Health Care District Board candidate Leland Blandón Traiman
Health Care District Board candidate Leland Blandón Traiman
Leland Blandón Traiman, RN/FNP
Registered Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner, Fertility Specialist, Legal Consultant
-Library Board of Trustee, 8 years - This was an administrative Board which ran the library and not simply an advisory board.
-Director and owner of a medical fertility practice for 18 years.
-Drafted property tax law, created the concept of square footage taxation with the Library Relief Act of 1980.
-Helped draft legislation for two current members of the California Legislature.
-Domestic Partnership Task Force- Chairperson, wrote the first Domestic Partnership policy enacted into law in 1984.
What is your vision for the health care district and what are the key steps you would take to implement it during your four-year term, if elected?
Alamedans voted to create the hospital district because they wanted emergency services on the Island. The first order of business is to ask, "Are we fulfilling that obligation?" I do not believe we are and we need to look at where the current Board is failing and assess if the problem can be fixed and, if it can be fixed, how to fix it.
What are the most significant challenges facing Alameda Hospital at this moment?
The failure of the current Board to keep faith with the citizens of Alameda is the most significant challenge of Alameda Hospital. Our emergency services are inadequate and need to brought up to 21st Century standards or, if that is not possible, then, for the safety of our citizens, close the hospital.
Failings of the current Board:
- The hospital has lost $2 million this year alone
- is selling off property in trust to pay its bills
- Bank of America has stopped extending them credit
- the Board refused to deal with its earthquake retrofit problem until the state threatened to close down the hospital
- they failed to seek certification to care for stroke emergencies until the county blocked any stroke emergencies from being taken there.
- there is significant conflict of interest on the Board which it refuses to address. Our Board allows Alameda Hospital Board members to do business with Alameda Hospital. Taxpayers give $6 million/year to Alameda Hospital. Board members should represent the public, not their own business interests.
Should Alameda Hospital remain open? Why or why not?
Alameda Hospital should remain opened only if it can provide appropriate and safe emergency services to our citizens. The current Board has so mismanaged the hospital it is not possible to tell, at this time, if that is possible.
If the hospital closed, what would you do with the parcel tax money the district collects and what if any services should the health care district continue to provide?
If the hospital closed, I would want all parcel tax money to be sequestered until the voters decided. The voters created the hospital district and it is the voters who must decide if they wanted to dissolve the hospital district and have the funds returned to the taxpayers or, if they wished to continue, at a reduced rate, to fund other emergency services to quickly transport people off of the island to surrounding hospitals. This could mean emergency helicopter services or other solutions arrived at in consultation with the county and other hospitals.
How would you fund seismic upgrades that are required under state law?
There are several ways:
1. The state, from time to time, puts bond measures on the ballot for state matching funds for public hospital upgrades. We must lobby Alameda's elected state representatives to put such a bond measure on the ballot AND that Alameda Hospital be on the list of public hospitals to be helped.
2. Put a local bond measure on the ballot to pay for the upgrade.
3. Put an upgraded hospital parcel tax on the ballot. Our current parcel tax is regressive with multimillion dollar corporations, such as Safeway and the Oakland Raiders' corporate headquarters on Bay Farm Island, paying the same $298 dollars per year as small homeowners and small business owners. This is wrong. A restructured progressive tax could bring in significantly more money while, at the same time, significantly cut the tax of the average homeowner.
What kind of medical services do you believe Alamedans need on-Island?
Our first priority must be emergency services which are inadequate at this time. Everything else is secondary.
What do you think is the role of the board in overseeing the hospital? What would you improve about how the board carries out its work and/or works together with hospital leaders? How would you advise the hospital’s leadership to improve operations, financial stability, and patient satisfaction at the hospital?
The current Board, as I have detailed above, has failed to provide adequate oversight; failed to provide the leadership to demand that the hospital administration take the appropriate actions which the county and the state require; and failed to keep an appropriate professional relationship with the hospital administration due to Board members own financial conflict of interest with the hospital. All of this must change before we begin to address our hospital's failure to adequately serve the public.
What are the near- and long-term implications of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (“Obamacare”) for reimbursements and revenues at Alameda Hospital? What changes (if any) will be needed for the hospital to adapt to this law?
Very little of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has been gone into effect as yet. There may be the possibility of additional reimbursements and revenues because of the ACA, however, it would be imprudent to count our chickens before they hatched. As the law becomes fully implemented we should be aware of what may be required of Alameda Hospital, as a public hospital, but we also must be cautious about taking on more than is safe or reasonable. Any prediction that Alameda Hospital's financial situation would improve as a result of the ACA would be premature and irresponsible.