Category Archives: Alameda Hospital

But, but, but…you shouldn’t say mean things

Evidence. Data. Excellent article below.Just like improved outcomes and survival rates for strokes at primary stroke centers, patients get superior treatment, outcomes, and survival at larger hospitals simply because

Just like improved outcomes and survival rates for strokes at primary stroke centers, patients get superior treatment, outcomes, and survival at larger hospitals simply because staff at larger hospitals have more experience. I would venture to say that procedures and protocols are superior as well as management of performance thereof.

But, but, but…you shouldn’t say mean things.” – Elliott Gorelick

Risks Are High at Low-Volume Hospitals
Patients at thousands of hospitals face greater risks from common operations, simply because the surgical teams don’t get enough practice.


In case you missed it . . .

Alameda Healthcare District intends to merge with Alameda Health System.

The notice (here) says it was posted on Friday, 6/14, (it wasn’t), and that it includes a 36-page document (it doesn’t).

It was posted today, Father’s Day, at 10a.

The Alameda Healthcare District is—by all intents, constructions, and purposes—intent on all of us missing this notice and not participating in this rather significant discussion.

How do you feel about the Alameda Healthcare District spending the $7,000,000 we give them in taxes each year to merge with an organization that owns Highland HospitalHighland WellnessEastmont WellnessHayward Wellness at WintonNewark WellnessFairmont Hospital, and John George Psychiatric Hospital? And that is funded by Alameda Health System Foundation?

How do you feel about that merger and their continued use of our $7M in annual taxes?

Did you know: the annual levy of taxes on us is optionalContinue reading


The Hospital.

Elliott Gorelick’s post today warrants republishing (see below here).  And PLEASE SHARE this post with others; it could protect one’s quality of life. It could safe a life.

The hospital itself told me they nearly killed me in the Emergency Department (ED) a couple of years ago, they don’t know why I didn’t die. This, during a minor (read: easy straight forward diagnosis and treatment) medical emergency (that was extremely painful, i.e., required emergency attention). Not only did I nearly die whilst in the Alameda Hospital ED, I was about 200% worse once home . . .  Continue reading


This November, remember…

Please see the recent blog post from Elliott Gorelick (AHD Board Member) addressing a recent and highly misguided letter in the Alameda Sun praising Alameda Hospital.

In case you’re uncertain as to whether to trust Mr. Gorelick’s opinion, please consider his CV:

  • Doctor of Pharmacy, UCSF (in progress or awarded, I’m not sure what stage he’s at)
  • Continued studies in Health Economics, UC Berkeley
  • M.S., Management Science and Engineering, Stanford University
  • B.A., Economics, Stanford University

His CV is impressive. Even if he didn’t have that CV, I’d agree with Mr. Gorelick: he’s the first, and often the only, voice of reason on the hospital board and publicly here in Alameda. But having that CV, well, maybe we should all wake up a little bit and pay attention to what he’s been saying and continues to say at Alameda Healthcare District board meetings and on his blog here.

Furthermore and in my opinion:

What we all need to understand is that today’s medical standards provide the following: diagnostics and treatment in specialized cardiac and stroke medical systems that begin in the field with the paramedics and continue uninterrupted on through to the readied (when you’re wheeled in, they are standing there ready to pounce) specialized cardiac or stroke team  that includes leading-edge imaging diagnostics, expert physicians and surgeons and highly-trained event-specific (cardiac or stroke) support teams.

Key here is the term ‘uninterrupted’ which correlates to improved outcomes, e.g., stroke victims with no damage or residual symptoms.  Any detour to Alameda Hospital, by definition, is an interruption that cannot help but correlate to worse outcomes.

The biggest risk to a healthy longevity while residing or visiting Alameda is due to the Emergency Medical System protocols (what the paramedics follow) that require these detours to Alameda Hospital. The fact that Alameda Hospital continues to provide low-capability but emergency and stroke cardiac care, that extracts patients out of the specialized cardiac and stroke care systems only to re-insert them back into it (i.e., sending them to the hospital a victim should have originally gone to), is a not only disservice to everyone but poses an enormous and unnecessary hazard for worse outcomes for those experiencing a heart attack or stroke.

