CCHD Starts Plans for Future Facility Needs

Written by Theresa-Marie Wilson

Theresa-Maria Wilson has been a journalist covering the North Coast and South County area for over 20 years. She is also the founder of Cat Noir CC and is currently working on a novel.

October 21, 2021

The Cambria Community Healthcare District is housed in a 60 – year-old building that is in need of major upgrades.

A North Coast ambulance company will consider a new space that will fit the growing needs of the community it serves. The building that houses the Cambria Community Healthcare District (CCHD) could require a large-scale upgrade or an entirely new facility.

CCHD entered into a not-to-exceed $84,000 consulting contract with Vanir Construction Management Inc. to evaluate the condition of the district’s approximately 60-year-old building on Main Street and to look at options for meeting future facility needs for ambulance crews and administrative staff.
“The existing building has a number of significant problems with plumbing and electrical infrastructure, heating/air conditioning systems, and layout. It also lacks a garage for housing ambulances,” said Mike McDonough, administrator for CCHD, “Vanir’s work will instruct us on options for remedying these problems.”

Under the contract, Vanir will provide a facilities condition assessment, architectural programming, feasibility and conceptual design studies, and conceptual project budgets and schedules looking at an upgrade of the existing facility or building a new one.
“They’re going to help us identify, in great detail, what it’s going to cost and what they think it should look like,” said McDonough. “They will generate the detailed information that we need to have to make a good decision.”

The District operates an Advanced Life Support ambulance (ALS) service providing emergency response to the residents of Cambria, San Simeon and the rural areas surrounding these communities. It also owns the existing medical building and provides community health education.
CCHD responds to about 150 calls a month and has four ambulances in their fleet, 11 fulltime employees and about 20 reserves, or part-time employees. Currently two personnel are on 24-hour shifts seven days a week. The number of on duty paramedics is expected to increase at some point.
“We have the ambulance crews quarters here — they are housed 24/7,” McDonough said. “They make do, but it’s just not adequate; they don’t have a proper kitchen and living space. They have bedrooms and so forth but just not the way that it should be. With respect to the great work that they do, they should have a nice place to live when they’re here. They basically spent their life here.”

Additionally, the building needs ADA compliance upgrades and a fire-sprinkler system should be installed.
Currently, a portion of the building is leased to Community Health Center of Cambria (CHCC). CHCC intends to move to new space in early 2022.
Vanir’s work is expected to be complete in time for a report to the CCHD Board of Directors in January of 2022.
In other CCHD news, the company was awarded about $76,000 in a FEMA Grant to purchase ambulance power gurney/loading systems that will be installed in two ambulances.

Partially funded by the FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant, the new equipment uses a hydraulic power system to raise, lower or smoothly maneuver the gurney into and out of the ambulance. This offers several advantages for both patients and ambulance crewmembers.
“Our patients will have a safer and more comfortable transfer in and out of the ambulance,” said Operations Manager and paramedic Tim Benes adding that crewmembers would also benefit from a lowered risk of serious muscle strains, spine injury or even permanent disability.
In addition to the new power gurney/loading systems, the CCHD recently upgraded communication radios, replaced personal protective gear, and acquired a low-mileage 4-wheel drive ambulance.

The equipment upgrades were possible through funding support from local foundations such as the Cambria Community Council and Project Heartbeat, through private donations, and from federal agencies. According to McDonough the CCHD has received more than $180,000 in grant awards and pledges over the past year and a half.

The CCHD continues to seek charitable contributions to its 501(c)(3) not for profit trust, as well as additional grant funding to meet its financial needs. Local tax support and revenue from ambulance services does not fully cover the cost of operations and capital spending. For those who wish to assist in funding our mission, please contact the CCHD at (805) 927-8304 or visit the District’s website:
For more information or to make a donation, go to

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