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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
Special District

Washington Township Health Care DistrictCandidate for Board Member

Photo of Chitra Ramanathan

Chitra Ramanathan

Attorney
30,959 votes (20.56%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Ensuring transparency: All expenses and sevice decisions must be made in a public forum.
  • Increasing patient access by broadening the range of insurance plans accepted and expand the range of services available at the hospital.
  • Improving working conditions for employees to make Washington Hospital the best workplace possible.

Experience

Experience

Profession:Attorney
Secretary, Chair of the Racial Justice Committee, YWCA Board of Director's Women and Children's Shelter, Fargo, ND — Appointed position (2010–2013)

Education

Boston University B.A., Inernational Relations (current)
American University M.A. , International Politics (current)
Villanova University School of Law J.D. , Law (current)

Biography

I am an attorney in private practice in Fremont.  For most of my career, I was a public interest attorney for eleven years.  I worked as a public defender and as a legal aid attorney.  My work has given me insight into the struggle people face in accessing quality health care and the impact inadequate health care and the cost of health care have on peoples’ lives and society as a whole.  I helped people obtain medical insurance while they were awaiting disability benefits and assisted working families from having their paychecks garnished due to medical bills, I qualified eligible children for disability benefits and appropriate services from public school districts and I advocated for clients to obtain necessary mental health treatment to address underlying issues that contributed to their involvement in the criminal justice system.  I also served as a board member for three years at the YWCA Women and Children’s Shelter in Fargo, North Dakota.   

 

After spending much of my career fighting to remove barriers to health care for individual clients, I wish to serve on the Washington Township Hospital Board of Directors and take my experience to the next level and ensure access to top tier health care for everyone in our community. 

 

My priorities include:

 

Transparency

I want to represent our community on the board and ensure transparency and compliance with applicable regulations. Washington Hospital is a community hospital that can and should provide the best health care for all residents of the District.  The expense and decisions behind providing these services should be transparent to all residents of the District. 

 

Increase Access to Top Tier Health Care 

I will work with the Board to expand services, including accepting a broader range of insurance plans, and improve infrastructure to compete with other hospitals in the Bay Area.  Patients should never have to leave their hometown and family to obtain health care outside the District. 

 

Best Workplace

I will work with the Board to ensure that Washington Hospital continues to be the best hospital it can be and the best place for all employees to work.   

 

I look forward to having an ongoing dialog with you and would appreciate your support on November 8th.  With your support, I will fight to make Washington Hospital the hospital for everyone in our community to access affordable, top class health care.

 

Who supports this candidate?

Featured Endorsements

  • Alameda County Democratic Party
  • California Nurses Association (CNA)

Organizations (5)

  • Fremont Citizens Network
  • Fremont Chamber of Commerce Business for Good Government PAC
  • East Bay Women's Political Caucus
  • Alameda Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Service Employees International Union- United Healthcare Workers (SEIU-UHW)

Elected Officials (2)

  • Senator Bob Wieckowski
  • Assemblymember Bill Quirk

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of Fremont, Newark, Union City (2)

Do you believe in term limits for board members?  Why or why not?
Answer from Chitra Ramanathan:

Yes, I believe term limits would encourage new ideas and approaches to important issues, such as community concerns about the District's level of transparency with regard to board meetings, agendas and compliance with the Brown Act.  Term limits would give individuals with a fresh perspective the chance to provide input; as an attorney (there are currently no attorneys on the Board), I could provide input about public meetings rules and regulations.    Furthermore, the Alameda Grand Jury in its investigation and findings referred to the Board as "complacent" and recommended term limits.  This election is the first time current board members have been challenged in 8 years.  I believe the community is ready for a change and does not want attention focused on investigations and negative newspaper articles about the Board and would prefer that attention and resources are directed back to patient care - where it should be.



 


 

 

What levels of cooperation would you like to see between Washington Hospital, Kaiser and Palo Alto Medical Foundation that are not currently being addressed?
Answer from Chitra Ramanathan:

    

Ideally, it would be beneficial for all three facilities to share equipment and personnel.  This would benefit patients and ensure that no patient has to leave the District to obtain health care.  It would also benefit all institutions from a financial perspective because they could share the costs of expensive equipment and take advantage of personnel and programs that have an area of expertise.  The three facilities have in common that they are not university based medical facilities.  Cooperation instead of competition should be the ultimate goal.  


Questions from League of Women Votes of Fremont, Newark, Union City (1)

How does Washington Hospital serve MediCal patients for diagnosis and treatment. Is the Hospital meeting its requirements for providing these services?
Answer from Chitra Ramanathan:

 

 

 

It is my understanding that patients with certain types of MediCal insurance may be accepted by the Hospital, but not every form of MediCal is accepted.  There are differences when a patient is being seen as an outpatient or as an inpatient which leads to confusion for the patient.  For example, if a patient is seen in the emergency department and released with a referral to a physician, they may not be able to see that physician.  Similarly, a patient may be seen by a physician as an outpatient, but cannot have testing or treatment done at the Hospital because the Hospital does not contract with that provider.   My belief is that healthcare is a basic human right, not a privilege.  If there are types of  MediCal, or other insurances which are not accepted by the Hospital, the Board, as the community representative, must work to simplify the process as much as possible.  If there is a single person in the community, insured or uninsured, that cannot obtain services at the Hospital than I do not believe the Hospital has met its requirement as a public entity.  

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

        

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