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Catch 22 at El Camino Hospital

Original post made on Jul 27, 2007

Editor's note: Four weeks ago, the Voice reported that a patient at El Camino Hospital had been released after an unparalleled length of stay — five and half a years. Due to a technicality in his Medi-Cal coverage, Jimmy Campbell, 43, who has a degenerative neurological disease called spinocerebellar atrophy, was unable to receive full coverage for the 24-hour at-home nursing care that his doctor prescribed.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 27, 2007, 12:00 AM

Comments (15)

Posted by Debbie
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 27, 2007 at 9:29 am

No one should be surprised that the Administration at El Camino did more harm than good for this patient. The Board of Directors at El Camino Hospital has had greedy physicians like Ed Bough, MD and Dominick Curatola, MD on it for years, who were only acting in their own financial interests. Former CEO Lee Domanico only seemed to be interested in maximizing his own compensation, and keeping side deals with companies like Sensitron where he received stock options, and Vocera, where his wife secured a job, secret. He developed executive bonus plans based on the amount of money El Camino Hospital was making, not on whether patients were being well served. Diana Russell, VP of Patient Care Services, should really be VP of Patient NO-Care Service!

Posted by Bill K
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 27, 2007 at 10:05 am

Something has not been right at El Camino Hospital for the last several years. Good physicians have been leaving. Described by the El Camino Hospital District Board as one of the best and most talented physicians to ever practice at El Camino, cardiac surgeon Marc Pelletier, MD resigned last month. Also resigning last month was the El Camino Hospital Radiologists Group, which had been practicing exclusively at El Camino for 45 years! These resignations are not good for patient care. The El Camino Hospital District Board and administration don't seem to care.

Posted by Robert
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jul 27, 2007 at 2:02 pm

"There was an attempt to make us do what was best for the hospital's bottom line."

Both Dr. Hoffman and Dr. Hansen should be given awards for standing up to the El Camino Hospital Administration, including former CEO Lee Domanico and VP for Patient Care Services Diana Russell. While Domanico and the District Board raised our taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars and are borrowing hundreds of millions more, they still don't know what business they are in - taking care of patients. This Board needs to have an extreme makeover, instead of the dishonest characters like Ed Bough, MD and Mark O'Connor making decisions effecting patient care.

Hats off to Drs. Hoffman and Hansen. Job well done!

Posted by Art Blackwell
a resident of Whisman Station
on Jul 28, 2007 at 7:54 pm

Ah, now a LOT becomes clearer! My FIRST stroke was in Colorado. That hospital made every effort to provide beginning rehab and care that was enough to go home. They did the basics: that took a total of THREE WEEKS and I was highly motivated. I was very lucky that my SECOND stroke was much milder when I was here for rehab at the REACH program ( I recommend it for ALL stabilized stroke patients. It is a service from Foothill College and DOCTOR recommended ).
I ended up at El Camino. The DOCS are great; the ADMIN was NOT. The DOCS delayed my release, the ADMIN people pushed it! I now get my services at STANFORD. I go out of my way for any ER stuff to go to STANFORD. We are far closer to El Camino, but I know that STANFORD won't cut corners when it come to care!


HOORAY for the DOCS and SENIOR NURSES! BOOS for the ADMINS and the lower level nursing staff!


Posted by Dorothy Madison
a resident of Waverly Park
on Aug 1, 2007 at 10:11 am

The treatment of this patient is just an example of what the Hospital Administration and Board actually think about their community. This example is just the tip of a very large iceberg of mistreatment of patients for financial reasons. I predict that this Board and Administration will retaliate against these two fine physicians. The Board and Administration won't accept the negative publicity of their own actions, and will find a way to retaliate. They have done this in the past, and will spend whatever it takes to silence these and other physicians who complain about poor treatment of their patients.

Posted by Neil Jensen
a resident of Rex Manor
on Aug 2, 2007 at 6:33 am

Of course the administration people at El Camino Hospital have to be SOBs. That's their job, to make the cash flow in and out balance. Someone has to do it as long as health-care-for-profit exists as an industry. It reminds me gold-rush San Francisco. The city burned down five times in one year, so Sam Brannan organized a fire insurance company. If you bought his insurance, should a fire break out, he would send a team of fireman to fight it. If you didn't pay, then tough luck. Your house burned down. That's free enterprize. Brannan made a lot of money; and people must have been satisfied. After all, private industry always does anything better than government. Then the liberals gained control of the city government and instituted socialized firefighting, passing off the expenses by taxing the rich.

