GET THE FACTS
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Measure M?
Measure M is a ballot measure for the upcoming November 6th election asking the voters within the El Camino Hospital District to cap all executive salaries at El Camino Hospital to twice what the Governor of the State of California makes annually. Effective in December of 2012, the governor’s salary will be $165,288; double that amount will be $330,576.
What is the El Camino Hospital District?
Founded 50 years ago, the District includes Los Altos, Mountain View, a large part of Sunnyvale and small parts of several other nearby cities. The District is its own political entity, subject to Brown Act (open meeting law) requirements, and is run by a five-person board of directors that serve four-year terms. If you live in the District and pay property taxes, then part of your property taxes goes to the District. The District then allocates those dollars to various community programs that promote the health and well-being of District residents.
What is El Camino Hospital?
The Hospital is comprised of many services and programs–from our 41-acre campus in Mountain View– to the Los Gatos campus. Our Mountain View Hospital facility on Grant Road is most well-known, including its Emergency Room services. But El Camino Hospital facilities also encompass treatment centers for urology and men’s health, orthopedics, breast cancer, a Woman’s Hospital, the Taft Center for Clinical Research and the Fogarty Institute. These are places where patients come to be treated for everything from a broken bone to a life-threatening illness. We are an important part of this community and we take our responsibilities seriously.
Why is the Hospital Opposing Measure M?
There are a number of reasons why members of the community, medical professionals and Hospital Administration oppose Proposition M.
- Measure M is misleading: The Hospital does not use any district tax revenue to pay salaries. Not one single penny. Administrators are paid only from money generated by Hospital operations.
- The Hospital sets salaries in accordance with federal and state laws, and based on a Board policy of paying executives at the 50th percentile of the market; information obtained from independent surveys and analysis.
- Under this initiative, the CEO’s salary would be comparable to the CEO of a rural hospital one-fifth the size of El Camino Hospital.
- Measure M sets a bad precedent, asking voters to micro-manage operations and reduce the authority of your elected board.
- Measure M is too risky. Tying our Hospital executives’ compensation to the governor’s salary is arbitrary and unreasonable.
- Measure M is potentially illegal – and dealing with such an ill-conceived measure will be costly – with hundreds of thousands of dollars being wasted on lawyers’ fees. Here’s what Santa Clara County’s own attorneys had to say about Measure M: “There is a legal question whether a Hospital district is subject to a voter approved initiative. Additional questions may arise with respect to implementation of Measure M, which is not addressed in the Measure.”
Can you explain How the Hospital Sets Salaries?
The Hospital sets salaries in accordance with federal and state laws, and based on a Board policy of paying executives at the 50th percentile of the market. “50th percentile” means at the middle of the market. We also glean information obtained from independent surveys and analysis. The Hospital is a vibrant place with a number of treatment centers and groundbreaking research facilities. Our ability to attract and retain people is based on offering salaries that are commensurate with the size and scope of our operations.
Who Sets Compensation at the Hospital?
The El Camino Hospital Board adheres to a rigorous policy for setting executive compensation. The Board has established a separate Executive Compensation Committee. Members of the compensation Committee must have no conflicts of interest, which means employees and physicians with employment relationships cannot serve.
How Does the District Board work? Is it a paid position?
Members of the 5-person Board are elected. It is a non-paid, volunteer position.
How Much Money Is Spent In The Community?
The El Camino Hospital District spends approximately $6 million in tax revenue annually on programs such as school nurses, subsidized health services such as dialysis and preventative healthcare. In the last three years, more than $16 million in district funds have been distributed. Additionally, out of its own operating revenue, the Hospital spends about $49 million annually to cover charity care expenses, unreimbursed Medi-Cal treatment, and subsidized health services for the community including emergency services and behavioral health. That is a total of about $55 million annually on community health benefits.
Is That All The Tax Revenue The Hospital Receives?
The District receives a total of $15M each year in taxes. $5.8M goes to pay down the $148M general obligation bond voters approved to help rebuild the Hospital. $9.1M comes from taxes we have been receiving since the District was formed 50 years ago. Traditionally this was all used for Hospital capital improvements. Starting five years ago the District Board allocated $6M of the $9.1M for our community benefits grants. The remainder of the $9.1M property tax still goes to long term capital expenditures for the Mountain View campus of El Camino Hospital.
What is the Hospital’s Net Revenue Annually?
Revenues in FY 2012 were $658 million.
Does the Hospital make a profit? Explain why you’re a non-profit entity?
When ECH was first envisioned more than 50 years ago, the intent was that the community would fund the building of the Hospital, and provide for on-going capital maintenance and improvement. But, it was set up as an Enterprise District, meaning that the operations of the Hospital would totally be paid for by payers of services such as Medicare, private insurance and self-pay.
ECH is a nonprofit, but not in the sense that we typically think of nonprofits. Even as a nonprofit, we do make operating income which is reinvested in the Hospital to make sure that we continue to provide world class medicine. The Hospital is run as a competitive business — it must be to survive. The benefit to our District residents and other patients is that we do not have to make big margins to satisfy our stockholders. The residents of the District are our stockholders. We can and do put our patients first as they are our stakeholders.
Is information about the El Camino District Board of Directors available to the public?
The El Camino Hospital Board operates under the Brown Act open meeting law the same as city councils and school boards. All meetings are publicly noticed and open to the public. Any member of the community can provide comments on any motion item on the agenda and time is available at every Board meeting for the public to comment on items not on the agenda. Agendas and information packets along with videos of Board meetings are posted on the El Camino Hospital web site at: http://www.elcaminohospital.org/About_El_Camino_Hospital/Board. Other comparable hospitals in the Bay Area such as Stanford, Good Samaritan and O’Connor do not have board meetings that are open to the public. El Camino Hospital is in fact the most transparent hospital in the Bay Area.