Mountain View Voice

News - June 15, 2012

Hospital names three new board members

Move will add expertise in finance, quality control and policy

by Nick Veronin

El Camino Hospital's board just got bigger. In a move intended to help the hospital board make better decisions, the health care organization finalized the appointment of three new directors on June 7.

Dr. Neal H. Cohen, Dr. Jeffrey Davis and Nandini Tandon — all of whom have experience in medicine and business — will help the hospital board "apply governance best practices" and "create more depth of subject matter expertise in the areas of finance, quality and policy," according to an El Camino press release.

The new members will join the five current directors, plus El Camino CEO Tomi Ryba, to bring the hospital corporation board to nine members total. In addition to bringing more points of view and a greater level of expertise into the hospital's decision making process, the new members could be perceived to be bringing greater outside oversight to organization.

A recent audit by the Santa Clara County Local Agency Formation Commission was critical of the fact that the hospital corporation board was composed of the same members as the hospital district board. The lead author of the audit, Stephen Foti, said that the district board ought to be composed of different members than the hospital corporation board in order to avoid the potential for the directors to make decisions during hospital district meetings based upon their interests in the hospital corporation.

Chris Ernst, spokeswoman for the hospital, said the decision to appoint the additional board members had nothing to do with allaying the concerns of Foti and LAFCO officials.

"The addition of the three new hospital (board) members ... has been in process for the last 18 months," Ernst wrote. "The District Board researched best governance practices over the past year and decided to expand the hospital board to best reflect that governance research."

All three new board members boast backgrounds in healthcare.

Cohen is a medical doctor with multiple master's degrees in business and public health and has experience in risk management and regulatory affairs; he is currently working as a professor of anesthesia and perioperative care and medicine at the U.C. San Francisco School of Medicine.

Davis is also a medical doctor with a master's degree in public health; he is the chief medical officer of Avivia Health — a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kaiser Permanente — and the medical director of national sales and account management at Kaiser.

Tandon holds a doctoral degree in biochemistry. She has 20 years experience serving on the boards of pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms and worked as a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley for a decade

"Drs. Cohen, Davis and Tandon bring years of clinical and business expertise that will further strengthen the board's expertise — not just in finance, quality and policy — but also add a new dimension to our knowledge in hospital and physician relations, managed care, population health and disease management," El Camino Hospital District Board Chairman, John Zoglin, said in the press release. "Beyond these areas, their understanding of the dynamic health care market in Northern California will help us continue providing high-quality care for our patients in a rapidly changing health care environment."

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