After having numerous meetings with a diverse group of Marin citizens, many of them in the healthcare and legal fields, and spending dozens of hours reading the available documents pertaining to the board, I do believe there are many issues facing Marin Healthcare District Board. I also believe these will not be brought to light by any other candidate but myself.
The first of which I already addressed above, but the result of having a diversity lacking board is that there is little chance for anyone to want to play devil’s advocate or rock the boat so to speak.
I, however, have no interest, profit, gain, or connection in any way to the medical field specifically to Marin General, as the surgeon does. It would be only the residents and constituents of Marin County’s best interest that I would seek to protect.
According to my research, when the Marin Healthcare District was formed in 1946, a resolution that was made and the original Marin Healthcare District Board that was appointed by the Marin County Supervisors was made up of community business leaders, all men, of course, because it was 1946.
However, it should be noted that the Marin County Board of Supervisors appointed a businessman from 5 different geographical areas, including San Rafael, Inverness, Larkspur, Mill Valley and Novato covering the diverse constituency of Marin, and according to my research….not one of these men appointed to the Marin Healthcare District Board was a doctor.
Construction is well underway at the award-winning Marin General Hospital and I have reviewed the plans, drawings and other media available on the MGH website, researched the building contractors. architects and reviewed the budget and other documents that are made available to the public via the Marin Healthcare District and The Marin General Hospital Websites.
One of my concerns is that this board is perhaps not using the full oversight it is afforded to use of the budget that the Bylaws of the Marin Healthcare District provide to it.
It seems to me after reviewing meeting notes and the attachments that were available online that the board could be more thorough and detailed in its role of oversight.
It appears that the meetings held by the Marin Healthcare District would be better if held more frequently due to the amount of information that needs to be analyzed, reviewed and discussed due to a large amount of construction currently underway, not to mention all the employment contracts, and subcontractor agreements. I would also suggest video recording the meetings and posting them on the District’s website, so the public can better follow the progress, and issues being discussed similarly to the way the Board of Supervisor’s posts their meetings for public viewing.
While I understand that Marin Healthcare District leases it’s building and facilities to Marin General Hospital Inc. a nonprofit business that is privately run, and Marin General Hospital maintains its own private corporate board, it seems to me that the bylaws for Marin Healthcare District still allow for oversight of their employment contracts, including scrutiny over salaries/bonuses of the corporate employees of the non-profit entity. I would like to make sure that the board is using its full capabilities in order to provide the proper due diligence of their fiduciary duties to the residents and tax-payers of Marin.
Albeit, the fairness of pay, overtime hours worked by doctors, nurses and a myriad of support staff have also been highlighted as evidenced by the nurses strike several years ago, as well as the publicized large amount of attrition of many employees to other competing hospitals even in the most recent years. Marin General has in the past has also repeatedly hired nurses from out of state on a part-time contract basis, I know this first hand from delivering my own four children at Marin General, I would want more information on the current status of that issue as well.
My conversations with a number of doctors and nurses previously or currently employed at Marin General, in private practice, or at one of the ancillary units of the District Board, as well as some Kaiser Permanente health care providers who told me they felt better supported by that business model than the model offered via Marin General Hospital. Also of note Kaiser regularly wins public awards for employee satisfaction. As a board member of the Marin Healthcare District, I would provide suggestions from all constituents, patients and employees alike.
Patient care and safety should be the number one priority, but it appears based on the possibility that there is a bonus structure for some of the corporate officers of the Marin General Hospital Inc., and that the bottom line profitability of the corporation may be the overriding factor in their monetary compensation. This should be further investigated.
I do realize that Marin General Hospital has received many industry accolades and awards and that the revenue bond passed by the taxpayers, as well as a few extremely generous donations from a few local individuals, has placed the hospital in a position to bring the structure up to compliance as required by recent seismic retrofitting laws.
Likewise, the facilities are being upgraded to be competitive with some of the hospitals in surrounding counties, including San Francisco. Marin General also competes for healthcare with Novato Community Hospital and Kaiser.
With patient care in mind and employee satisfaction, comes my ideas for possible programs and facilities to which the Marin Healthcare District Board is given the authority to give suggestions to the private entity Marin General Hospital, Inc. to consider implementing in their business plan based on the Bylaws of the Marin Healthcare District.
Marin Healthcare District Board should work more effectively with other community entities including other private non-profits medical providers, charitable groups, other hospitals, and government programs funded and supported by the Marin Board of Supervisors. Many of these ideas were detailed in a report done for the hospital by an independent consulting firm called Kurt Salmon Associates. This report was done in order to help the hospital transition after Sutter Health acquiesced to a departure.
I have seen first hand that some of the county clinics in Marin are not coordinating as smoothly as they could be with Marin General Hospital. Likewise, while I am aware of some cooperation of Marin General with some of Marin’s other non-governmental related non-profits.
I do see that more cooperation between these various entities would better serve the public. For instance, the budget that is slotted for education and prevention could be coordinated with some of Marin’s best non-profits in order to not duplicate services, but enhance and expand services as well as the total reach. I have already discussed this issue with some of the directors and outreach team members at healthcare-related non-profits throughout Marin that I have connections with via my volunteering efforts and my philanthropy to many of these Marin non-profits over the last 25 years.