Health care district board okays changes to parcel tax budget

Health care district board okays changes to parcel tax budget

Michele Ellson
Alameda Hospital

How are your Alameda Health Care District parcel tax dollars being spent? The district’s board approved some changes to the budget last week that will see parcel tax money used to pay down more of the hospital’s bills than originally planned.

The board voted on February 2 to use $1.9 million in parcel tax funds to pay down overdue bills, up from the $841,197 allocated for that purpose when the board approved the original parcel tax budget in October. Another change: The district will use parcel tax money to pay off a $405,000 loan from the Alameda Hospital Foundation.

“This is the right thing to do,” Alameda Hospital’s chief executive officer, Bonnie Panlasigui, said of the decision to pay off the foundation loan. By offering to pay the loan now, she said the foundation committed up to $200,000 over the next few years toward projects like refurbishing the hospital lobby – and also agreed to forgive $25,000 in interest due.

Paying down old bills will ensure that supplies the hospital needs keep flowing, she said, and reduce anxiety about whether the hospital will have beds and other supplies it needs. The hospital has $7.7 million in bills due, about $5 million of then 120 days old or older, a presentation to the board showed.

“There’s not a day that goes by when the words of vendors being paid off doesn’t come up,” Panlasigui said.

Alameda Hospital’s affiliation deal with Alameda Health System came with a caveat: The $5.8 million a year Alamedans pay in parcel taxes can only be spent here on the Island. This year’s budget marks the first time that a specific budget for the $298-a-year tax was spelled out.

The budget approved by the local board in October included $2.5 million for unspecified capital expenditures; that amount was shifted to pay off old bills and the foundation loan. Alameda Health System officials have said they hoped some of the parcel tax money could be saved to fund state-mandated seismic upgrades.

The parcel tax budget for 2014-15 sets aside about $183,000 for a boiler replacement and $48,000 toward a required kitchen remodel. The kitchen upgrades are ultimately expected to cost between $8 million and $10 million and are due to be completed by 2018, though Panlasigui said the hospital is seeking an extension to 2020.

This year’s parcel taxes are also being budgeted to pay off a $1.5 million loan plus interest from Alameda Health System. The remaining $614,000 will cover health care district expenses.

Board president Mike McCormick asked for more details on the accounts payable expenses so that he can be assured the money isn’t leaving Alameda. He said it’s easy to follow the money when it’s used for capital expenses and less so when it’s funding hospital operations.

Separately, Panlasigui said Alameda Health System has budgeted $2 million for capital fixes to the hospital that will include new carpeting and beds. That money, she said, should become available in April.

“We should be back in this summer doing a lot of good things to the hospital,” she said.

Comments

Submitted by David (not verified) on Sat, Feb 14, 2015

So when did Stebbins exit as CEO, to be replaced by Bonnie Panlasigui?

And why does Alameda Hospital still have a presumably six-figure salary CEO to begin with, now that it's tied to AHS?

Submitted by elliott gorelick (not verified) on Mon, Feb 16, 2015

Stebbins departed with a golden parachute unjustly awarded by the Board. There was a change of control provision passed after the agreement was signed that awarded her 12 (or maybe it was 18) months of compensation even though she would have been entitled to only 3 or 4 months with her then current contract. It was an out and out giveaway of taxpayer money from her friends on the Board. This Board was never about representing the taxpayers though since they did everything they could to keep that death machine hospital open.

Second question is easier to answer. The Hospital is a multimillion dollar enterprise with a big regulatory burden that needs management. It is a distinct entity within the AHS constellation and needs a chief operating officer. As long as this death trap remains open, someone needs to manage it and the going rate (as I understand it) is 250 to 400k for this size operation.