Below are frequently asked questions about Susan and the issues
facing the West Contra Costa Healthcare District. If you have a
question for Susan, please send it to susan@SusanSwift.org or
call 510 486 2356.
Why are you running for West Contra Costa Healthcare
What is the West Contra Costa Healthcare District?
What is Measure
Didn’t Measure D fix the hospital’s financial
can be done to ensure Doctors Medical Center’s future?
qualifies you for this position?
As director, how would you manage
What will your priorities be once you are elected?
Why are you running
for West Contra Costa Healthcare District Director?
For more than 30 years, I have dedicated myself to working on issues
of importance to families: health and environmental protection,
economic opportunity, youth and domestic violence, and education.
My decision to serve on the West Contra Costa Healthcare District
was inspired by local support for Measure D earlier
this year and my honest desire to help the district provide the
best possible healthcare resources for all
the people of West County.
What is the West Contra Costa Healthcare
The West Contra
Costa Healthcare District
is a “special district” serving approximately 250,000
residents living in West Contra Costa County. The district directors “provide
leadership and oversight in the delivery of healthcare in the West
Contra Costa Healthcare District.” The WCCHD was established
in 1948 and has overseen the hospital for fifty years. Geographically,
the district encompasses five cities – Hercules, Pinole,
San Pablo, Richmond and El Cerrito – and the unincorporated
areas of West Contra Costa County, including Crockett, Port Costa,
Rodeo, and Kensington.
What is Measure D?
Measure D was a parcel tax measure passed in June 2004 by 84 percent
of voters. The measure levies a $52 annual parcel tax to support
the operation of Doctors
Didn’t Measure D fix the hospital’s
Measure D was an important first step. It is estimated that the
parcel tax will generate $6.1 million per year toward the hospital’s
$150 million annual budget. In July, the hospital’s CEO,
Irwin Hansen, issued $26 million Certificates of Participation
(COPS) and sought loans to raise an additional $30-40 million to
help put the district on the road to recovery.
While Measure D
will help to stabilize finances in the short-term, some critical
changes need to be made to ensure long-term sustainability
of services and to generate the revenue needed to rebuild the hospital’s
can be done to ensure Doctors Medical Center’s future?
While there is no simple answer to that question, I believe there
are three critical steps the district should take to improve the
hospital’s chance for survival. As your representative, I
will champion each.
1.) Promote Excellence:
I would work to effectively promote the excellence and responsiveness
of DMC, especially the hospital’s
under-utilized specialty centers (burn and wound care, cancer,
labor and delivery, cardiac services, and orthopedics).
a Continuum of Care: I would facilitate cooperation between the
hospital, the county health department and the Brookside
Clinics to ensure a continuum of preventive and emergency services
to the underinsured population of West Contra Costa County.
Identify New Funding Streams: I would pursue a variety of local,
state and national funding options, including “impact mitigation” agreements
to secure contributions from entities that produce harmful social,
economic and physical burdens on the West County population.
work together to secure the health services that West County deserves!
What qualifies you for this position?
Stabilizing the hospital financially cannot happen in isolation.
The challenges faced by Doctors Medical Center San Pablo/Pinole
exist within a national healthcare system that is broken. We need
to think in the broadest terms to solve the problems at hand.
many years of experience in policy, marketing, and public relations,
I bring a breadth of skills that other board members
do not possess. My relationships with legislators as well as community
advocates, both locally and statewide, will be an asset to the
district as we confront the challenges ahead.
Currently, I am a
consultant, community volunteer, and student in financial planning,
I have the experience and the time to be
an effective director on the WCCHD. For more information about
my background, see About Susan.
For more information about California’s healthcare crisis,
check out California
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a director, how would you manage the hospital?
The board’s role is not to micro-manage or hijack the administration’s
operation of the hospital. The board must safeguard the hospital
as the public’s resource; directing policy and basing financial
decisions upon that trust.
The stability of the hospital depends
on its contracts with insurance companies and the utilization of
reimbursable services. DMC needs
more insured patients. The district should audit the quality of
its services to ascertain that they are up to the high standards
expected throughout the Bay Area. I would actively participate
on any committees or task forces established to increase the hospital’s
market share of insured patients.
What will your priorities be
once you are elected?
As your representative, I will focus my energies on addressing
three key issues:
1. Fiscal Stewardship
As a steward of public monies, my first priority will be to ensure
that every dollar is spent wisely. In addition, I am committed
to finding new ways to generate revenue and trim costs.
we face are bigger than the district itself, and there will be
times when political action at the regional and state level
are required to secure funding and support for DMC. I would also
advocate for the board to re-invigorate a Hospital Foundation and
to engage in fundraising to complement the administration’s
efforts to balance the budget.
Additionally, I would pursue “impact
to secure funding from entities that produce harmful social, economic
and physical burdens on the West County population.
2. Quality Services
The success of Doctors Medical Center rests on providing the highest
quality of care to each and every patient. To do so, we must preserve
competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain high-caliber
To attract new patients from the insured population,
DMC must position itself as a competitor in the Bay Area’s
healthcare marketplace. The hospital must promote its existing,
especially the hospital’s under-utilized specialty centers
(burn and wound care, cancer, labor and delivery, cardiac services,
3. Responsive Communications
I am concerned about the lack of communications between the district
and administration and the community at large. I want to ensure
that the products and services delivered by DMC truly meet the
needs and the standards of the consumers.
As someone with experience
in the community as well as at the county and state levels
of government, I see my role as that
I would work diligently to facilitate cooperation between the
hospital, the county health department and the Brookside Clinics
a continuum of preventive and emergency services to the underinsured
population of West Contra Costa County.
In addition, personal
outreach and interface with patients is required to serve our
multicultural community with dignity
quality services. I will look for ways to expand multilingual
access, signage and interpreters, as well as creating a position
ombudsman to respond to community concerns.
I will be always
be an accessible advocate on behalf of West County residents.