From the daily archives: Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The United States Navy will be holding a open house public meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Homebasing of the F-35. NAF El Centro is one of two air bases being considered.

There will be a meeting on Thursday at Southwest High School in the multipurpose room from 5:00pm – 8:00pm.

The Navy urges public comments to help arrive at the best possible informed decision about the proposal. Comments may be submitted during the 60-day public comment period between February 15 and April 22, 2013.


The U.S. Navy has released to the public a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a Draft General Air Conformity Determination to evaluate the potential environmental effects that may result from home basing the Navy F-35C (Joint Strike Fighter) at either Naval Air Facility (NAF) El Centro, Calif., or Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, California


The Navy’s fleet of aging FA-18C Hornet aircraft is approaching the end of its operational service life and must be progressively replaced in an efficient, economical and orderly manner consistent with national security needs. The F-35C has been developed as the Navy’s next strike-fighter aircraft as a replacement to FA-18C Hornet.

Beginning in 2016, seven Navy Pacific Fleet FA-18 squadrons (70 total aircraft) currently based at NAS Lemoore would progressively transition to the new F-

35C aircraft, with the transition to be complete by 2028. In the 2017 timeframe, the west coast F-35C training squadron (also known as Fleet Replacement Squadron or FRS), consisting of approximately 30 aircraft, will be established to meet the requirements for training Navy pilots. Many locations were considered for home basing, but after an initial screening of geographic location, airfield characteristics and compatibility of the Navy F-35C with existing missions, the Navy chose two potential West Coast basing alternatives, basing seven Navy F-

35C squadrons plus the training squadron

(100 total aircraft) at either NAS Lemoore or NAF El Centro. Although both alternatives are considered viable the Navy has identified NAS Lemoore as the preferred alternative in this DEIS.

No basing decisions have yet been made. Following public comment on the DEIS and the publication of the Final EIS, the Secretary of the Navy or his designee will publish a Record of Decision outlining the basing decision.

The DEIS evaluates consequences of the proposed action including associated construction and local training range usage, and analyzes potential effects to air quality, noise environment, land use, socioeconomics, infrastructure and community services, natural resources, biological resources, cultural and historic resources, safety and environmental hazards.

The DEIS and Draft General Air Conformity Determination have been made available for review and comment for 60 days. Anyone who requests a copy of the EIS will receive a CD copy in the mail. Electronic copies of these documents can be accessed on the project website (


By Mario Conde

The County Board of Supervisors will move forward to create a Local Initiative as part of a Two-Plan model of Medi-Cal Managed Care in Imperial County.

At Tuesday’s meeting Robin Hodgking Director of County Public Health reported that they have remained engaged in planning for the mandated transition of Imperial County form the traditional Medi-Cal free-for-service model to a managed care model of healthcare financing and service delivery. Hodgking said they have worked with Pacific Health Consulting Group to identify a Medi-Cal Managed Care model that would be the most effective and successful in transitioning our unique and challenged health care safety net. The Health Leadership Forum strongly recommends the implementation of what is called a Two-Plan model.

In California there are three models of Medi-Cal Managed Care that have been approved by the California Department of Health Care Services but the County is opting for the Two-Plan Model. The Two-Plan model contains a county-developed public plan called a Local Initiative and a single commercial plan. Both the Local Initiative and the commercial plan contract with the California Department of Health Care Services to operate as health plans within the county. Since the existence of two plans offers a choice to Medi-Cal beneficiaries, it meets federal standards and does not require a federal waiver for implementation. Currently, there are 14 counties who have either individually implemented a Two-Plan model or, through a JPA, created a regional Two-Plan model.

“Since we began researching and planning for this transition back in August of 2012, local control has been recurring priority. We have also needed to balance unique needs of our community with the aggressive timeline called for in the California Budget Act mandate. The Two-Plan model meets both our need for local control and the implementation efficiency needed to meet the mandated implementation goals.” Hodgkin said.

Hodgkin added that the Local Initiative component of the Two-Plan model emphasizes local control, local accountability and connection to the community and will give the community the opportunity to participate in the governance of Medi-Cal managed care plan. Local initiative have also proven to have a lower administrative cost than commercial plans which helps to ensure that our local health care dollars are directed toward health care, health improvements and provider reimbursement, she said.

Supervisor Jack Terrazas thanked Hodgkin since this plan will benefit local population since will have local control and will position the County in a better position now with the health care reform that is coming soon.

Supervisor Ryan Kelley also agreed that this model will benefit the residents of the Imperial Valley and have the local health care providers be in control and better serve the community as opposed of having the State coming to the valley and directing everything from Sacramento. The board passed this item unanimously.  The Board also approved an MOU with Pacific Health Consulting Group in the amount of $43,495 in which Pioneers Memorial Health Care District, Clinicas de Salud, El Centro Regional Medical Center, and the Public Health Department will share equally the cost of the consultant.




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