Editorial: Fung, Kasperzak for hospital district board

El Camino Hospital and its El Camino Healthcare District remain unique among local medical institutions. Unlike Stanford, Kaiser or Palo Alto Medical Foundation, we, the public, get to vote on district leadership. Two seats on the five-seat district board of directors await your decision in the Nov. 6 general election.

You have your choice among four candidates. We believe Mike Kasperzak and incumbent board member Dr. Peter Fung are the most qualified.

We have mixed feelings about doctors serving on hospital boards. On one hand, you want sensitive representation for the backbone of your health-care operations. On the other, you don’t want board members subservient to special interests – a reason we reject candidates tied to labor unions.

Fung, however, has demonstrated that he has the best interests of the district as a whole at heart during his first four years on the board. He has embraced strategies – opening a series of outpatient health clinics, for example – that bode well for the district’s future. The issues of physician retention and competitive reimbursement remain, but we believe Fung will be part of the solution, not the problem.

We like Kasperzak, former member of the Mountain View City Council, because of his knowledge and experience in a vast array of local government settings. He is an astute community representative and a voice that is needed on the hospital district board. He remains a competent, committed public servant who will need no learning curve on the nuances of the Brown Act or how governance works.

Kasperzak raises appropriate questions about transparency on the board. The departure of the last two CEOs, prior to Dan Woods, took some of us by surprise. While such personnel issues are exempt from public review, the community is entitled to at least some general explanation rather than none at all. And there’s this question: How did the hospital overshoot financial expectations by $87 million in the last fiscal year? While a pleasant surprise, the public is due an explanation of what happened. Perhaps our recommended candidates can assist in providing an answer.

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