We have a right to contemporary standards in our medical care.

Alameda Healthcare District Board Members Battani, McCormick, Chen, and Deutsch, Vice Mayor Bonta, and City Council Member Tam, have all been a part of the hospital business strategies that ensure substandard emergency medical care for Alamedans. Please remember this when you cast your vote in November.  

Understandably ill-informed

Elliott Gorelick, Alameda Healthcare District Board Member,

The following letter appeared in the Alameda Journal:

“Don’t skimp on funds for Alameda Hospital

On Aug. 2 with no pain — just shortness of breath — I left work at 8 a.m. and drove myself to the Alameda Hospital emergency room. I thought it was my asthma. I was in increasing distress.

The emergency staff immediately took me in, did an EKG, chest X-rays, started IVs and determined I was having a heart attack. This was a shock. I have no history in my family and never experienced chest pains.

The emergency room staff, with extraordinary professionalism, summoned Alameda Fire Department paramedics, who transported me with red lights and siren to Summit Cardiac Center Cath Lab for an emergency angioplasty and stent — all this before noon. Having my own HMO with its facilities in Oakland, I was one who hesitated to support the bond measure that would fund Alameda Hospital. I didn’t think I would be able to use it.

In my shortsightedness, I failed to grasp the fact that each citizen on Alameda island could have a life-threatening event at any moment, and the Alameda Hospital emergency room and fire department paramedics are all we have between life and, yes, death itself.

I am again, so grateful to live on Alameda.”

The letter writer displays an amazing ignorance.  I am certainly happy that this turned out well for him/her but driving themself to the ER, thinking that their time in the Alameda Hospital ER was anything but dangerous delay and concluding that they are safer because Alameda Hospital 1. delayed their treatment 2. charged them for that privilege  3. Did nothing really except summoned help is ignorant.

I understand that this person feels good about what happened, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  And this is why it is almost impossible to rid ourselves of the costly, health-destroying institution.  The ignorant fed by the politically ambitious (Rob Bonta, Mary Ezzy-Ashcraft, Lena Tam, Stewart Chen) and the dishonestly self-interested (Rob Deutsch and Debit Stebbins) have just so much more social capital. (Lauren Do, Jordan Battani,  and John Knox White when given a choice of standing with their friends or for the truth will choose their friends because that’s the civil way to go and, they are, just like this letter writer too ignorant to see the truth.)

I am still waiting for a knowledgeable person to articulate an argument for the Hospital that doesn’t distill down to the “voters approved it many years ago and you don’t have any smoking gun* that it kills people.”
*Actually, there is a smoking gun and the State fined the Hospital $50,000 for the inappropriate use of fentanyl patches.  The Hospital is appealing that fine (an appeal that I will be astonished if they win).


We can safely conclude…

Alameda Hospital CEO Deborah Stebbins should resign and Alameda Healthcare District (AHD) board majority members should resign; failing that, we should recall four of the five board members. Why? Read this. Read this.

And consider this:

Any organization will naturally evolve towards the reduction of risk. The only time it does not is when there is either ignorance (lack of information or inability to think things through) or corruption. We know, evidence shows, that the directions the AHD board’s majority leadership are taking us are increasing our risk (medically, financially). We also know that the facts are available to make better decisions and those in charge have the mental capacity to comprehend those facts and understand the increased—unacceptable by regular business and healthcare conventions—risks their decisions are creating (and for which leaves us [Alameda residents] high & dry, left holding the debt they created.)

It follows then, does it not?, that: we can safely conclude that there is corruption in the AHD board and Alameda Hospital’s leadership and management.

Write the misbehaving Alameda Healthcare District board. Tell them to shape up or ship out:

Jordan Battani, President: JBattani@alamedahospital.org

Robert Deutsch, M.D., 1st Vice President: RDeutsch@alamedahospital.org

J. Michael McCormick, Treasurer: Mmccormick@alamedahospital.org

Steward Chen, D.C., 2nd Vice President: SChen@alamedahospital.org

And support Mr. Elliot Gorelick’s work on the AHD board. His evidence-based discussions—the first rational discussions ever at the AHD that I can tell—are significant towards helping us understand what’s really going on. And what’s been going on since the inception of the AHD in 2002 (and the hospital by itself before that), is not on the up and up.  Not even close. Never has been apparently. (You’ll remember the gaming of the emergency medical systems [ambulance] protocols since the early 1980s through last year [2010!] to ensure revenue-bringing acute cases be brought to the hospital….despite the fact that other hospitals were medically the correct choice and contemporary medical standard for care all of those years!)

