Thursday, May 26, 2005

Jim Price Talking Sense

Comments from the Hospital Authority Board Meeting Monday, May 23rd

Ladies and gentlemen my name is Jim Price and I represent members of
EastBayLiving. We're a local advocacy group whose members all have one thing in common. We want to see the communities in our county thrive. My father worked at the medical center for over 30 years, which really meant that this hospital was part of my family for over 30 years. I grew up concerned about our patients, their care and our hospital.

I'm here tonight to suggest that with the addition of our new board members, that this is as good a time as any to begin to create a new environment of trust and open honest communication between the board, the administration, the employees and unions leaders. I've been talking and mostly listening to all of you for a while now and the one thing that concerns me the most is the lack of trust that exists. The internal bickering, lack of focus and a unified vision results in bad press and misrepresentation of the exceptional work that is done here every day.

Lack of trust and communication prevents caregivers, administrators, trustees and unions from focusing on the real work of building operational infrastructure. This Board should ask the consultants, the managers, the doctors, all the employees and their unions representatives to work with them to make this hospital better.

If the trustees lead the hospital on a comprehensive campaign to fix the billing department and took the time to educate and involve everyone, they could improve revenue and morale. Hospital workers and their unions want to help, doctors want to help, community members want to help. The trustees as leaders must provide the leadership and vision we all need to work together.

Knowing the medical center is under such tremendous financial pressure. We must all focus on improving revenue, which will create job security, good press and good relationships with the Board of Supervisors and other county agencies. We want to work on positive change, like making county debt repayment based on a percentage of net revenue. This will create an incentive for success. The county will profit from our success, instead of from service cuts.

This Board must work to create a culture of trust and cooperation. It must develop policies, which encourage cooperation and mutual respect between the County Hospital and other county agencies. In this way the medical center can lead the county, toward more cost effective and caring service for all residents who need county care.

Doctors, nurses, caregivers, staff, their union leaders, administrators, patients, community members and the voters of Alameda County all want the medical center to thrive. We want to help you to make this hospital better, please give us the opportunity.

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