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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

District Replacement to Come Down to Last Minute

NOV. 27 DEADLINE LOOMS; INTERVIEWS TO BE HELD IN TWO MEETINGS NEXT MONTH
HAYWARD, Calif. - Eden Township Healthcare Director Carole Rogers forced the issue Tuesday night for selecting a replacement for Dr. Walter Kran who resigned Sept. 28, it's just the other board members did not follow.

“I think appointing a board member immediately is a priority for us,” Rogers said during the meeting held in Hayward. “We need somebody who will stand up for the community and stand up for San Leandro Hospital.” After reading the questionnaires candidates submitted to the District, she believed a decision could be made Tuesday night.

I'm concerned it will go to the Board of Supervisors and they will appoint their pro-ACMC flunky, said Rogers.
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Dr. Harry Dvorsky, who is viewed as the most important vote on action to appoint a new member, immediately disagreed with Rogers and called for further evaluations of the seven applicants to the agreement of the board.

“There are some people who have shown interest and reading their statements is not enough for me to make a determination,” said Board Chair Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar.

Afterwards, Rogers expressed disappointment with the lack of support from other members, especially Dr. Vin Sawhney, who has forged a strong voting bloc against closing the hospital. “Knowing that people are actually dying in the hallways of San Leandro Hospital, I was expecting my fellow board members to come through.”

Dvorsky's intentions may have signaled Sawhney to abandon his colleagues desire to make a quick appointment without the requisite number of votes to pass. Sawhney's suggestion to hold two public hearings whereby candidates will be interviewed for roughly 20 minutes each was later adopted by a 3-1 vote.

“He must have his reasons, he just didn't talk to me about it,” said Rogers. “Maybe he just didn't think he could get a third vote.”

At separate moments, Rogers appeared to be setting the groundwork for what she believes is possible actions by the board to subvert its ability to choose a replacement and allow the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to make the pivotal decision.

One possibility Rogers hopes to stave off is a repeat performance of the Sept. 3 meeting critics say was in violation of the Brown Act which promotes open government. Rogers, who read her criticism of the board's action into the minutes, later said she did so out of concern one of the future special meeting tentatively set for early November will also be cancelled at the last minute.

The District has until Nov. 27 to appoint a replacement or run the risk of the choice becoming the jurisdiction of the Board of Supervisors. Supporters of saving San Leandro Hospital believe such a scenario would elevate a candidate who favors the plan put forth by the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC). “I'm concerned it will go to the Board of Supervisors and they will appoint their pro-ACMC flunky,” said Rogers.

ACMC hopes to replace rehabilitation beds lost from the seismically-deficient Fairmont Hospital with facilities at San Leandro Hospital. The plan, though, entails closing the hospital's emergency and surgical departments and diverting patients to outlying facilities at Highland Hospital in Oakland, St. Rose in Hayward or Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

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