0

Convenient timing for Washington Hospital annual report

Last week, a lot of people got this in the mail. It’s Washington Hospital’s annual report, complete with a DVD and a message from the Board of Directors. I asked hospital spokesman, Chris Brown, if this was an inappropriate use of hospital funds since it is in part a commercial for the current board sent to voters one week before the election.

Here is his answer:


With regard to your last question, our annual report is released every year around this time whether or not there is an election. The timing is associated with the District’s annual audit, which is always presented to the Board in October. We can’t release the annual report until the Board reviews and approves the audit. In terms of the content, we’ve always included information from the Board. The only difference with this is that much of the content is in video form rather than printed. The bottom line is that there is no connection.

Below are pictures from the board section letting voters know what a great job they’re doing.

Matt Artz

  • Chinmoy Roy

    Even though the timing of the release of this report may be in question, this is a good first step in we the people getting access to Hospital affairs. We would like to know more about why the Board of Directors find it necessary to have meetings behind close doors. What have they to hide?

  • Gus Morrison

    Not only is it inappropriate to mail, at public expense, anything that features an elected official running for election, it is, in fact, illegal.

    Section 89001 of the California Government code says “No newsletter or other mass mailing shall be sent at public expense.” Then, to implement that code section, Regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission, Title 2, Division 6, California Code of Regulations number 18901, Mass Mailings sent at Public Expense defines mass mailings prohibited under item 2

    “(A) Features an elected officer affiliated witht he agency which produces or sends the mailing, or
    (B) Includes the name, office,photograph, or other reference to an elected officer affiliated with the agency which produces or sends the mailing…”

    This is the only agency in the Tri Cities which does this. The Fremont newsletter lists the councilmembers on the masthead, which is permitted, but there never is a photo or an article featuring a councilmember.

    I don’t know what the penalty is for violation of the FPPC regulation, but it would be interesting to find out.

  • Fremont taxpayer

    Gus -

    You’re certainly closer to the legal considerations here. But, I’m wondering if this document doesn’t walk a thin line in that it is termed an “Annual Report” which is (I am guessing here) considered nothing more than a “report to shareholders” of the financial status of their publically held institution.

    I haven’t seen the document so I dont know to what degree it qualifies as a “promotion”.

    Here’s a question – I wonder what the mailed distribution was (quantities mailed) this year versus in non-election years. I also wonder why the hopsital board finds it important to distribute this material in a hard format e.g., snailmail of hard copy and a CD instead of simply listing it on their web site for all to download based on their need. It certainly seems that postal mailings would incur significant expense.

    It *does* seem that in this day and age, that expending the resources to mail something is a step towards overt marketing. If the goal was simply to make information available to the “shareholders” – why not simply list it on the hospital web site which has zero incremental cost to distribute???

  • Gus Morrison

    The reason I have this information is that I got mad about the report being sent last year and printed out all the law and regulations to give it to the attorney for the board so they would know about the legality. I asked a current board member for the name of the board’s attorney and she didn’t know! I attempted to find out from the web site and it wasn’t there. I just gave up.

    The requirement is from a political reform proposition several years ago, I forget which one. It defines a mass mailing as anything mailed to more than 200 people. As mayor of Fremont, I could not mail anything to citizens for any purpose, because of that requirement. Any mailing to residents in Fremont comes from the city manager. Any agency is entitled to send a mailing of any kind to their constiuents. They just cannot feature, in any way, the elected board members.

    This is normal behavior for the hospital. Before they mailed the annual report, they published it in The Argus, again just before the election. I guess the annual report supplants the paid advertising.

  • Arthur Sheppard

    Washington Hospital- Excessive Patient charges
    Yes the bottom line of the hospital is very good. Real question is did this come at the expense of consumers in tricity area?
    Were there excessive patient charges? Did the hospital take advantage of the fact that there is no competing facility in the tricity area to charge excessively. Why do Calpers, Blue cross and Alameda Alliance consider this as the most expensive hospital in the area and send their enrollees out of this hospital??
    Increased revenue from excessive patient charges has been used to justify exorbitant CEO and administrative salaries.

  • Fremont taxpayer

    I keep hearing this claim of excessive CEO salaries – does anyone have any “comp” data ?

    Similar positions for comparable number of beds in a comparably sized community ?

    In the absence of hard data – the claim falls flat as political hyperbole.

    What is the basis for the “exorbitant CEO and administrative salaries” claim ?

  • Robert

    I don’t understand the Washington Hospital Board at all.
    Please forgive my ignorance, but why do we have to pay into this system if we get our care from another provider like Kaiser.
    We all pay into this and it feels like taxation without representation.

  • Gus Morrison

    Just to be fair, we didn’t have Kaiser in the early years and Washington was the only hospital in the area. It is a public hospital, but it doesn’t take any property tax for operations running itself with its income from patients. The only tax they collect is to repay voter approved bonds, which required a 2/3 vote to pass.

  • Andrew M.

    And since there is an elected board of representatives, I’m not certain how that qualifies as taxation without representation? You may disagree with how the individual member represent you, that’s what elections are for, after all, but to deny they even exist?

    So, now we have one poster decrying ‘secret’ board meetings and another bemoaning a lack of a board altogether. Fremont certainly is fun when it comes to politics!

