Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 14, 2013

Green light

Filed under: Alameda, Public Resources — Tags: — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

In the “Wow, really?” files, last week Alameda Hospital Board member Elliott Gorelick probably best known for really really not liking the mere existence of the Alameda Hospital did the unthinkable and resigned from his seat as an elected boardmember.

Why he did it, who knows.   The first indication of his intent was posted on his personal blog last Tuesday:


Which is pretty cryptic and mysterious. Honestly I wasn’t sure if this was some ploy to get people to beg him to stay, but sure enough, he was serious and sent in his official resignation letter and everything. Which actually contains even less information about why he decided to resign than his blog post:


But I guess, given the tone of his previous blog posts, like this one attempting to cash in on the re-discovered popularity of the Great Gatsby via the Baz Luhrmann reboot, he really was telegraphing his discontent and being rather “done” with the whole business.



I mean, characterizing the staff at the Hospital as “killing people” is a bit much, even for self-described “critic” of the Alameda Hospital.   Without any sense of irony he writes this right after this sentence of “Perception trumps reality.”

Anyway, it’s been two years since Elliott Gorelick was first elected to the Hospital Boardn and he’s accomplish very little, I’m not sure if he has given up his campaign to shut down the Hospital/get rid of the parcel tax/or whatever was his eventual goal but  I have a feeling that if he couldn’t do it in a position to actually make a difference as a member of the governing board, he certainly will be able to do even less as an outsider looking in.


  1. My family has received good emergency care at Alameda Hospital. Since we have Kaiser insurance, we have never had a long stay there. Maybe perception DOES trump reality, because I do feel better knowing that emergency care is only minutes away. I also understand that when you have a loved one in the hospital, especially if you are elderly or have mobility issues, a sclep into Oakland to visit them might be more than you can handle. There are always going to be things in a community that are worth having but are not entirely self-supporting: a hospital, a movie theater, a public school system. The trick is to figure out how to offset those expenses in other ways. The parcel tax well may be running dry with voters, so officials would do well to get creative and “think outside the box.” Easy for me to say, still, the answers are out there somewhere. We just have to work harder to find them.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 14, 2013 @ 7:54 am

  2. Whenever someone who is not a healthcare professional claims to have received “good care” at a healthcare facility, I can’t help but wonder how they make that determination. To be fair, that also goes for those who claim to have received abominable care.

    Comment by vigi — June 14, 2013 @ 9:22 am

  3. Vigi, I believe that a lucid private citizen can make a determination based on his/her previous experience, whether anything is good or bad. Perhaps they cannot judge something to be “The Best” or “The Worst” without investigating EVERY possibility, I have interacted with Ms. Shelton on numerous occasions when she appeared to be at least mostly lucid, so I am comfortable taking her at her word when she says that her family has received ‘good’ care at Alameda Hospital. My family has also received what i consider to be at least ‘good’ care at the facility, and some of my friends will tell you that i am mostly lucid most of the time. Please have a good day, and don’t do anything to hurt yourself, because it’s a loong ride to the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — June 14, 2013 @ 10:12 am

  4. 2. Uh, got better, didn’t die, pretty much sums it up for me. The doctors, nurses, and administrative people I interacted with seemed competent and compassionate. And thanks, Not A. Alamedan for that ringing endorsement of my lucidity.

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 14, 2013 @ 10:20 am

  5. I know someone who died in Alameda Hospital after an R,N, did a medical procedure totally wrong. Factual.

    Comment by A Neighbor — June 14, 2013 @ 11:20 am

  6. in #5– That’s R.N. registered nurse

    Comment by A Neighbor — June 14, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  7. I actually know someone who was in their mid 80’s who died there while undergoing an non-essential invasive procedure . Without going into detail it is a common procedure that we do as we get older. But the value of it diminishes as to how much value there is to it for a person over 80. This person suffered a cardiac arrest during the procedure. What worries me is that with the ‘new businesses’ that the Hospital is expanding into. A lot has to do with Medicare Billing. The more procedures you push on the elderly the more profit that is generated. I don’t know it this death is a indictment of the Hospital or of the individuals personal Physician. In any case this has left me very vary as I am about to go on Medicare.

    Comment by frank — June 14, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

  8. 4. Yer quite welcome! Always wanna help.

