Hospital Board selects longtime nurse and administrator to fill post

Hospital Board selects longtime nurse and administrator to fill post

Michele Ellson
Alameda Hospital

A longtime nurse with a wealth of both on the ground and management experience in a range of health care settings has been picked to serve on the Alameda Health Care District Board.

The board on Thursday selected Lynn Bratchett to fill out the remainder of Elliott Gorelick’s term.

“I’m very excited,” Bratchett said of his new volunteer gig on the board, which oversees Alameda Hospital.

Bratchett, who beat out five other candidates for the job, joins the board as members prepare to decide on a proposed affiliation deal with Alameda Health System which would see the public health system assume management of the financially troubled local hospital. A deal could be inked in the fall, and the affiliation efforts finalized by the beginning of 2014.

He expressed support for the deal, which hospital managers said is needed to keep the financially ailing hospital alive, and promised to safeguard parcel tax money that is supposed to remain on the Island. If the deal goes through, minding the money will be one of the board’s chief responsibilities.

“The thing I will fight very hard for, is to make sure that money is kept just for operating capital for the hospital,” Bratchett said.

Bratchett, who said he once worked at Alameda Hospital and praised the quality of the services offered there, said Alamedans deserve to have a hospital on-Island.

“I am definitely a big supporter of the hospital and I do believe it should remain open,” Bratchett said. “And I do believe it provides a much-needed service for people who live here on the Island.”

Bratchett’s predecessor, Gorelick, was a critic of the hospital and the parcel tax property owners pay to support it. He resigned in June just before the affiliation deal was announced, saying later that he thought voters should have their say on the proposed deal.

Board president J. Michael McCormick praised Bratchett, saying he brings three decades of health care experience to the board at a time when it is needed to maintain a high level of service. He said the race for a seat was a close one, with nurse and educator Jon Murphy and Jim Oddie, district director for state Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, also favored by the board.

“He brings the element of ground level detail combined with a passion for service not always seen on other health care boards,” McCormick said of Bratchett. “We now have a balanced and committed board as ready as can be to face the challenges of health care today.”

Bratchett won high marks in his application for a board seat earlier this year and he joined the hospital’s finance and management committee after that seat went to Tracy Jensen. McCormick said he was impressed with Bratchett’s interest in the direction the board has been moving, and his attendance at public discussions on the proposed affiliation deal.

Bratchett held a number of nursing and management jobs over the course of 16 years on the East Coast before coming to the Bay Area, where he worked as a clinical manager for St. Rose Hospital in Hayward and a manager at Kaiser Permanente before signing on for a seven-year stint as director of critical care operations for a critical care transport service. He has worked as a real estate broker since 2009, though he remains the assistant director of nursing at Merritt College, a job he has held since 2002.

Bratchett holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a masters of business administration. The term for his new hospital board seat is up for a vote again in 2014.

Separately, the board on July 10 received the results of a telephone survey of 400 registered Alameda voters who were polled on their support of the proposed affiliation deal. More than 70 percent of those polled said they’d definitely or probably support the deal after being posed a series of questions about it.

Results from the Alameda Hospital Foundation-financed poll, conducted in mid-June, showed that more than three-quarters of the Island’s residents think it’s important to maintain access to emergency care and that most, when told the hospital will close if the deal isn’t finalized, supported it.

The argument that seconds count in an emergency proved to be the most persuasive argument for the deal and the hospital’s continued operation, while a loss of control under the new arrangement was the most effective argument against it.

A little more than half of those polled said they’d go to Alameda Hospital for emergency care, compared to 29 percent who said they’d use Kaiser and another 20 percent who picked other options or said they weren’t sure.