Sawhney and Rogers Emerge as Defenders of Hospital


DR. RAJENDRA RATNESAR No other member of the Eden Township board has weathered more calls for potential conflict of interest charges than Ratnesar. As an employee of Sutter, he reportedly earns over $100,000 a year while serving as the board’s chair. Various groups led by the Calfornia Nurses Association charged Ratnesar with being on the take last June when reports surfaced alleging other members of the board not including Ratnesar faced potential conflict of interests suits. To the uproar of many nurses and doctors, he recently removed member Carole Rogers from a mediation committee for distributing “inappropriate” materials to the mediator. Soft-spoken and slight, Ratnesar does not appear to hold a strong grip over the board’s action and shows a tendency to flub simple rules of order during meetings. A recall effort is currently in its infancy to remove Ratnesar, but such a move may not have time to affect the near-term effort to save the hospital. QUOTABLE “There are many members who you could say have a conflict of interest. We all have worked in the medical field.”

DEV MAHADEVAN The CEO of the Eden Township District is alleged to be the board’s tether to Sutter corporate. Behind the scenes, some contend he is difficult to work with, but keeps a somewhat low profile. During a meeting in August when the board rescinded Sutter’s plan to purchase the hospital, the turn of events had a few board members glancing towards Mahadevan for direction. Mahadevan’s role may grow larger in coming week’s as the board looks to replace Dr. Walter Kran. QUOTABLE In response to a question whether the abruptly cancelled mediation hearing was rescheduled because of Sawhney’s protest, Mahadevan said, “you could put it that way.”

The new kid on the block, Sawhney is the most forceful voice on the board. He has consistently led the way in blocking various proposals likely to have grease the skids towards the closing of San Leandro Hospital. It was Sawhney’s motion in June that killed the county’s plan to move rehabilitation facilities from Fairmont to San Leandro Hospital. He followed with leading the way in blocking Sutter’s option to purchase the hospital along with forcing the board to seek a second legal opinion (underway) and launching an independent review of the hospital’s financial records (not underway). Sawhney is the board’s most passionate supporter of saving the hospital. QUOTABLE “We should keep fighting until the last day, even if we go down, we must fight.”

CAROL ROGERS, RN Along with Sawhney, no other board member is more trusted by doctors and nurses and likely the community than Rogers. The current nurse at Highland Hospital is the least removed from witnessing the realities of closing a hospital. In recent weeks, her patience with the board’s dealings and relationship to Sutter has grown non-existent after Ratnesar removed her from the board’s mediation committee with Sutter. The controversial move may have been illegal. Undeterred, Rogers showed up at the site of the meeting anyhow and found it cancelled. More telling, Rogers have been very candid about her dealings with Dr. Walter Kran, telling The Citizen and later a group at Eden Medical Center about conversations with him about the whereabouts of a “secret location” and saying Kran needed to ask Mahadevan whether he would attend the last board meeting. The hearing was eventually cancelled at the last minute. Rogers has said she will not run for another term in 2010. QUOTABLE “I don’t think Sutter is going to back down from Eden Hospital. They already have too much invested.”

The health of the once noted San Leandro physician is far less than it once was. Dvorsky has uttered very few words in various meetings since May and The Citizen reported widespread concern on the board and local politicians about his mental capacity to make all-important decisions regarding the fate of the hospital. Various sources say he has stated a desire to keep the doors open at San Leandro Hospital, but his voting record shows inconsistency. Many say his wife, who also serves on the Chabot College/Las Positas board is calling the shots, yet Dvorsky’s propensity to blurting out indecipherable statements and inability to follow the course of debate during meetings is the 800-pound gorilla at the Eden Healthcare District. One source with knowledge of Sutter’s dealings, say Dvorsky was told to vote against the motion halting Sutter’s plan to purchase the hospital along with Kran’s decision to abstain; turning a 2-2 deadlock into a 3-1 victory for the community. QUOTABLE When a doctor representing physicians read a statement to the board, Dvorsky harshly said, “”What the hell are you trying to say?”

DR. WALTER KRAN In a story known for being supremely unpredictable, Kran’s sudden resignation Sept. 28 left mouth’s agape. Little is known yet about his departure, but it did follow a string of erratic behavior more similar to a bad espionage thriller than ho-hum healthcare issues. Along with Dvorsky, Kran says very little although he tended to exhibit exaggerated facial expressions which sometimes gave a window into what he was thinking. Although, elected as a bulwark against Sutter, many believe he was in their camp, although possibly half-heartily. Sources say Kran and other members may have been threatened with legal jeopardy by their actions (or inactions) by Sutter. How the board replaces a pivotal vote is likely to be the next front in the battle between the community and Sutter. QUOTABLE Not much. During a vote to block Sutter’s purchase option he abstained and said, “I don’t have enough information.”

>>>NEXT: Everything You Need To Know About Saving San Leandro Hospital
We look at the bureaucrats and policy makers.


Categories: Dev Mahadevan, Eden Township, Harry Dvorsky, Rajendra Ratnesar, Walter Kran

1 reply

  1. OK this is VERY KEWL! I have lived in this community for 53 yrs and I LOVE my place in San Leandro. Might I add that my whole life we(family)have specificly used S.L. Hospital as well as MANY OF the Doctors. Heck I just took my mom to see her Dr (Sawhney) last week. HOW can I get involved? I thought we already LOST this cause. Is “the citizen” online only or is it actually a paper of sorts? Good job!


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