In their own words: Jordan Battani on the hospital board vacancy
On November 2, in my role as President of the City of Alameda Health Care District, I asked the other members of the District Board to consider a proposal to extend the deadline for applications to fill the recent vacancy on the five-person board. Hoping that providing additional time will result in more applicants, we voted unanimously to extend the deadline. I’m writing this note on Friday, Nov. 6, and as of today there is only one completed application on file with the District Clerk at Alameda Hospital. (Ed. note: The hospital had three applications as of Monday.)
The District Board is a wonderful example of community responsibility in action. Stewardship of the District parcel tax, more $5 million a year of our neighbors’ money, and of the hospital where they get their health care is a big responsibility. It doesn’t mean we have to know how to deliver health care, or how to run a hospital. It does mean that, as Board members, we have to make sure that we have staff and executives who know how to do those things, and we have to make sure that they are getting done.
Being a District Board member also means you get a very personal experience of local democracy in action. Every Board member is a public official, and serving a full, four-year term means running for the office in a general election. This is an important and valuable requirement, after all, the Board is responsible for a big chunk of taxpayer money! The drawback, I think, is that the thought of running an election is intimidating to many people who might otherwise volunteer to serve.
The current vacancy is a great chance for the person who wants to volunteer, but isn’t quite ready to run for public office. The new Board member will be an interim appointment through 2010. If they want to continue to be on the Board, they’ll have to run for election in November, but they’ll run as an incumbent.
The next few years will bring significant change and challenges for Alameda Hospital and the District. We operate in one of the most competitive regional health care markets in the country. Continuing to pursue our patient safety and quality objectives, develop and deliver new and innovative services, meet and exceed new mandates for seismic safety and electronic medical records while trying to anticipate the impacts of federal and state health care reform efforts will take all our energy and focus.
We need excellent Board leadership to succeed. Anyone with an interest in the health and health care needs of our community should think about applying – it’s easier than ever because we extended the deadline to November 20.
More information about Alameda Hospital and the appointment process may be obtained by visiting the Hospital’s website at www.alamedahospital.org or by contacting the District Clerk, Kristen Thorson, at 814-4001.