Hospital’s Transfer to County Group Underway

The Alameda Health Care District (AHCD) board of directors met earlier this week to discuss how they would conduct the transition of power to Alameda County’s health provider Alameda Health System (AHS).
Alameda Hospital and AHS announced last June that the two sides agreed in principle to an affiliation that would place Alameda Hospital in the AHS network of hospitals and wellness centers with AHS taking financial responsibility for and manage the day-to-day operations at Alameda Hospital. 
“This affiliation will ensure that Alameda Hospital will remain an acute care hospital with an emergency room now and into the future,” wrote Deborah Stebbins, the hospital’s CEO in a press release last November. “We have worked diligently to create an affiliation that meets the needs of our patients and our community. We’re looking forward to making a transition that results in improved access and quality of care for residents in Alameda and our neighboring communities.”
AHCD held its monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 8. The meeting took place after press time. Several topics were discussed but one that wasn’t discussed is the matter of what will happen to the revenues acquired by the city’s parcel tax that is used to fund the hospital. 
“The revenue can’t leave the city,” said Louise Nakada, community relations’ director for Alameda Hospital. “In no way will this revenue go to other Alameda Health System hospitals. It would be illegal.” 
Some residents feared that the parcel tax revenue would be in the control of AHS or worse, be used on other AHS hospitals. On the website, saveourcityalameda.org, a post describes their distain for AHS’ new role in the city’s hospital.  
“We’re at risk of an outside agency taking control of our local parcel tax money intended for operation of Alameda Hospital,” the post stated. “We can’t be certain that the Alameda Health System Board of Trustees and Executives will always act in the best interest of Alameda residents, once they take our money.”
Nakada did say AHS will provide the AHCD board with a budget on how to distribute the parcel tax revenue, but the revenue will be used for the operation of and long-term capital investments in Alameda Hospital. Voters approved the parcel tax in 2002, which amounted to $298 per parcel. The five-member AHCD board of directors will maintain their positions after the affiliation and will oversee the allocation of the parcel tax revenues. 
The hospital would also retain ownership of its real estate on Willow Avenue. Without that deed of trust, the hospital would be unable to collect the parcel tax.
One of the topics discussed at the meeting is how Alameda Hospital will hand over governance and daily operations responsibilities to AHS. 
“A lot of the details on how the transfer will be discussed at the meeting,” said Nakada. 
Even though AHS will run the day-to-day operations of Alameda Hospital, the AHCD board of directors will have a presence on the AHS board once the affiliation is finalized. “As part of the definitive agreement, the district will nominate one member for the AHS board and will also have representation on all major AHS board committees,” wrote AHS and Alameda Hospital in a joint press release in February. 
Nakada said the two sides still haven’t set a date when AHS would take control of Alameda Hospital. AHS operates Highland Hospital in Oakland, Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro, the John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Lorenzo and San Leandro Hospital. Alameda Hospital announced they agreed to an affiliation with AHS last June and the AHCD board of directors agreed to the deal last November. 
Patients and employees will not be negatively impacted by the affiliation, according to the joint statement by AHS and Alameda Hospital.