    Comment by Not. A. Alamedan — June 14, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  9. The Hospital announced it’s intent to become a part of the Alameda Health Services network, a county-wide healthcare network today. The Hospital Board will vote on whether to sign a letter of intent on Monday. If it goes all the way through, Alameda Hospital, as an independent entity, will cease to exist and Alameda Hospital as a part of a network throughout the county, a network that has the funds to ensure that Alameda Hospital meets its 2018 seismic requirements, will enter a financially sustainable era. Big news day in our town.

    Comment by John Knox White — June 14, 2013 @ 3:46 pm

  10. now the big question John, will we still have to pay to subsidize the Hospital for ever and ever. ???

    Comment by John P.(L) — June 14, 2013 @ 4:18 pm

  11. I have never been to Alameda Hospital and probably won’t ever. I belong to Kaiser which I love. The one time we didn’t have Kaiser we went to Alta Bates…in Oakland. Personally I don’t see the need for Alameda Hospital. Out of the 70,000+ people who live here…I would be curious how many use it? I know Denise did once, but I know of no one else who has. I love Kaiser, they have all my records online, and if given a life or death situation I would go to Kaiser. My partner a doctor speaks Spanish and he has people who drive 100 miles to see him…if you want to be suceed in CA, OR, WA, AZ, TX, MX, in the you need to learn Spanish. I tired to take Spanish 3 times and still can’t figure it out.

    Comment by joelsf — June 14, 2013 @ 5:09 pm

  12. 7:
    If Alameda Hospital does become just part of a network and cease to be an independent entity, this is the path to closure of the hospital and all the money Alameda taxpayers have poured into it will be wasted. As part of a network, Alameda Hospital will not have the volume and profitability to justify its existence compared to its peers.

    Comment by jsanders128 — June 14, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  13. 9. I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about Kaiser, especially where the rich people aren’t, like Martinez.

    Comment by Linda on Otis St. — June 14, 2013 @ 7:03 pm

  14. Actually by being part of a network, Alameda Hospital will increase volume. Kaiser had a $10 million annual contract with Alameda Hospital to use surgical rooms for elective surgies which they cancelled a few years ago. Now the network will be able to use Alameda Hospital’s surgical capacity. In addition, patients in the network will be able to use Alameda Hospital rooms.

    Comment by Mike McMahon (@MikeMcMahonAUSD) — June 14, 2013 @ 7:04 pm

  15. If anyone is interested in facts (at least those to be presented to the hospital board next Monday), see:

    Click to access 2013-06-17%20Board%20Packet%20(FINAL-PO).pdf

    Comment by Tom Schweich — June 14, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

  16. Oh jsanders, don’t ever change…you’re inability to get anything right makes it easy for folks to know what’s actually true, just assume the opposite of jsanders and you’ll be all right

    Mike McMahon seems to have a clue, glad someone does. h/t to Tom S for providing links as well.

    Comment by Facts? We don't need no stinkin' facts — June 15, 2013 @ 9:49 am

  17. 14. on jsanders, really. There is a lot to know and it can be very confusing, but when somebody posts with certainty as in 10 and is not correct one has to ask how the person has derived what they are stating, just pulling stuff out the wazoo or what? I’m serious here. When I’m called on inaccuracy I can at least verify or reconstruct how or why I was misinformed,and I’m usually anxious to do so in order to maintain modicum of credibility. I’m not prone to disseminating deliberate misinformation, but get suspicious if somebody appears to deliberately misdirect people perhaps on the theory that a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

    I started to compose a response to 7. asking specifics about the network but must have been interrupted and forgotten. I’ll refer to links in 13. Question was roughly about Highland being the main facility I’ve heard referred to as being County entity and wanting to know which of various facilities have that designation or are in network. If this move is a great fix, what has taken so long?

    Comment by M.I. — June 15, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  18. O.K.. My reading of the link is that we get to maintain and control the parcel tax proceeds (great) but somehow we will get infusion money from the County for seismic upgrade, etc.. I want to know more because it seems all government entities are struggling with funding so it’s hard to believe this is really the magic bullet. We get cash infusion without sharing parcel tax with county and also increased volume will increase profitability. I get the latter and it seems credible, but wonder if there is a calculation to pay back initial infusion from increased volume or if that is just magic money that appears, no strings.

    9. joel there are long lists of testimonials, mostly from people who suffered heart attacks, who feel very strongly that the proximity of Alameda Hospital, possibly in combo with our local response times, saved their lives. My question has always been, who may have really died had these folks been transported off island? I don’t want to be dismissive of people who have had such traumas, but questions also arise about subjectivity after such a brush with death.

