June 20, 2012, Mountain View, CA. The El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors yesterday approved placement of an initiative on the ballot for the November election, although it also found that the initiative, if implemented, could impair the hospital's mission to provide top-quality healthcare to residents of the District. The initiative seeks to limit the annual salary for certain senior executives at El Camino Hospital.
"It's important for District residents to understand that no tax dollars go to employee salaries, which are instead funded by the hospital's operations," said John Zoglin, Chairman of the El Camino Hospital District Board. "Furthermore, the hospital Board takes a thoughtful approach to executive compensation to ensure that our employees are compensated fairly, in line with the market and in a way that is transparent to the public. Having a strong management team is an essential part of running a hospital that serves the needs of District residents."
The initiative is based on the premise that salaries of executives of the El Camino Hospital, which are published and publicly available each year, are funded by District tax dollars. However, the District has no employees. All El Camino Hospital executive and employee salaries are funded by the hospital's operations budget. The hospital Board employs a robust process with the support of outside consultants who report directly to the Board, and utilize extensive survey and data analysis to ensure wages are comparable with current market rates for all of our employees, from administrative staff to executives. As a nonprofit corporation, El Camino Hospital is precluded from paying any employee wages and benefits that exceed market rates for comparable work.
By limiting the annual salary of certain El Camino Hospital executives, managers and administrators, the initiative could inhibit the hospitals' ability to attract and retain top-level talent to manage a complex organization like El Camino Hospital. The initiative could also prompt the resignation of the hospital's current management, and leave the hospital with a less experienced leadership team. This could ultimately have a severe impact on the hospital's ability to provide top-quality care.
Finally, the El Camino Hospital District Board of Directors believes there are legal issues with the initiative itself, as it doesn't appear state law enables initiatives to set compensation limits for employees of El Camino Hospital.
The El Camino Hospital District was established by voter approval in 1956 in accordance with California Local Hospital District Law. The purpose of the District is to establish, maintain and operate or provide assistance in the operation of health facilities and other health care services provider, groups and organizations that are necessary for the maintenance of good physical and mental health in the communities served by the District. The District, now known as El Camino Healthcare District, encompasses most of Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills; a large portion of Sunnyvale, and small sections of Cupertino, Santa Clara, and Palo Alto. The publicly elected El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors approves tax dollar expenditures, including expenditures for the award winning Community Benefit program. Community Benefit funds are granted each year to local nonprofits, schools and government programs that provide critical health services to the underserved. All District Board meetings are publicly noticed, open to the public, and available for viewing on the District website.