Monday, July 20, 2015

Political Desk: Hospital Rounds

Public Hospital District Position 1 - You would think that when you get this far down the ballot you'd see a diminishing of passion. This is where we are seeing positive-messaged first-timers, good-government wonks, knowledgeable and/or retired professionals and the occasional guy who says "How hard can it be?" But here in this smallest of elections is a tempest that makes even the shenanigans of Bill Bryant's Port Commission look like student government.

At the heart of all this is Valley Medical Center, which is a well-run, well administered, highly professional hospital right at the bottom of the hill.I have no probs with day-to-day operation, and number of my specialists are there. At its very top it has been for years run by a superintendent who is in turn overseen by an elected board. And there has been fireworks since about the time I moved to the neighborhood, between a reform wing that is trying to reign in the power of the administrator (who is, admittedly, done very well for himself). and the supporters of the admin.

So, the insurgents get some traction, and the admin's favored candidates lost. About this time, Valley Medical merges with University of Washington Medical Center. As a result of  this merger, the former superintendent becomes the CEO, and the five elected members of the board are now watered down by a majority group of seven additional appointed UW Trustrees on a board of directors.The lists of the two boards are here.

And among those trustees? The supporters of the current admin who had just LOST previous elections. I swear, I saw pols from Chicago fly in just to take notes for their own ward elections.

So, we have three candidates, and one of them is supportive of the administration (having been appointed to that position to fill a vacancy), and the other two are trying to shake things up, though how up things can be shaken at this point is an open question. The elected part of the board is the part we can affect, so I'm going to push all the chips in on Savannah Clifford-Visker and Lawton Montgomery because it sounds like we're going to have the inevitable flurry of last-minute revelations about how things are being run (and as I research this, the nurses are currently working without a contract, over staffing levels).

More later,