El Camino settles on $618 million budget

New Los Gatos, Grant Road facilities push costs up 25 percent

Investing heavily in the recently acquired Los Gatos hospital, El Camino Hospital board members have approved a $618 million budget for the 2010 fiscal year starting July 1, up 25 percent -- or almost $160 million -- over last year.

The majority of funding will go toward two major projects: activating the Los Gatos property, including hiring about 450 full-time employees; and moving into the new hospital facility this fall on Grant Road.

The board also budgeted $75 million to pay for seismic upgrades and new equipment at the Los Gatos site, which El Camino officially took over on April 11, as well as health information technology and medical equipment at the Mountain View site. Administrators spoke about both endeavors during the hospital board's regular meeting last month.

"We knew we would have these expenses," chief financial officer Marla Marlow told the Voice. "It was part of our long-term plan."

The board also approved $5.2 million for community health programs, including local school programs, its own free RotaCare clinic, programs for uninsured children, and mental health and dental services.

"We are fortunate to be able to make investments in the health of our community," chief executive officer Ken Graham said in a press release. "El Camino Hospital is in a solid financial position, thanks to our conservative fiscal management over the years."

Administrators and board members renamed the hospital El Camino Hospital Los Gatos, and reopened its doors for walk-in patients on July 12. It will start accepting ambulance traffic on July 19.

With the new Los Gatos hospital and a new facility in Mountain View, hospital administrators have set strategic goals for the coming year, including improving the quality of patient care. Merging programs at Los Gatos and the Mountain View, so the hospitals work as one entity, is also a top goal for the coming year.


Posted by Bill Krepick, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jul 16, 2009 at 8:28 pm

The El Camino Hospital and its Board continues a pattern of ignoring taxpayer input and making investments without committing to fiscally responsible financial controls and financial reporting. In April of this year ECH said there would be no need to spend more than $20 million in earthquake retrofits for the Los Gatos facility because the State had relaxed its 2014 earthquake retrofits. Now they say they need $75 million in next year's budget? They also said that the previously announced $100 million investment in Los Gatos would not be tracked and reported on in quarterly budget reviews because it was 'not significant.' Now they report a 25% year-over-year increase in their budget. And $5.2 million for community health programs? That is less than they collect in property taxes from citizens in the hospital district! The hospital's and the Board's spend, spend, spend attitude is an affront to all taxpayers and patients who are burdened by a broken healthcare delivery system.

Posted by Resident, a resident of Waverly Park
on Jul 17, 2009 at 1:27 am

Since El Camino is doing so well financially that they can afford to buy another hospital that I say we should all ask for the property refund that we voted to pay to build the new hospital. My concern is that why should Mtn. View residents continue to foot the bill when others city residents do not have to pay extra property taxes to receive the same services?

How about a resident discount? Better yet, free service since we have already been paying for it.

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