San Francisco Business Times - March 17, 1997

Business News - Local News

Brookside babble: Hospital shuffles executive suite

San Francisco Business Times - by Chris Rauber

Following Brookside Hospital 's Jan. 24 affiliation with Tenet Healthcare Corp., new CEO Gary Sloan and Tenet have shaken up the management ranks at the San Pablo hospital and at nearby Doctors Hospital in Pinole, where Sloan previously served as administrator.

The two Tenet hospitals are also likely to see significant layoffs in coming weeks or months, as Sloan attempts to transform Brookside into an inpatient center and Doctors into an outpatient facility.

Linda Tavaszi, regional transition coordinator for Tenet HealthSys-tem's northern region, is coordinating the transition from public to private ownership at the 326-bed facility, formerly owned and run by the West Contra Costa County Healthcare Dis-trict. She'll be acting COO for both Brookside and Doctors Hospital, four-and-a-half miles up the freeway in Pinole.

Tavaszi has worked for Tenet for two and a half years; she formerly served as senior vice president at Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae.

Sloan also named four former Doctors' execs and three of their Brookside counterparts to the new joint leadership team for the two hospitals. From Doctors, the winners are: director of human resources Flicka Brooke; CFO Janice Gurley; Pam Pshea, acting director for patient care; and marketing director Heidi Barnes. Brookside's AnneMarie DeOrian was named assistant administrator for general services; Suellen Smith, also from Brookside, is now on-site director at Doctors; and David Loose is director of patient management services, which includes utilization review.

Meanwhile, former Brookside CFO Kenneth Jensen has surfaced at Oakland's Summit Medical Center as administrative director of finance and guest services, a new position that combines those two functions. He replaces Charlie Brown, who left the finance slot several months ago, and a guest services administrator who has switched to a managerial role, according to spokeswoman Nancy Happel.

However, Summit CFO Rick Canning retains that title and position.

Sequoia Hospital, unions ink contracts

Redwood City's Sequoia Hospital, like Brookside a public district hospital that recently transferred its assets to a much-larger corporate partner, has signed new contracts with several of its unions, including the always feisty California Nurses Association.

The CNA settlement, announced Mar. 6, followed on the heels of a similar agreement with the Local 829 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees by Sequoia, which is now part of the giant San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West hospital system. Retroactive to Nov. 1, the new CNA contract provides for a 2.5 percent wage increase over its two-year term, according to management, keeping CNA nurses' salaries in line with nearby hospitals and bringing benefits "in line with CHW standards."

The two-year AFSCME contract, announced in late February, maintained current salaries for most of the union's 650 employees, provided a 6.5 percent pay boost to about 70 "selected" AFSCME workers, and took "a significant step" toward bringing their benefits in line with other workers at CHW. Union officials exulted over beating back an 11 percent wage cut that was originally proposed by management.

Glenna Vaskelis, the administrator who took over for longtime CEO Art Faro after Sequoia's affiliation with CHW last year, called the conclusion of the contract talks "another step toward stabilizing Sequoia's financial challenges."

Sequoia lost more than $29 million in its most recent fiscal year, after Faro had pegged its losses at around $5 million.

Despite cost-cutting and other changes, this fiscal year's losses are likely to reach approximately $12 million, Vaskelis warned.

Clock is ticking for irked Kaiser nurses

Following weeks of anti-Kaiser bluster connected to a protracted contract dispute, the California Nurses Association is threatening to follow through with a one-day strike or series of strikes against Kaiser beginning in mid-April.

The San Francisco-based CNA, which represents some 7,500 nurses scattered throughout Kaiser's Northern California region, has set April 16 as a potential strike deadline.

Contract talks broke down Jan. 30. Kaiser is seeking pay cuts of 15 percent over the next six years for nearly half of its CNA nurses, to bring their pay in line with industry norms in the region.

Among the union's possible responses: A massive one-day strike against Kaiser's entire Northern California system or a rolling series of short strikes against different Kaiser facilities, capitalizing on the guerrilla tactic of keeping the larger, more powerful enemy guessing.

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