Sun04202014

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Voters will pick three for hospital board


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In the Nov. 6 election, local voters will be tasked with electing three candidates to the El Camino Hospital District’s five-member board of directors. Overall, the field of potential district board members comprises five candidates and includes two local attorneys, two incumbents and a former member of the Sunnyvale City Council. To better inform readers of their choices, the Town Crier posed the following five questions to the candidates. Here are their responses.

Wesley Alles (incumbent)

What prompted you to run for a seat on the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors?

I have been a director for 10 years and have served as board chair and chair of the Governance, Compliance, Executive Compensation and Finance committees. Recently, the board appointed three new hospital board members and 21 board committee members. These appointees have deep experience, but most have not had experience in health care nor governance expertise related to hospitals. I want to help mentor them to take full advantage of their expertise.

 

What attributes make you qualified to be an El Camino Hospital District board member?

I have held many leadership positions while serving on the district and hospital boards of directors, as well as leading many community initiatives and organizations. My personal characteristics are to be a good listener, to be thoughtful before making decisions. My style is collaborative, believing that everyone in a conversation has something important to add. I understand health-care issues and solutions. Most important, I want to preserve El Camino as a community-owned hospital.

 

What are the greatest challenges facing the hospital and district?

Health-care laws, regulations and policies constantly change. This year, with health-care reform, there will be many new regulations suggesting that hospitals will need to adapt. In addition, Medicare and Medi-Cal will issue significant new regulations. Each decision will have important implications.

The health-care landscape is changing, such that hospital relationships with patients, physicians, nurses, other employees and the community at large will require thoughtful adaptation. Decisions related to governance, finance, medical care, strategy, information technology and compliance with health-care policy will be challenging. Preserving El Camino as a community hospital is a top priority.

 

How would you address these challenges?

Focus and consider one issue at a time. Gather sufficient information. Encourage dialogue among the board, executive team, employees and members of the community. Build consensus. Keep in mind that the mission of the hospital is to provide quality care, with caring, to produce excellent medical outcomes and to do all of this with sound fiscal management.

Health-care experts indicate that there will be significant mergers and acquisitions among hospitals because of competition for shrinking resources. My goal is to ensure that El Camino will thrive as an independent, locally governed, not-for-profit hospital that is responsive to community need.

 

List three goals you would like to accomplish if elected.

• Maintain quality care delivered with compassion for every patient and continue our outreach in the community to help those who cannot afford medical care.

• Our strategic plan has a focus on population health, and while this may seem paradoxical, I want to see the health of the community continue to improve because of directed wellness and prevention actions taken by the hospital.

• We must maintain our fiscal excellence through effective management.

Alles does not have a campaign website.

Dennis Chiu

What prompted you to run for a seat on the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors?

I decided to run for the El Camino Hospital District board because I wanted to make a great hospital even better. The Civil Grand Jury made the legal finding that the board was not accountable to the taxpayers. LAFCo (the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission) ordered the hospital to be more accountable and transparent. I would like to add my legal and nonprofit health-care experience to the board to accomplish these tasks and to chart a more charitable path.

 

What attributes make you qualified to be an El Camino Hospital District board member?

As former vice president and general counsel of a health-care nonprofit, a former malpractice litigator and a current corporate transactional attorney, I am the most qualified candidate to help the board avoid future legal troubles and stick to its nonprofit community mission. As a former chief operating officer and general counsel of a high-tech company and startup cosmetics company, I am uniquely qualified to provide oversight of the business of the hospital.

 

What are the greatest challenges facing the hospital and district?

The greatest challenge facing the hospital is adapting to the changing health-care environment under the Affordable Care Act. No matter if you believe that health-care costs will go up, or the hospital will do better because more individuals will be insured and have their health-care bills paid by their insurance companies, change is coming. The manner in which El Camino Hospital proactively responds to this changing reality will define it for future generations.

 

How would you address these challenges?

The key to responding to the new health-care environment is providing more preventive care in the community by the hospital itself and by supporting nonprofits within the district. Expanding preventive health care in the community is both an act of goodwill and a practical way to build relationships with newly insured prospective patients under the new health-care law.

 

List three goals you would like to accomplish if elected.

• Maintain excellent patient care, while increasing preventive care to the community.

• Increase hospital funding to district health-care nonprofits.

• Ensure accountability to district taxpayers by resolving conflicts of interest between taxpayers and the hospital corporation.

Each goal is necessary to build a better and more community-oriented hospital that is ready for the new health-care environment.

For more information, visit www.dennischiu.org.

Bill James

What prompted you to run for a seat on the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors?

El Camino Hospital is a great hospital with a bright future, but it’s a complicated and uncertain environment in the health-care business these days, and I’m running for the board to make sure the hospital uses its considerable institutional and financial advantages to the maximum benefit of district residents, while remaining on a sound financial footing. I want to improve transparency and ensure that district and hospital resources are used to benefit district residents.

 

What attributes make you qualified to be an El Camino Hospital District board member?

As a Stanford-trained lawyer and Naval Academy-trained engineer, I am well prepared to understand the legal and technical matters that come before the board. I have helped to build a thriving local patent firm, and as a patent attorney I assimilate complicated information quickly. I have served for six years on the board of the Community Services Agency, in leadership roles for fundraisers at my kids’ schools and as an AYSO soccer coach.

 

What are the greatest challenges facing the hospital and district?

