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Williams chosen for hospital board

Submitted by on 1, December 8, 2009 – 6:00 amOne Comment

-4The Alameda Health Care District Board selected Leah D. Williams on Monday night to fill the seat vacated by Steven Wasson in October.

Williams was selected after interviews and 25 minutes of board deliberations that saw the three board members present at Monday’s meeting agreeing on two candidates for the seat on the board, which governs Alameda Hospital: Williams and Nancy Wise, a business consultant who works in the health care industry.

Two other candidates – Alameda Democratic Club co-president James Oddie and Stuart Chen, a chiropractor who served for eight years on the city’s Social Services Human Relations Board – were also considered as finalists for the job by board members.

Ultimately, Williams was considered the board’s consensus candidate, selected by the board, sworn in and seated.

“I think that we should appoint Leah Williams … who I think has the great mix of the kinds of skills and leadership that we’re looking for,” Board President Jordan Battani said.

Williams is an attorney and the CEO of her own business consulting firm, Strategies LLC, which offers advice on legal, policy and regulatory matters to companies and government agencies. She said she’d use her skills to work toward increasing the hospital’s revenue and its market share on the Island and to build partnerships with other agencies. She said she’d work to increase giving to the hospital and toward consideration of new specialties.

Williams also laid out her political connections, calling State Assemblyman Sandre Swanson “a dear friend” and including a letter of recommendation from Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson in her application package. (Hospital management has been working with Swanson in an effort to get legislation that would give us a break on that seismic deadline.)

Battani, Robert Deutsch and Robert Bonta, who attended Monday night’s meeting (J. Michael McCormick was out of town), praised the qualifications of the other applicants for the job and said they hoped they would consider serving on one of the hospital’s committees. Wise, for one, said she’s prepared to do just that.

“I’d love to serve on the strategic planning committee,” Wise said of the new opportunity the board members requested she consider. “I think it’s a good fit, and a way to stay engaged.”

Williams comes to the board at a time when the hospital faces an expensive and imminent state-mandated seismic retrofit and the pending loss of its contract with Kaiser Permanente, which generated $2 million in net margin for the hospital each year.

Other candidates for the seat included Henry Ramos and Elliott Gorelick. Jan Greene, a local journalist who has written extensively on health care, dropped out of the running, saying the time commitment would conflict with her family obligations.

The board had originally posted a November 6 deadline for the seat, but extended that by two weeks in order to generate additional candidates for the seat.

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