Harris was introduced as the new CEO of one of the state’s largest networks of healthcare clinics for low-income rural communities.

Steve Schilling, CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista, to retire

Brian Harris of North Carolina Rural Health Group to step up

Brian Harris (right), resigned last week as CEO of Clinica Sierra Vista. He is shown here in 2019 with Amado Verastegui (left)—who works for Clinica’s marketing contractor, Deprigo. The photo was shared widely on social media in Bakersfield by Harris himself.

Brian Harris was the first person invited to be interviewed for this article. We have not yet received a reply.

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This is part of the May 1, 2020 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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