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League of Women Voters
Los Alto-Mountain View Area
3 January 1996

Paul Hoar, M.D., Chairman and Members of the Board
El Camino Hospital District Board
Dear Dr. Hoar and Members of the Board:

After years of observing ECH District Board Meetings, the LWV believes that the law suit that the District Board has filed against the Camino Healthcare Board, paid for out of tax money, is not in the interests of the public.

As we see it, if the District Board (representing contracting and independent physicians) were to prevail in this legal suit against Camino Healthcare (representing Sunnyvale Medical Clinic and Shoreline Medical Group), the physicians groups would switch roles in terms of control of the hospital-- and the public would be in the same position it is in today regarding access, costs, and quality of care.

The District Board has not presented any plan to the public for future administration of the hospital. We believe the District Directors who have filed this law suit owe it to the public to spell out changes that would improve health care services to patients: what they recommend doing that is currently not being done by Camino Healthcare and what they recommend be discontinued that is currently being done by Camino Healthcare.

Members of the Camino Healthcare Board of Directors have stated to our LWV observers that they admit errors on their part and are amenable to change.

We see two groups of physicians hassling over their share of the health care dollar, without consideration of the external forces that are exerting pressure on the finances and control of this hospital that was built and provided at taxpayers expense. Regardless of which physician group prevails, these external forces must be dealt with.

Consider -- if the District Board were to win this law suit and force dismantling of Camino Healthcare, we foresee a legal morass that could continue for years and, in the process, destroy El Camino Hospital. In the best interest of the public, we urge solution by negotiation.

Of primary consideration is our concern about making ECH vulnerable to take over by a for-profit corporation as is currently happening to Good Samaritan and its associates. We believe it will take the total community of physicians working together, not one or another group of physicians, to avoid this unfortunate circumstance.

At its board meeting on January 2, 1996, the League of Women voters of the Los Altos-Mountain View Area voted to host a town hall type meeting on the controversy at ECH, to be held in early February.

A clearer understanding of your goals would help the LWV, and any other public agencies that choose to participate with us, to define the topic for our public meeting.

We can be reached by phone, fax, or in person --

Shirley Rich
Ann Coombs

We look forward to your prompt reply.


Crownie Billik and Muriel Knudsen, Co-chair
League of Women Voters,
Los Altos-Mountain View Area

CC: Douglas Usher and Members of the Camino Healthcare Board
Susan Mirch-Kretchmann, Chair, LWV Sunnyvale-Cupertino Area

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