  • Arthur Sheppard

    Washington Hosp Salaries

    To Fremont Tax Payer

    Please follow this news item regarding administrative salaries in Washington Hospitalhttp://www.insidebayarea.com/argus/ci_7532140

    Washington salaries top Tri-City area
    Hospital CEO Nancy Farber highest-paid public employee
    By Linh Tat, STAFF WRITER
    Article Last Updated: 11/29/2007 09:33:16 AM PST

    Related Link
    0. List of salaries [Excel Spreadsheet
    FREMONT — Washington Hospital staff members represented nine of the 10 highest-paid public employees in the Tri-City area last year, with the chief executive officer earning more than twice what the next top executive of a public agency made, according to data reported by various agencies.
    Hospital CEO Nancy Farber’s total compensation for calendar year 2006 was $573,020, while Fremont schools Superintendent Doug Gephart received $284,015 last fiscal year.
    After Farber, the next five hospital employees each received more than $300,000 in compensation, and nine made more than $200,000. Overall,
    23 percent of the hospital’s staff received more than $100,000.
    Moreover, of the 441 workers who earned six figures, 331 (75 percent) were nurses. Doctors who work with patients aren’t employed by Washington Hospital, so their salaries weren’t listed.
    The Argus requested the salaries of Tri-City area employees following a state Supreme Court ruling that public agencies must provide such data. Since September, the newspaper has published a series of articles that examine what city and school district employees make.
    According to a survey compiled by Modern Healthcare in July, the average total cash compensation of CEOs at independent hospitals in 2006 was $443,500 — about $129,500 less than Farber’s pay.
    Pat Danielson, president of the Washington Hospital board, said that in determining Farber’s compensation package, board members tried to place her in the 75th percentile of CEOs at comparable hospitals. Factors such as location and type of hospital were used as comparisons. “We pay based on careful study of all of the pertinent factors and based on performance review,” Danielson said.
    “(Farber’s) kept the hospital running in an efficient manner, a profitable manner. That’s important,” the board president said, adding that the hospital was able to open a neuroscience center and a women’s health center this year.
    Washington is a 359-bed nonprofit hospital with clinics in Fremont, Union City and Newark. It also serves residents in south Hayward and unincorporated Sunol.
    During the 2006-07 fiscal year, Washington’s operating expenses totaled $304.4 million while its revenue was $306.4 million, according to the hospital’s financial statements. The $2 million net operating income represented a 62 percent increase over the previous year, but it still was less than the $10.6 million gain experienced in 2005.
    Overall, 61 percent of the hospital’s operating budget last fiscal year went toward salaries and benefits. And during calendar year 2006, nurses made up three-quarters of the employees who earned at least $100,000.
    Susan Mojica, whose $336,426 compensation made her the hospital’s third highest-paid employee overall, earned $144,352 more than the next nurse.
    An operating room nurse, Mojica received extra pay for taking the majority of on-call shifts last year, said Kimberly Hartz, an associate administrator for the hospital.
    “This is a woman who many people are grateful to,” Hartz said.
    She acknowledged that nurses’ salaries are “very competitive” with other hospitals and said that general staff turnover at Washington is 9.5 percent while the national average is about 15 percent. This translates into better patient care, she added.
    “We’ve really worked hard to attract and retain quality employees,” Hartz said. “People come here, and they like working for Washington.”

    Staff writer Linh Tat can be reached at 510-353-7010 or ltat@bayareanewsgroup.com

  • Arthur Sheppard

    Washington Hospital salary compared to UC system

    President Robert Dynes: $395,000
    Provost M.R.C. Greenwood: $380,000.
    Average chancellor’s salary: $290,490
    Average tenure-track professor: $91,934
    Average first-year lecturer: $39,900

    Please compare the public salary of UC president who has to take care of 9 campuses and thousands of students.He gets less than Ms Farber the CEO

    Chancellors of each campus gets less than Ms Farber

    Present board of directors including candidates Dr Nicholson and Ms Danielson have been irresponsible in increasing the pay and emoluments of the CEO . This will also lead to copycat increase of salaries of Hospital administrators in the Bay area.

  • Arthur Sheppard

    Washington Hospital and Fremont Bank

    Washington Hospital operating expenses $ 304 million per year . 61 % of the money goes to salaries that is $ 185.44 million.
    Mr Artz in his blog quotes the hospital spokesperson saying that Fremont bank handles the payroll of the hospital
    Is it correct in presuming that Fremont bank exclusively handles $185.44 million of floating money every year which comes to the bank interest free. If this is correct then Mr Wallace needs to resign because of conflict of interest.

  • Robert

    I understand that we have a board that is elected by the people, but I don’t understand this scenario in our present day.
    How about a tax credit for people who get there health care from another system like Kaiser?
    It must be nice to be so smart that all of this makes sense, but please walk me through why we need a board at all and why we are taxed for it today.

  • Andrew M.

    Well, we need a board so that we have taxation with representation. We have the hospital as it is considered good for the community. We all end up paying some taxes for the hospital because in our society we recognize the greater good sometimes outweighs an individual’s.

    There are streets in Fremont on which I have never driven, nor do I expect to ever drive on them. So, turning your question back to you, why should I pay taxes to maintain certain streets on which I don’t drive?

  • Ron

    The percentage of fremont residents that use streets is 100 %. I doubt the same percentage remotely stands true for residents that utilize Washington hospital.

  • Andrew M.

    Isn’t Washington Hospital the nearest (by far) severe trauma center? Since few people plan horrific car wrecks in advance, isn’t to the greater good of all to have such a center in our community?

    How about schools? Should those without school age children pay taxes to support public schools?

  • Andrew M.

    Washington Hospital has a well regarded emergency care center. Doesn’t that benefit the entire community?

    How about schools? Should those without school age children pay taxes to support public schools?

  • Jen

    The nearest severe trauma centers are Eden Hospital in Castro Valley and Stanford.

  • Robert

    Since other options available within the city I think that the tax should be evaluated. The concept is a noble one but the playing field is different now than when it came into play.
    As far as schools, when the school board members start making 500k a year I will complain about that as well yes…

  • Andrew M.

    How much do you suppose Washington Hospital board members make?