Hospital board to seek applicants for vacant seat
Members of Alameda’s hospital board are preparing to embark on what’s becoming a familiar ritual: They’ll be selecting a new member to replace someone who’s moved on to another office midterm.
The board is slated tonight to sign off on the timing and process to replace Stewart Chen, who’ll be heading to the City Council effective December 18. While Chen will be filling out the remainder of newly minted Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s council term by virtue of his third-place finish in the November 6 election, the hospital board has a formal application and selection process it uses to fill midterm vacancies.
Board president Jordan Battani said the health care district’s appointment process is a good way for someone who might not yet be ready to make a full, four-year commitment to public service to get involved and gain some experience.
“We've had great experience in prior appointment processes, getting good board candidates, and also finding new volunteers to participate in our Finance and Community Outreach committees,” said Battani, who joined the board through the appointment process in 2006 when Lena Tam left to take a City Council seat.
Chen’s seat will be the first the board has had to fill midterm since 2009, when Steve Wasson – who was appointed to the board in 2006 when Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft was appointed to the Planning Board – stepped down. Battani took Tam's seat when she moved on to the council in December 2006, Bonta was appointed after Laurie Harper left in September 2007 and Robert Deutsch joined the board after Kevin Farrell left in December 2007, the hospital's director of community relations, Louise Nakada, said.
The tentative timeline to be considered by the board would see the application process for the vacancy open this Thursday, December 6, with an application package due on January 3, 2013. The package would include a signed letter of interest outlining an applicant’s qualifications, a resume, two or more references and disclosures detailing any conflicts of interest the applicant.
Applicants will also be required to authorize a background check and to explain why they’re interested in joining the board, their views on the roles of the board and hospital management, their vision for the future of the hospital and the unique value they would bring to the board.
If more than 10 people apply for the position, which does not come with a salary, board members will list their top 10 choices, with the candidates receiving the most votes moving forward in the selection process.
Under the proposed timeline, an applicant conference will be held on January 23 at Alameda Hospital and board interviews and an appointment will take place on January 28.
The deadline for making an appointment is February 16, 60 days after Chen is sworn in as a City Councilman.
Whoever is selected will face a hospital that, like others in the region, has struggled financially, though the hospital’s most recent financials may offer a sign that efforts to shift the hospital’s service mix are having their desired effect. The hospital experienced an operating loss of $18,000 for the month of October – far less than the losses it has suffered in previous months and than the $80,000 loss hospital administrators anticipated for the month.
The hospital’s new wound care center brought in $32,000 more than expected in October, garnering 63 percent more patient visits than administrators anticipated. And it had $1.2 million in cash on hand at the end of the month, up from $950,000 the month before.
The hospital’s leaders will need that money to make equipment fixes that must be completed in order for the state to be willing to consider granting the hospital a seven-year extension on making required seismic fixes that are expected to cost between $14 million and $15 million – money the hospital doesn’t have and has been so far unable to borrow.
Alameda’s voters approved the formation of the city’s health care district in 2002, along with a $298 a year parcel tax to help cover Alameda Hospital’s expenses. The board was set up to administer the district and oversee hospital operations.