Feb. 8, 2012 | The Alameda County Board of Supervisors may soon approve the hiring of a "Chief Turnaround Officer" to help facilitate recommended changes at St. Rose Hospital in Hayward at a salary of $325,000, according to staff reports.
The board pushed forward the item to its next meeting Feb. 28 for, among other reasons, it lacked the four aye votes needed to pass the proposal. Supervisors Nate Miley and Nadia Lockyer were absent from Tuesday morning's meeting leaving only three remaining members.
Health care consultants last October told Alameda County officials the struggling St. Rose Hospital is nearing an untenable financial situation if quick and drastic measures were not undertaken. St. Rose is a "disproportionate" facility, meaning it receives state and federal funds to to help with a larger number of uninsured patients.
"One of the key recommendations made by HFS Consultants was that St. Rose Hospital hire a CTO as soon as possible in order to implement some of the key operational restructuring required to sustain St. Rose Hospital as an acute care hospital in Alameda County," wrote Alex Briscoe, the director of Alameda County Health Care Services, in a memo to the county supervisors.
Although the position is unfunded, the county already filled the position last Jan. 9.
When the agenda item returns at the end of this month, it will likely include funding the job of cleaning up St. Rose's financial and operational woes from January 2012 to June 2013. Briscoe says the position would be funded not with general fund dollars, but through a loan to St. Rose from the county's tobacco settlement fund. St. Rose is already in debt to the Eden Township Healthcare District for a $3 million loan given last August for operations and payroll.
Bringing St. Rose back to health comes with a certain amount of expediency. The Eden Township Healthcare District is currently in talks to merge St. Rose with the District. Coupled with uncertainty over the fate of San Leandro Hospital, the future of the county's health care apparatus and its ability to aid a higher influx of uninsured residents is being tested like no other time in recent history.
A forum discussing the potential deal will be held Jan. 8 at the San Leandro Senior Community Center on East 14th Street starting at 6 p.m.