Posted by Robert A. Christensen, RN
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2007 at 9:00 pm

I have been a nurse at El Camino Hospital for just over 25 years. It is impossible to work somewhere that long and not form opinions about the physicians with whom one works every day. I would advise the public to be very cautious in describing physicians (and administrators) with words such as "greedy", "dishonest characters", "SOBs" and "boos to the lower level nursing staff". The vast majority of us (nurses, doctors, managers and administrators) work very hard to take good care of the patients who come to us for care. I hope the public will not be unduly influenced by name calling.

Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Aug 6, 2007 at 10:08 am

Don Frances is a registered user.


Thank you for weighing in here. I've worked at the Voice for two and a half years, and am amazed at the bitterness aimed at El Camino. It's way out of proportion to its benefits, and ignores the thousands of individual people who are working hard to provide top-rate medical care there.

Posted by Neal M
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2007 at 12:55 pm

Don, You weren't the editor when the Mountain View Voice filed a law suit against the El Camino Hospital District Board to force them to disclose the compensation of CEO Lee Domanico. However, the Voice itself got a payment from El Camino Hospital in the settlement of the law suit. This money was ill spent by the Board, as they were trying to cover up their lies about the compensation. As you may know, the Board had announced that Domanico was making $350,000 a year, when he was actually making nearly one million. The Voice did its part to raise the cost of health care for the whole district!

Posted by Don Frances
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Aug 7, 2007 at 11:08 am

Don Frances is a registered user.


For the record, the Voice received nothing more than attorney's fees in its lawsuit against El Camino Hospital. The lawsuit's purpose was not money, it was full disclosure of Domanico's compensation, which we got.

It could be argued that the lawsuit saved El Camino money in the long run, since outrage over Domanico's compensation might have factored in the lower compensation package for the incoming CEO. Whatever the case, it's naive to assume that a single court settlement (even a significant one, like the $200,000 payout to Aaron Katz) results in a direct increase in "the cost of health care for the whole district."

Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Aug 7, 2007 at 1:48 pm

Don, Im glad to see your level-headed comments above about ECH. I am a bit surprised, however, that you have not done anything about the personal attacks aimed at named individuals by the original poster.

Posted by Bill
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Aug 11, 2007 at 6:00 am

One would hope that the successful lawsuit brought by the Voice against the El Camino Hospital District would have lead to more accountability, and hence lower prices. I would agree there is a little more accountability, but this lawsuit did absolutely nothing to lower the cost of health care, even in the long run. The Board voted to raise prices of services at ECH last summer, despite announcing record profits and margins. At a community owned hospital, the Board should be looking for ways to decrease the cost of health care, not seeking ways to increase the prices to the owners (the residents of the District). A non-profit is given tax exempt status to provide for a common good, not to provide million dollar compensation to its executives! In Jimmy's case, common decency was sorely absent.

Posted by Harriet S.
a resident of another community
on Sep 29, 2007 at 10:55 am

Have there been other suits brought against El Camino and/or former CEO Domanico re his compensation and/or conflicts of interest with Vocera and Sensitron? Domanico just resigned his position at the hospital system he went to after El Camino.

Posted by Mark
a resident of another community
on Oct 13, 2007 at 8:53 am

Harriet, Have you heard why Lee Domanico resigned at Legacy Health System in Portland? People are asking if Domanico did the same things up there that he did at El Camino Hospital - taking stock options in return for hospital business? While the El Camino Hospital Board did nothing except praise Domanico, the Board at Legacy actually seems to take its job seriously.

Posted by AJ
a resident of another community
on Jan 9, 2009 at 9:08 am

Thank you for posting these comments. My son was forced out of El Camino hospital vomiting. Staff lied and the doctor lied stating that he was not. Now he is dying. It was interesting to find out how the hospital works. Know any good attorney's to sue the hospital.

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