The Citizen
has learned at least three medical professionals have submitted their intention to replace former Eden Township Healthcare District Director Dr. Walter Kran, who resigned Sept. 28.

Sources close to the everyday dealings of the District say Dr. Ronald Hull, Dr. William West and Dr. Francisco Rico have filed paperwork to be considered by the board as early as next week.

The three candidates, the sources say, present the board with what may be viewed as a pro-San Leandro Hospital doctor, a middle-0f-the road candidate and a staunch pro-Sutter former board member. It is believed two other unconfirmed applicants let their intentions be known to the District office by the Oct. 16 deadline.

The inclusion of Dr. West, a retired orthopedic surgeon, is seen as a coup for advocates of retaining emergency room services at San Leandro Hospital. Sources contend West, if appointed, could be the elusive third vote able to block any action by Sutter Health to close the facility. West’s familiarity with Board member Dr. Harry Dvorsky, who will likely be the deciding vote on whomever replaces Kran on the board, is seen as a likely determining factor in any applicants chances.

Dr. Hull is no stranger to running for a seat on the board, having lost in both 2004 and 2008. The San Leandro podiatrist garnered over 25 percent of the vote in 2004 and dropped to 15 percent last year in finishing fourth. Hull’s stance on San Leandro Hospital is a bit murky according to sources, but a 2008 interview in the Castro Valley Forum indicated a desire to keep the hospital in its current configuration.

“The primary challenge I see in the District is doing everything possible to keep San Leandro Hospital open as an acute care hospital,” Hull said.

In numerous public comments, Dr. Rico has been an unabashed supporter of moving forward with the rebuild of Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley and calling San Leandro Hospital unprofitable in the past. Rico, an anesthesiologist, was appointed in 2002 to replace a departing board member and lost his seat last year to Sawhney last year. He charged Sawhney with directing patients for medical services outside vendors of which he had financial interests. The allegation of doctors at San Leandro Hospital sending patients to other offices is one contention Sutter makes for the hospital losing upwards of $600,000 a month.

Last week, Rico penned a letter to the editor in both the San Leandro Times and Castro Valley Forum blaming Rogers and others, including state Sen. Ellen Corbett of squandering District dollars on fighting Sutter. “Now, again at Director Rogers’ insistence, the board has breached the 2007 agreement by refusing without any justification to sell San Leandro Hospital to Sutter, thus throwing the matter into litigation that will cause the District to waste even more public money,” Rico wrote.

The District is slated to hold its monthly board meeting Oct. 27, 5:30 p.m. at the Hayward Area Recreation District office.

JOIN THE REVOLUTION! http://www.eastbaycitizen.com