Elliott Gorelick, Secretary: EGorelick@alamedahospital.org

Bookmark and read regularly: Mr. Gorelick’s blog is Notes from the Hospital


Thank God for Gorelick.

Do yourself a favor: click on Notes from the Hospital >>>>

Read Elliott Gorelick’s blog = critically important reading for all residents of the City of Alameda.

Don’t think so?  Think again:

Alameda County EMS has reinstated the transport protocol that allows ambulanced to take stroke victims to Alameda Hospital.  This is big, this is bad.

Stroke death rates vary per hospital. And you want to be taken to the best performing hospital when you have a stroke. Why? Significantly increase odds:

A. for survival at the time of the stroke and

B. for survival within 30 days of being discharged from the hospital.

The best hospitals for stroke around here are Summit and Kaiser (Eden’s statistics are not in yet). I cannot find any rates for stroke incidences, or I’d extrapolate how many deaths Alameda Hospital’s 12.5% stroke death rate adds up to, i.e., how many people didn’t need to die and wouldn’t have if they’d gone to Alta Bates Summit or Kaiser…

Did you know that over 50% of Alameda residents are Kaiser insured?  Why on earth would Kaiser patients then want to be taken to Alameda Hospital?!

So go to the right here>>>> click on Notes from the Hospital. Read.  Really. Go read.


Healthcare.

The Alameda Healthcare District meeting is 7p on Monday, July 11th, at the hospital (second floor).

ATTEND THE MEETING.

VOICE YOUR OPPOSITION.

TO THE DIRECTION THE MAJORITY OF THE AHD BOARD IS TAKING US AND HOW THEY ARE SPENDING OUR MONEY.

The majority on the board intend to vote to approve the levy of the parcel tax on us again for 2012. And they intend to spend that $5.5M on opening up a new facility on Atlantic Avenue (extremely pricey medical retrofitting) that serves off-island patient populations. HUH? That’s right: they intend to spend the free money we give them each year to sustain on-island medical services to serve us, the residents, on a business that focuses on serving the cities off-island. HUH?

I’m outraged at the audacity of the AHD board; aren’t you?!

Read on below to better understand the absolute impudence they have shown with this new business strategy.

And this critically important reading on the AHD Board: Should the Board Majority and Deborah Stebbins Resign?

———–

In a city of around 75,000 people, a small subset, about 500 or so, residents need care for open wounds that won’t heal. They need specific in- and out-patient treatments for their wounds. But that’s a pretty small percent of our population, right?

Then WHY is the Alameda Healthcare District (AHD) spending the $5.5M in parcel tax dollars we give them on opening a wound care center on Atlantic Avenue?

The answer, directly from Alameda Hospital CEO Deborah Stebbins at last month’s AHD meeting: to serve (read: drive revenue from) off-island populations.  That’s right: their bright, shiny, new idea is to use our parcel tax dollars to start a new business to provide healthcare services that primarily meet the needs of non-Alamedans. HUH?!

It doesn’t make sense to spend all of the free money we give them on less than 1% of our population. That’s not healthcare for the residents of the city of Alameda. That’s highway robbery!

The Alameda Hospital Emergency Department (ED) sees, on average, 45 patients per day….. Continue reading


One year ago.

It was one year ago this month that I almost died, languishing in a bed in the Emergency Department at Alameda Hospital from an overdose of an extremely strong narcotic (10x the strength of morphine) prescribed by the ED physician and administered by the nurse.  The nurse who had put me in a dirty room on a dirty bed apparently didn’t monitor my vital signs for hours.  The nurse who came on the next shift was the one who noticed the dangerously low blood pressure… the hospital itself said I should have died; they do not know why I did not.

So yes, it’s personal.

