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To Whom It May Concern:

I’m writing because I’ve noticed an inaccurate and misleading theme emerging in recent
commentary about Alameda Hospital – specifically that the recent financial and
operational improvements at the Hospital have been achieved at the expense of patient
care and safety. These sentiments have been expressed by various individuals in a
number of forums, most recently by Denise Lai in a Commentary published in the
October 21, 2010 edition of The Alameda Sun.

These are serious allegations – quality of care and patient safety are the primary
objectives of all the staff, clinicians and service professionals that work at the Hospital. .
Any possible failure of quality or safety warrants the highest scrutiny and immediate
remediation. It would be entirely unacceptable if any of those responsible were
prioritizing financial performance over these very important objectives.

Ms. Lai’s commentary suggests Alameda Hospital has somehow manipulated the
emergency transportation protocols for the ambulance service and paramedics to
maximize revenue at the expense of patient safety and care. This statement is
categorically untrue. Emergency medical transportation standards are defined by
Alameda County Department of Health Services, and Alameda Hospital supports and
endorses those expert standards. Urgent, life threatening conditions (Code III) must be
taken to the nearest qualified emergency room. Relying on these standards ensures that
emergency patients in the County receive care at the closest facility that is qualified to
provide it.

What’s distressing about these broad allegations of quality and safety failure is that they
are not substantiated by the facts about processes and practices at the hospital. When it
comes to the clinical and service experience of a particular individual, professional
ethical standards and patient privacy regulations make it impossible for anyone
associated with the Hospital to comment specifically. This may make it sound like we
unable or unwilling to respond to allegations, but there’s a good reason for these controls
– they help preserve the privacy of the individual, and the confidentiality of their personal
health information.

There is plenty of reliable public information available about the standards of care and
safety in effect at Alameda Hospital. The California Department of Health Services
(www.dhs.gov) maintains detailed records on performance for every licensed facility in
the state, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (www.hhs.gov)
maintains similar records at the federal level for hospitals that participate in the Medicare
program.
Alameda Hospital continues to be recognized by industry and regulatory authorities for
the standards of quality care and patient safety maintained at the facility. Last May, the
Hospital received a full three year accreditation from the Joint Commission (The
Commission). Joint Commission Accreditation is an intensive process in which a team of
experts examines and audits every facet of hospital operations. It is the standard by
which all U.S. Hospitals are measured, and a full three year accreditation is the strongest
endorsement of hospital operations that The Commission awards. Alameda Hospital has
also been recognized by the American Heart Association’s “Get with the Guidelines”
program for excellence in cardiac and pulmonary care for three years in a row.

Maintaining and promoting quality and safety for our patients is the most important job
we have at Alameda Hospital. We are passionately committed to the effort, and work
hard on our continuous improvement and innovation processes to ensure that we remain
focused and vigilant. We encourage community members, patients and their families to
report issues and concerns either to us directly at Hospital Administration (510.814.4001)
or, if it’s more comfortable, through one of the agencies that provides oversight to
hospital operations and practices at the California Department of Public Health (1-800-
554-0352), or Joint Commission’s Office of Quality Monitoring (1-800-994-6610).

Data and facts are our most tools in this important work – rumors and innuendo are
neither reliable, nor productive.

Jordan Battani
District Board President
jbattani@alamedahospital.org