The greatest challenges facing the hospital and district today are the complexity and uncertainty of health-care policy, regulation and funding; the continuing trend toward consolidation, which makes it harder to remain independent; and the urgent need to restore public confidence in the financial and governance practices and decision making at the hospital and district. The recent Civil Grand Jury report and the audit by the county Local Agency Formation Commission concluded that the district and hospital need to change dramatically the manner and extent to which they disclose financial and operating information to the public.

 

How would you address these challenges?

I will ensure that the recommendations of the LAFCo audit are implemented fully, in a spirit of full disclosure and openness, and not grudgingly or by making only superficial changes. To further improve public confidence and ensure that the hospital and district have the focus and financial strength to weather an uncertain environment, I will address the growing misalignment between the priorities of the district-owned hospital corporation and the obligations of the district, exemplified by the $53.7 million purchase of Los Gatos Community Hospital, which is located well outside the district and serves mainly communities that are not in our district.

List three goals you would like to accomplish if elected.

• The district must implement fully the disclosure recommendations in the LAFCo report, and remain no longer the deserving object of criticism for lack of complete transparency.

• I will ensure that the district stays focused on serving the needs of district residents, including by investing hospital earnings back into our district.

• I will challenge the hospital to reach out from its campus to become an active and visible promoter of health and well-being in our community.

For more information, visit www.billjames2012.com.

Julia Miller

What prompted you to run for a seat on the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors?

After reading the Grand Jury and LAFCo reports, letters to the editor and watching webcast meetings, I felt compelled to enter the race. The LAFCo report raised serious concerns regarding El Camino Hospital, a key component and centerpiece of our community. The open seat is an opportunity to continue my public service. I have the time, energy, background and experience to contribute, as an elected board member, to improve our hospital.

 

What attributes make you qualified to be an El Camino Hospital District board member?

I have a broad depth of experience having served eight years as mayor and councilmember in Sunnyvale, a city with a national reputation as a well-run city, operating with a 20-year budget system. I worked in high-tech for many years and served on several regional and local boards. My public service background gives me experience in building alliances, policy making, problem solving and acting on issues with both accountability and transparency.

What are the greatest challenges facing the hospital and district?

Several challenges face the district:

• Being prepared for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

• Balancing the need to be accountable to the taxpayers while continuing to provide patient safety and the best health care to residents.

• Needing to treat all workers with dignity and respect.

• Reducing health-care costs.

• Managing the budget to handle the increasing needs for beds and services.

• Meeting medical needs with new state-of-the-art technology/equipment for the increasing needs of the district.

How would you address these challenges?

I would address these challenges by reviewing budget projections, strategic plans, professional staff and employee headcount forecasts, and equipment requirements. I would want to build strong relations with the CEO and other board members in order to understand the delineated goals, objectives and vision for the future of the hospital. By accomplishing the above, I would expect to increase the efficiency and affordability
of health-care services.

List three goals you would like to accomplish if elected.

• To continue to see the hospital as an essential community asset, and have an elected board chosen by the community it serves.

• To ensure that tax dollars are returned to the community for the support of health-care needs.

• To ensure transparency, accountability, efficiency and affordable health-care services.

For more information, visit www.juliamiller.net.

John Zoglin
(incumbent)

What prompted you to run for a seat on the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors?

In our community, the institutions managed by publicly elected officials are the pillars upon which the quality of life is built – including local government, school boards and our district hospital. I have a deep emotional engagement with and commitment to the community and the hospital. My father was the third chief of staff at El Camino Hospital. I can improve the hospital’s ability to successfully deliver on its mission to provide quality health care throughout the district.

What attributes make you qualified to be an El Camino Hospital District board member?

Oversight of a district hospital in California is extremely complex. I have a proven track record including:

• Increased transparency by adding 24 community members to six new oversight committees.

• Doubled Community Benefit expenditures to $5.5 million per year.

• Improved efficiency and accountability by establishing an Organizational Scorecard to keep administrators aligned with the hospital strategy.

• Expanded the Women’s Hospital, Stroke Center, Heart and Vascular Institute, South Asian Heart Center and Chinese Health Initiative.

What are the greatest challenges facing the hospital and district?

Two years ago, El Camino Hospital began losing millions of dollars. The hard work undertaken by the entire hospital team reduced annual costs by an estimated $70 million.

The health-care industry is evolving quickly; independent community hospitals such as El Camino are coming under increasing financial pressure. To maintian a high-quality-of-care, independent hospital, we must execute on the Positioning Statement: El Camino Hospital will first be a value-based health-care provider offering top decile, acute-care quality at mid-level pricing, moving toward continuum partnerships that integrate care coordination and delivery strategies focused on the triple aim of quality, service and affordability.

How would you address these challenges?

• Focus on quality of care not just at the hospital, but across the continuum of care. El Camino Hospital must take a leadership role in coordinating care with caregivers throughout episodes of need.

• As an institution, we can no longer be committed only to quality. El Camino Hospital must also do whatever we can to make health care as affordable as possible.

• The delivery of health care is increasingly a partnership. Patients’ and their families’ needs and wishes deserve respect.

• We must reinvigorate the spirit of innovation that delivered the first Medical Information System in the country here at El Camino Hospital.

List three goals you would like to accomplish if elected.

• Continuum of care: Focus on quality of care not just within the confines of the hospital campuses, but throughout the district.

• Affordability: With health-care costs continuing to escalate, El Camino Hospital must also do whatever we can to make health care affordable.

• Maintaining El Camino Hospital as an award-winning, independent hospital – accountable to all stakeholders, not any special-interest group.

For more information, visit www.zoglinforelcaminohospitalboard.com.

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