ALAMEDA COUNTY: Supervisor Says Medical Center is Over-studied
An Alameda County supervisor is opposing a new $1.4 million study of operations at Alameda County Medical Center on grounds that too many such studies have been conducted at too great a cost with too little improvement. "We've been through 're- engineering,' supposedly, for as long as I've been on the board," Supervisor Keith Carson told medical center administrator Michael Smart. He added, "Sure, I think we need to tweak it. But is it $1.4 million worth?" But Bob Strawn, president of the private authority board that has taken over administration of the center, said, "We can't keep to past studies. Everything has changed there." Supervisor Scott Haggerty agreed, saying "supervisors need to empower the new hospital authority board." He said, "As a county, we should hang our heads and say we failed. We still have a medical center that I think is a mess. It needs help. We have a medical center that's not collecting its bills and where patients are not being sent."
The Contra Costa Times reports that central to the controversy is a "proposed $1.1 million no-bid contract with Arthur Andersen LLP accountants to do the study." The labor union representing medical center workers strongly opposes the contract. The Board of Supervisors has agreed to wait until Feb. 23 to decide whether funds should be granted for a study of the medical center, which includes Highland and Fairmont hospitals, the John George Psychiatric Pavilion and five county health clinics (Brewer, 1/29).