Voters in the El Camino Healthcare District have three strong choices when they mark their ballots for two seats on the district's board of directors. Incumbent David Reeder wants to continue working toward the district goal of ensuring better continuity of care for patients; Margaret Abe-Koga wants to turn her attention to public health matters as she leaves her seat on the Mountain View City Council later this year; and Dr. Peter Fung wants to work toward improving access to health care, addressing mental health issues, and stemming the growing health crisis of obesity through education and introducing programs in local schools.
While we believe that all three candidates offer many strengths and would serve the district well as board members, we endorse Reeder and Abe-Koga for the four-year board seats.
The director of the stroke program at El Camino Hospital, Fung has many good ideas for achieving his goals. But members of the district board do double-duty as members of the El Camino Hospital board of directors, and because Fung works as an independent contractor for the hospital as the director of its stroke program, the question arises over whether he would have to recuse himself from certain decisions because of conflict of interest rules. Hospital officials would not provide clarity on the question.
Now finishing his 16th year on the board, Reeder wants to continue his work, saying he's "uniquely situated" to help implement the district's recently approved strategic plan. Helping to create a better "continuum" of care, in which El Camino Hospital patients would have better medical oversight before and after their hospital stay, including when they're transferred to a skilled nursing facility or rehabilitation center, is one of his highest priorities, he said.
As a board member, he responded in a constructive way to a state agency's assessment that the district lacked transparency and accountability in key areas, and the board has since put changes in place to address those concerns.
Reeder is knowledgeable, responsive and determined to further improve health care in the district. He deserves another term on the board.
Abe-Koga is a member of that state agency, known as LAFCo, that criticized the health care district for a lack of transparency and accountability, so she's up to speed on some of the issues involving the district's governance. And with her experience on the City Council and other public boards, she knows a thing or two about effective governance.
Among her goals are improving accessibility and affordability of care for residents of the district, which includes Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, and parts of Sunnyvale, Palo Alto and Cupertino. If elected, she would be the only member who lives in Mountain View; all current board members and fellow candidates are residents of Sunnyvale, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. She thinks it's important for a Mountain View resident with knowledge about the district's northernmost community to take part in the district's policy- and decision-making process, and we agree.
The Voice urges you to support Margaret Abe-Koga.