    With recent TIME magazine article on high cost of medicine which highlighted huge salaries of administrators at many so called non-profit hospitals and the onset of Affordable Health Care Act it seems the media has been doing a little more coverage and investigation into elements of cost which in turn is leading to some increase in an honest discussion of facts. As to our health care district I sometimes think both pro and con arguments are fueled by emotion more than substance. I’ve heard it argued that in the market Ms. Stebbins is worth her salary because she has done such a great job, but she also makes nearly twice the governor’s salary. I get grumpy about this tax when I think of the money instead going to schools or paying for the list of stuff which would have been covered in the last tax on the ballot which failed. Measure C?

    Comment by M.I. — June 15, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

  19. MI, please go back to school and relearn English. Your poor writing makes your ramblings very difficult to read and understand.

    “My question has always been, who may have really died had these folks been transported off island? ”


    Comment by Too Cool for School — June 15, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  20. MI, there’s no “payback” because AHS/Alameda Hospital become one entity, that said, initially, AHS takes money from their large reserves ($80 million i believe) to make a substantial upfront investment in the buildings (which the Healthcare district remains owner of), for first few years, parcel tax will be used to offset that infusion. Ergo, parcel tax essentially funds seismic upgrade of the hospital to help hospital meet 2018 seismic mandate. unlike now, where tax pays for operations while upgrade remains undone, in proposal, healthcare district ends up with significantly improved assets and parcel tax can assist in maintaining the operations of the hospital. Hospital Board maintains oversight on how the parcel tax is spent.

    Comment by JKW — June 15, 2013 @ 4:27 pm

  21. JKW, Given bullet #7 (Confidentiality) in the #13 Tom Schweich Link, mind sharing your source?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 15, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

  22. Or is this pure speculation?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 15, 2013 @ 8:57 pm

  23. Page 13 #4 and Page 14 #6?

    Comment by JKW — June 15, 2013 @ 8:58 pm

  24. Page 13 #4 “It is the intention of AHS to commit to such expenditures…”
    Page 14 #6 ” The parties intend to….”

    The road to perdition is paved with good intentions (much like Alameda’s streets)

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 16, 2013 @ 9:55 am

  25. 22:
    You hit the nail right on the head.

    Comment by jsanders128 — June 16, 2013 @ 10:19 am

  26. #11 have you ever been to Kaiser…they are great. I use to wait at least a hour or more in the waiting room at my old doctors office because he was so backed up. Kaiser I don’t have to wait long…all my tests results I can see the next day or two at home online. I can order refills online or go to the pharmacy which they did have a line. And if I have any questions I can email my doctor and she responds within 24 hours. I had to go into emergency once and they had a ton of people looking after me. The longest I had to wait was 1/2 hour for an x ray and 1/2 hour in the pharmacy…it was a weekend and they were backed up… Even as I left a few of the nurses who saw me said hi to me in the parking lot and that they hoped I felt better. I had a cracked rib and bruising from tripping over one of my dogs on the stairs. They alway try to run down them too fast.

    Comment by joelsf — June 16, 2013 @ 3:11 pm

  27. 11
    No doubt Kaiser Wilhelm II was subject to a lot of bad publicity but blaming the poor for WWI seems a little overreaching.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 16, 2013 @ 7:42 pm

  28. #4= “Got better, didn’t die”. Which could have happened if you went anywhere else. Or nowhere else. Many things just get better on their own. Those who died won’t be posting anything anywhere anytime soon.

    How quickly you all forget about Alameda Hospital’s recent history of being fined for Patient Deaths;

    Don’t stop believin’, NotAAlamedan. Why would you leave the state when we have UCSF, UCLA, Stanford….? Lucid indeed.

    MI: have you looked up the Chargemaster for Alameda Hospital? It’s easy to find online.

    Comment by vigi — June 17, 2013 @ 10:12 am

  29. Interesting that the word “Care” has been dropped from the Alameda Health District acronym, AHD. And that the word “County” is absent from the Alameda Health System, tho from the list of affiliates, it certainly looks like Alameda is joining the County Hospital System. Volume will no longer be a problem. I wonder…Will we be treating the gunshot overflow from Highland?

    Comment by vigi — June 17, 2013 @ 10:45 am

  30. More lucidity: Death rates, by malady, at some local hospitals:

    Alameda nursing home resident slowly bleeds to death in bed while staff looks on:

    Comment by vigi — June 17, 2013 @ 11:28 am

  31. Denise: I’m sure that RN in the nursing home was competent & compassionate. It just might not be institutional policy to stop bleeding. Hope you don’t live there, NotAA!

