The survey found that 86 percent of district residents believe the hospital "contributes directly to the quality of health care delivered to the community," and that a majority feel the hospital is an important local institution, according to a July 23 press release.
"These survey results affirm that district residents believe we continue to deliver on our original mission — as envisioned by the voters more than 50 years ago — to provide quality health care services to the community," John Zoglin, chairman of the district's board of directors, said in the release.
The survey was conducted the week of June 25, about one month after the Local Agency Formation Commission of Santa Clara County announced that an audit of El Camino had found the hospital and hospital district lacking in transparency, unaccountable to its constituents and in need of serious reform.
In the wake of that audit, LAFCO Executive Director Neelima Palacherla said her agency would move to dissolve the district if its leadership did not make significant strides toward improving transparency and accountability. The audit was not mentioned in the recent hospital's press release.
The survey cost the hospital $15,000 to conduct. It consisted of 10 main questions, which were fielded by a national public opinion company called Quality Data Management. The questions were put to 325 survey takers — all of them 21 or older. A report based on the results of the survey was compiled by JumpStart, a market research firm. According to JumpStart, the results of the survey are "statistically projectable to the district."
Going by JumpStart's statistical projection, 65 percent of district denizens are "extremely/very satisfied" with the hospital, 73 percent are opposed to dissolving the district and half of all those living within the district's boundaries feel it is extremely or very important that El Camino Hospital remains independent, locally owned and locally controlled.
Simply put, the JumpStart report concludes in its executive summary, "the majority of community members believe it is extremely/very important that El Camino Hospital retains its independence and continues to be locally owned and controlled."
"We're really pleased with the results," said Chris Ernst, a spokeswoman for the hospital. According to Ernst, the survey was intended to gauge the community's general perception of the hospital. "With a lot of the questions that have been raised, we wanted to get a pulse of what the community was thinking."
In the wake of the LAFCO report, the El Camino has faced increased criticism from the hospital's workers' union. Officials with the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers have said the hospital, as well as the district, lack transparency and accused El Camino executives of taking exorbitant salaries and bonuses while the hospital's technical and service staff have seen cuts to benefits.
Throughout the union protests and negative press the hospital has endured in recent months, Ernst said administration has remained confident that the public still appreciates the work El Camino does in the community. The survey is a confirmation that the hospital is highly valued by district residents, she said.