Faced with a more challenging and complex health-care industry, the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors plans to add as many as seven new members to its separate six-member board that oversees the hospital’s day-to-day operations.
Board Chairman John Zoglin said last week that since the beginning of the year, members have explored expansion to make the 542-bed hospital, with locations in Mountain View and Los Gatos, more competitive and accountable.
“What it could do is give us more depth,” said Zoglin, adding that the current board, for example, could use members with more financial expertise.
Zoglin emphasized that board expansion relates to the operational board, not the district board. Because it is a public hospital, built with community funding, El Camino is in the “strange” situation, Zoglin said, of having two governing boards. The district board holds public meetings and allows community input. The operations board discusses trade secrets and personnel decisions in private, but the operations board meetings also are open to the public.
Both boards have the same members, except that the operations board includes the hospital’s chief executive officer.
Tomi Ryba, recently named El Camino’s CEO, will join that board when she assumes her position Oct. 5.
Zoglin said changing or adding to the five-member district board would be too involved and require voter approval. District board members are elected, although board members have been appointed in recent years due to a lack of candidates.
The board is scheduled to begin further discussions next month, Zoglin said, on “how we recruit these people.” He said the board members want to add three members by June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.
Zoglin, a Los Altos resident, said the dismissal of former CEO Ken Graham earlier this year “wasn’t tied at all” to the board’s quest for expansion.
In a controversial move, the district board in February voted 3-2 not to renew Graham’s contract, which expired June 30.
However, the hospital’s brief budget crisis last year and implementation of the ACE (Accelerated Continuous Excellence) cost-cutting program led board members to believe “we weren’t sure we were doing things as well as we could,” he said.
Zoglin said the board expansion process would be discussed publicly.
“I expect at least part of the process will involve (public) engagement,” he said.