When I see the Alameda Healthcare District Board meetings, when I hear Dr. Deutsch speak nonsensically, when I read old documents showing the discussions and decisions identifying ways to make money by manipulating medical protocols and deviating from medical standards….when I see AHD board decisions based in weak discussions with no substance and even less foundation for strategy decisions, when I read letters from others about horrible experiences at our local hospital—and there are more than you can even imagine—, when I see the bright, new shiny business strategies that make no sense—they don’t fit what our city needs nor will they make enough money to support the hospital—, when I see the continued blinders the majority on the hospital board have when it comes to using our tax dollars in order to reposition the hospital to fit the medical services….I am completely perplexed. 

It’s not like it’s rocket science. How hard could it be to use the $5+M per year to repurpose the hospital resources and provide what we need?  The problem: they’d have to quit competing with Alta Bates and other nearby hospitals (who incidentally call Alameda the Toy Hospital…’nuf said).  And THAT my friends is an ego issue.

Clearly, based upon medical trends, rapid changes in medical technologies, and the federal healthcare program, Alameda Hospital cannot compete with contemporary medical services, or keep up with constant changes, in a region where world class services are practically within spitting distance of our city. They should not be trying.  But what they could do that would be amazing: become a series of urgent care centers. But again, the egos would have to take a hit.  And as we’ve seen, the egos and personal incomes of those in charge have been the primary foci of those leading our hospital.  It’s wrong. Worse, it’s harming people and wasting our tax dollars which could be doing quite a lot of good if spent wisely or even well.

Aren’t you tired of Business As Usual down at Clinton Avenue?  Can’t anyone see a way to a future that better serves the diversity of people—wealthy, poor, renters, homeowners, needy children—in our city?  Those in charge must be able to.  For whatever reason, they won’t.

It’s our hospital. It should serve us and serve us well. Why are all the new strategies focused elsewhere?


Way worse than we imagine.

What is?  The unethical business culture down at our very own extremely well-funded (our tax dollars!) financially-failing institution called the Alameda Hospital led by the Alameda Healthcare District (AHD).

See Dr. Jerrold A. Kram’s Letter exposing Dr. Deutsch’s latest grandiose scheme to yet again take advantage of our local medical organizations here.

It’s a long read—so stop here and go read it if you’re limited on time: Dr. Kram’s details of the latest/greatest actions of the AHD’s Grand Poobah are unbelievable, and confirm 100% my horrified take on Deutsch when I first met and spoke with him at the League of Women Voters’ panel discussion in 2010.  I urge you to read Dr. Kram’s Letter first, before reading anymore here.

Deutsch intends to poach at-risk patients by converting them to his patients, or his practice’s patients, after they are discharged from Alameda Hospital and placed into sub-acute care. This will interrupt and discontinue the patient relationships with their primary care physicians (!). AND he is scheduled to take over as administrator of the sub-acute care unit. HUH?!  And WTF?!  How on EARTH does our Hospital and AHD Board allow this?! Oh, right: the AHD Board has a majority that creates these business relationships, that places Deutsch front and center for his own revenue and their continued/expanded control, and then speaks with a forked-tongue about all of it along the way so they can scurry around the real issues and keep doing business as usual, a business which is apparently focused squarely on expanding their personal sphere of influence and personal incomes.

The AHD and the Alameda Hospital provide the public with specious arguments—wait for it, there will be one forthcoming post haste in response to Dr. Kram’s Letter—that most Alamedans fall for every time, i.e, they continue to be able to get away with it. For decades now, they have. Aren’t you ready to do something about it yet?

Dr. Deutsch’s impact on us is way worse than we imagine it’s possible to be—all Alamedans assume the best despite what is, and has been, right before our very eyes. Too many think, oh, it can’t be what it looks like. Well, it can. It is. And worse. Documentation of Dr. Deutsch’s lifetime campaign of deliberate, self-serving, unethical influence on Alameda’s medical services and organizations can be found dating back to the early 1980s.

