Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Breaking News--Read it Here First
The Citizen
HAYWARD, Calif. - The Save San Leandro Hospital constituency got a shot in the arm Wednesday night with the appointment of Dr. Bill West to the Eden Township Healthcare District Board of Directors. Like a nurse administering a menacingly long needle, the ordeal was over before you knew it.

The embattled board unanimously named West to replace Dr. Walter Kran who resigned Sept. 28, but the semi-retired orthopedic doctor, who worked the early morning hours and admitted he was exhausted, left the meeting before knowing of his appointment.

West's lack of sleep Wednesday night may have accounted for his hasty opening statement to the board which last barely over two minutes, but colleagues describe him as a man of few words and more than capable. What West communicated to the board, though, was a new member intent on facilitating compromise between Sutter and the District.

Director Dr. Harry Dvorsky asked him how he would find a resolution to Sutter's lawsuit against the District over the purchase of San Leandro Hospital, West said, "Through compromise. I think there are compromises." He added little to the statement in regards to the Nov. 2 complaint against the District and told the board he had only learned of the suit yesterday.

Rumors continue to persist that Sutter, the District and the Alameda County Medical Center are working on a deal that would turn San Leandro Hospital into an urgent care facility with emergency room services. The board entered closed session talks after the appointment of West to discuss the pending litigation. Eden Medical Center CEO George Bischalaney was in attendance, but did not participate in the closed session meeting.

West was believed to be the front-runner to replace Kran because of his familiarity to Directors Dr. Vin Sawhney, Carole Rogers and Dvorsky. West raised a few eyebrows when he gave the impression he was selected to run rather than on his own aspirations. "I've been encouraged to apply for the vacant position on the board, so I'm here tonight doing that," said West.

The question heading into Wednesday's meeting was which direction Dvorsky would use his powerful swing vote facilitated by the departure of Kran. In a display of slick parliamentary maneuvering Sawhney asked first for Dvorsky's opinion as the board's senior member before proceeding.

The move allowed the board's two most secure votes for saving San Leandro Hospital--Sawhney and Rogers--to react to the swing vote's direction. Dvorsky quickly moved to support West citing a familiarity with his work over the years. Sawhney and Rogers concurred with Dvorsky, but Ratnesar did not verbalize a vote until asked by Eden Township CEO Dev Mahadevan. Once appointed, though, West comically could not be found.

Depending if he's ever found, West said he has not considered whether he would run for re-election after the remainder of Kran's term next year. "I have not seriously considered it," he said. "During the course of the year, if I'm on the board, I certainly will learn what the function of the board is, what the challenges are and whether I can contribute anything."

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