Monday, October 26, 2009

Candidates to Replace Kran Fail to Mention Hospital's Plight

The Citizen
One former member, a two-time candidate, two businessmen, two doctors and a lawyer all hope to place themselves on the ideologically split Eden Township Board of Directors and resolve the future of San Leandro Hospital, yet in applications obtained by The Citizen, none make reference to the facility and one gained the endorsements of those within the power structure of Sutter Health, the operator of both the hospital and Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

Seven applicants, announced last Friday, made their intentions known to replace Dr. Walter Kran on the board. Kran abruptly resigned Sept. 28 after citing stress from interests on both sides of the hospital situation. It is not clear whether a replacement will be named Tuesday at the board meeting held the Hayward Area Recreation District Office in Hayward at 5:30 p.m.

One source close to the board's dealings, believe the agenda also posted Friday and tightly controlled by the Board Chairman Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar may limit discussion detailing the procedures of choosing the next board member and forego a decision until next month. Doing so raises the possibility the next board member could be chosen by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors where only two of the five votes are believed to be in support of keeping the hospital and emergency services open. The District bylaws call for a successor within 60 days of the resignation, which arrives Nov. 27.

One possible scenario against such an action would entail one board member calling for a motion to vote on one or more candidates during the regularly scheduled monthly meeting. The name most likely to benefit by such a maneuver is semi-retired orthopedic surgeon Dr. William West. In his sparse application letter, West offers little, but hints at his relationship with two members viewed as sympathetic to San Leandro Hospital by alluding to conversations with Directors Carole Rogers and Dr. Vin Sawhney and important swing-vote Dr. Harry Dvorsky. It is believed West's greatest asset is his familiarity to Dvorsky, whose mental ability to make board decisions has been in question.

"I bring experience seeing the evolution of the facilities which included the development of Eden as a first class general as well as high level trauma hospital, the closure of one hospital (San Leandro Memorial), the construction of what is now San Leandro Hospital and its management by a series of owners," West wrote. "I believe this experience will bring good judgment in the decisions facing the board."

Former board member Dr. Francisco Rico, who lost his seat last year after six years, stated a desire to finish what he started as one of the leading advocates of Sutter's rebuild of Eden. "I was left with the feeling that I had not really finished my work [at the District]," Rico wrote, "that would be to see the new hospital open and to establish psychiatry service to replace the one we are losing."

Adding to the deeply-held suspicion Rico is backed by Sutter Health, he lists the endorsements of Eden CEO George Bischalaney, Chief of Staff Dr. Dave Black and former board member Suzanne Barba.

Among the other candidates, little-known Steven Ree Worley, who runs a medical equipment
company listed the support of Hayward Mayor Michael Sweeney and Councilman Francisco Zermeno.

Others with a eye on replacing Kran include Dr. Norbert Ralph, Businessman John Chin, Attorney Lester Friedman and, as reported last week Dr. Ronald Hull, who indicated in his application a desire to "look at all sides" of an issue given the available information.

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