Editorial endorsement: El Camino Healthcare District

The Voice recommends Abe-Koga, Reeder for seats on the five-member board

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.

David Reeder

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.

Margaret Abe-Koga

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.

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12 people like this
Posted by PH
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

El Camino Hospital needs to provide information as to whether Dr. Fung would have conflict of interest issues that would affect his ability to function on the board. It is not fair to him or the voters to let this question go unanswered. I don't particularly care to have a council member move over to the hospital board and would not vote for the other candidate. This leaves the need for the hospital to give accurate information to the voters such as myself who are considering voting for Dr. Fung.

9 people like this
Posted by A Reader against Reeder
a resident of Gemello
on Oct 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm

The district has (by their own admission) not been transparent and accountable to the people during Reeder's 16 years. They say that no taxpayer money went to the Los Gatos hospital purchase. Instead, they payed for it from hospital revenue and the taxpayer money went to pay for delivering the services that brought in that revenue. We approved a huge bond measure to pay for a new Mountain View hospital building and with the money they saved they bought a hospital in Los Gatos. Shell games.

Reeder is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

10 people like this
Posted by p
a resident of The Crossings
on Oct 16, 2014 at 12:45 am

I've had enough of Margaret Abe-Koga to last a lifetime. NO way we need to breed another career politician.

6 people like this
Posted by Voter
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 17, 2014 at 8:01 am

MAK has already indicated that she'll run for county supervisor if she doesn't get hospital board.

Reeser's been in the board for 16 years?! Then he voted to pay the hospital's CEO 4 times wage pay as the President of the United States. For overseeing one medium and one small hospital?

Fung is a physician and a newcomer and IMO he's the logical choice.

8 people like this
Posted by Lois Grant
a resident of another community
on Oct 18, 2014 at 11:33 am

My husband and I have been residents of South Sunnyvale, near the Los Altos border, for over 50 years. Family members have been patients at El Camino, and my husband has been a volunteer with the El Camino Auxiliary for 15 years since his retirement from NASA/Ames Research. I believe that it is time for fresh thinking and new voices on the El Camino Healthcare District board. Only Dr. Peter Fung brings that perspective. Reeder is a five term incumbent and Abe-Koga, is an long term local politician. Fung has 35 years of dedicated medical experience and good new ideas. The issue of conflict of interest with his Stroke Clinic position should be fully explored. But, it is deeply unfortunate that the Voice seems to have set his candidacy aside without proper investigation. In addition, I find it commendable in this day and age that Fung would try to self-finance his campaign so he will not be beholden to special interests. Let's give the board what it needs -- Dr. Fung.

9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Waverly Park
on Oct 19, 2014 at 11:46 am

The Voice is mistaken in stating the Dr. Fung is an employee of El Camino Hospital. Doctors in private practice are self-employed. It's extremely doubtful that personal financial gain is why he is running for hospital board.

It would be refreshing to have an actual health care provider involved in overseeing this hospital, instead of a long-time incumbent or a career politician.

5 people like this
Posted by Town Resident
a resident of Rengstorff Park
on Oct 22, 2014 at 10:06 pm

Well, the Town Crier was more thorough than the Voice about MAK.

"we still wonder about her aspirations for political office beyond the El Camino district. She was NOT emphatic in her intention to serve the entire four-year term. Leaving that door open closed off our possible endorsement."

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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