I urge everyone reading Dr. Kram’s Letter to make formal complaints with both the State Medical Board and the FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission)—in writing, using your name (not anonymous). We all need to come together, and together publically–yes, lend your name!—stand up against what’s wrong: our hospital and AHD Board can only serve us if adhere to best medical, ethical, and business practices. Time and time again, they show they are not. We must stop the endemic and very real harm their leadership causes. Every Alameda resident is touched by this, harmed by it personally or by someone they know. I sure have been, as have neighbors and others!  Moreover, it’s just soooooooooo so wrong.  PLEASE FILE YOUR COMPLAINTS:

FPPC complaint form: http://www.fppc.ca.gov/enforce/complaint_form.1.pdf

In the state of California, there are separate state agencies for doctors, for nurses, and for hospitals. We have to report each separately.

Here’s the information for reporting doctors:

The Medical Board of Californiahttp://www.medbd.ca.gov/consumer/complaint_info.html
See the link on that page for the Consumer Complaint Form, a PDF file that you download.

Phone for information:
Central Complaint Unit
California toll-free line: 1-800-633-2322
Phone: (916) 263-2382

Mail your Written Complaint to:
Medical Board of California
Central Complaint Unit
2005 Evergreen Street, Suite 1200
Sacramento, CA 95815

You can verify a doctor’s medical license status and view any complaints to the Medical Board here: http://www2.mbc.ca.gov/LicenseLookupSystem/PhysicianSurgeon/Search.aspx

Until we take it back the Alameda Healthcare Distsrict and make them serve us—the taxpayers that keep them in business—we should consider renaming it the Political Healthcare District or Deutsch’s Personal Lifestyle & Pension Fund.  I mean, the place is the launching pad for everyone’s political careers—Tam, Bonta, and almost Williams [thankfully, the voters intercepted that!]. And those few–through their behavior whilst on the AHD Board—showed they:

1. Were not interested in optimizing the hospital resources for oriented medical services to prioritize residents needs

2. Were interested in optimizing their own political careers even when their ultimate career path conflicted with medical sciences, practices, and standards: their success won at the cost of healthcare to 70,000 residents!

3. Were so unethical and self-serving that they did support and enable Dr. Deutsch’s highly unethical business practices both in the medical field and on the AHD Board.

4. Are not even now speaking out on our behalves, not using their influential positions on City Council to correct things. In fact, last year, Tam spoke in support of the substandard emergency medical protocols!  And Bonta, well, he was part and parcel of those heinous business strategies that were in direct conflict of medical standards!

I URGE EACH OF YOU READING THIS BLOG TO DO ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:

1. Make a complaint to the FPPC – Dr. Deutsch should NOT be on the AHD Board and allowed to vote on decisions from which he directly profits (he does this every year when he votes for the parcel tax!) and about this new information that Dr. Kram has exposed, and any other conflicts of interests you yourself think may warrant investigation << it’s the FPPC’s job to ascertain whether there is a problem; they can only do their job if we ask them to.

2. Make a complaint to the State Medical Board – if you’ve had problem with Dr. Deutsch’s medical practice

3. Write down your own horror story that you’ve experienced at Alameda Hospital and post it in a Note on ‘Dangerous Incompetence – Alameda Hospital’, a facebook group.


Our living dinosaur: Alameda Hospital Emergency Department.

The Alameda Hospital Emergency Department should be obsolete.  Why isn’t it?  Oh, right: something yawl voted on in 2002 that gives them the free money (tax revenue) to stay in business whether it makes sense for the city or not.  And the Alameda Healthcare District Board has proven (read up on the business strategies they enacted in 2010) that the very survival of the hospital is more important than providing services that actually fit the medical needs of the community that supports them with free millions of dollars per year.  What a business model!  Never ending millions each year for free! No expenses incurred to gain the millions. No debt.  Just free! Wow. I guess if my business had that, I wouldn’t have to align my services with my customer segment either.  So wrong.  So SO wrong.

In February 2011, out of the 267 people arriving by ambulance at Alameda hospital, 168 (62%) arrived via an AFD ambulance (source).  All AFD buses are ALS (advanced life support) ambulances, you know, the kind that have more capability than the Emergency Department (ED) at Alameda Hospital?  Yeah, that kind.

168 people were taken by an ALS ambulance to Alameda Hospital.  That makes no sense.  … Continue reading