    Comment by vigi — June 17, 2013 @ 11:31 am

  32. This move makes sense given the bigger picture of what’s happening in health care. Hospitals, doctors, labs and other pieces of the system are teaming up under the term “coordinated care” so that medicine isn’t so fragmented. The theory is that it will improve quality and reduce costs, though that remains to be seen. It was fairly inevitable that if Alameda Hospital was going to continue to exist, it would become part of one of these new affiliations. In fact, over time, once it’s absorbed by a new system, the hospital could have the chance to morph into just the services that make sense for Alameda, without having to drag along a lot of high-tech, high-cost services we can’t support. Meanwhile, Alameda taxpayers ought to be paying attention to how the parcel tax dollars are dealt with in this proposed agreement and how the county is going to account for it…over time an affiliation could easily become a merger…these relationships are not about the name, they’re about who gets control of dollars and management. Worst case would be that we keep paying the tax into a big county system that Alamedans have no control over. Best case is that we get the emergency department we want while the county system worries about the expensive stuff like earthquake retrofitting, information systems and high-quality intensive care. It’s all in how the agreement is written and managed over time.

    Comment by Jan Greene — June 17, 2013 @ 12:19 pm

  33. “It’s all in how the agreement is written and managed over time.”
    Since the ‘how’ is confidential, expect the worst case.

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 17, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

  34. They’re both public hospital systems, so they have an obligation to do much of this in the open. We all have the ability to attend the public meetings and if the information isn’t detailed enough, demand that it be. This is probably the most important juncture in the hospital’s history since the parcel tax got passed, so it is pretty important that people pay attention.

    Comment by Jan Greene — June 17, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

  35. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about the how we got where we are today…. but I’m disappointed that we didn’t assemble a team of real estate developers to help us come up with a solution to our problems. Alameda needs a state of the art medical campus at Alameda Point, and I’m not talking about the VA project.

    A recent articled called ‘A Nice Uptick in the 2013 Medical Real Estate Market’ reports that around 34 million square feet of new hospital space will be delivered in 2012/2013. The report goes further: ‘Built-up demand from projects that were previously left on the drawing board, before the economic crises, are being revisited. Developers are reviewing plans that were once just a conception, as aging baby boomers with their advanced medical needs, and soon-to-be-insured Americans are creating demand. As healthcare initiatives unfold across the nation, possibilities for increased patient volume are evident’.

    Let’s carve out some land from the Point and call it Alameda Point Medical Campus. A vision is a powerful thing! Then next, lets challenge our real estate developers to make it happen.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 17, 2013 @ 1:37 pm

  36. Karen, there is a lot of building in the hospital sector, but it’s largely by the big players, which are just getting bigger in this age of consolidation. Around here that means Sutter, Kaiser, Stanford, UCSF, and other big names. That’s where the money is. Not sure what would draw them to Alameda Point…they mostly want to follow well-insured suburbanites.

    Comment by Jan Greene — June 17, 2013 @ 1:56 pm

  37. “Not sure what would draw them to Alameda Point”

    This is where we can challenge our developers to help us.

    I love it that we’re developing a new regional shopping center – but what we need is a new medical campus.

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 17, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

  38. Here’s an idea: The new Alameda Point Hospital should be located close to the new VA facility which will be an integral part of the new state of the art Alameda Point Medical Campus.

    The city works with the developer and a specialized Medical Real Estate Advisor to come up with a financing plan for the new campus. We merge with the county to access some of their funding power who issues bonds to build the new campus.

    I’m sure there are other ideas out there ……. but I wonder if we’re thinking big enough?

    Comment by Karen Bey — June 17, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

  39. The best ideas for Alameda Point involve housing for people without cars or businesses that take up a lot of space without needing a lot of employees. Nursing homes, prisons, and greenhouses spring to mind. What else?

    Comment by Denise Shelton — June 17, 2013 @ 3:26 pm

  40. What exactly is a ‘Medical Campus’?

    Comment by Jack Richard — June 17, 2013 @ 5:18 pm

  41. #40=It’s what Alameda turned down when we decided not to partner with the VA to build one. Hitching the money-losing Alameda Hospital to the bloated budget of the Department of Defense: that would have been genius. Once again, Alameda snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
    Karen Bey, where were you when these VA talks were going on in 2008? or didn’t you know about them either…No developer in the world has as much access to funds as DoD.

    Comment by vigi — June 20, 2013 @ 11:01 am

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