Alameda Hospital

A longtime nurse with a wealth of both on the ground and management experience in a range of health care settings has been picked to serve on the Alameda Health Care District Board.

The board on Thursday selected Lynn Bratchett to fill out the remainder of Elliott Gorelick’s term.

“I’m very excited,” Bratchett said of his new volunteer gig on the board, which oversees Alameda Hospital.

The county medical system that Alameda Hospital is effectively seeking to join has conquered – or held at bay – a host of seemingly intractable problems, though it faces fresh challenges with the implementation of health care reform and the pending expiration of a countywide sales tax that supports the services it provides.

CORRECTION, 2:09 p.m. Thursday, July 18: The Alamedan inaccurately listed Alameda Health Care District Board candidate Jon Murphy's job title as "Director of VN and RN programs, Merritt College"; he is an instructor at the college, an official with the Peralta Community College District confirmed, and also serves as coordinator of the college's medical assisting program. The Alamedan regrets the error.

An attorney, two nurses and a political staffer are among the half-dozen people who have applied for the Alameda Health Care District Board seat vacated by Alameda Hospital critic Elliott Gorelick – a job whose description could see some dramatic changes if a proposed affiliation deal with the county’s medical system is finalized.

Residents who attended a public information session Thursday on a proposal for Alameda Hospital to become an affiliate of the county medical system wanted to know more about the financial health of the county system, whether they would continue to pay the parcel tax they’re charged each year to support the hospital – and whether the parking problems that already exist there will get worse.

Alameda Hospital’s board unanimously signed off on a proposal Monday to explore a deal that would see Alameda County’s medical system taking over management and operation of the financially ailing hospital, a deal board members said they’re optimistic about despite the circumstances that produced it. The deal could be closed by the end of this year.

Health Care District Board member Robert Deutsch said the he and other hospital staffers have long marveled at the hospital’s ability to survive on its own as the number of freestanding community hospitals has dwindled.

Alameda Hospital’s board will consider pursuing a deal to hand over management of the financially ailing hospital to Alameda County’s health system, a deal the hospital’s top manager says will provide the cash needed to keep its doors open.

The Alameda Health Care District Board meets tonight to discuss approval of a non-binding letter of intent to pursue a merger with the Alameda Health System, and the county health system’s board is set to discuss it Tuesday. A deal could be closed by the end of this year.

Elliott Gorelick, the critic of Alameda Hospital who voters placed in a seat on the hospital’s board, says he is resigning.

“Although the Hospital is not something people really pay much attention to, its continued existence at a cost to the taxpayers of Alameda in both dollars and death is an embarrassment,” Gorelick wrote in a post on his blog that announced his resignation.

Gorelick could not immediately be reached for comment Monday night; the blog post said his resignation would be effective Tuesday.

Photo from the City of Alameda website.

The Alameda Fire Department is preparing to expand the non-emergency transport services it provides to patients at Alameda Hospital who need rides to appointments and other health care facilities. The City Council is set to consider changes to the contract between both entities on Tuesday.

The owners of a nursing home now being run by Alameda Hospital is suing the City of Alameda Health Care District and the hospital, claiming managers there breached their contract to lease the home by not taking over on the date planned.

In an April 9 lawsuit filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Waters Edge, Inc. is seeking $315,250 in damages, plus interest and court costs. A case management conference is scheduled for August 22.

Neither Waters Edge’s attorney nor a hospital representative returned calls seeking comment and further information regarding the suit.

Alameda Hospital has earned a two-year extension on the January 1 deadline for seismic upgrades to two buildings it is required to retrofit, a report Chief Executive Officer Deborah E. Stebbins is set to give on Thursday night says. The hospital now has until 2015 to complete the work, though managers have told the state they’ll need an additional three years beyond that.

The cash-strapped hospital has asked the state for permission to put off retrofit work on the hospital’s original and Stephens Wing until 2020 under a bill that permits hospitals to apply for extensions to that date. The retrofit work could cost as much as $15 million, according to a recent estimate.