The City of Alameda Health Care District is the steward of the properties on which Alameda Hospital and its associated facilities are operated. These facilities include: South Shore Rehabilitation, Park Ridge Rehabilitation and the Kate Creedon Wound Center.
As stewards, the District oversees the collection of the District parcel tax and ensures it is used for the purpose for which it was established, namely, ensuring the provision of acute care services and an emergency department serving the island of Alameda.
The History of Alameda Hospital
The Early Days
Prior to the turn of the twentieth century, care for the sick and injured in Alameda was provided in physician offices, surgeries were often performed on kitchen tables, and chloroform was the most common anesthetic. The nearest hospitals for the most serious cases were in neighboring Oakland.
In 1893, registered nurse Kate Creedon deeply believed that the citizens of Alameda deserved better medical facilities and treatment than the ones they were accustomed to.
With the support of two physicians practicing in Alameda, Creedon’s employer Dr. George Perry Reynolds and Dr. William Barclay Stephens, began planning the development of a hospital in Alameda.
Through her desire and determination, the idea of converting a small house into a rudimentary hospital was conceived. In 1894, Alameda Hospital officially opened its doors to patients in what was formerly the six-bed Alameda Sanatorium on San Jose Avenue. The Hospital was an immediate success and quickly saw a growing demand for services by Alameda residents.
A Modern Hospital Comes To Alameda
By 1900, the Hospital relocated to a larger building on Clinton Avenue, first as a 20-bed facility, then later expanding to 40 beds. In 1911 and again in 1913, additional properties were purchased on Clinton Avenue for future development as demand for services increased.
By 1924, state regulations necessitated the construction of a modern fireproof building. This endeavor exceeded Creedon’s financial resources. So, a decision was made to finance construction by selling shares of ownership to interested individuals.
In August of 1924, groundbreaking on this new building began with Creedon turning the first shovel. By October of 1925, the city of Alameda celebrated its 110-bed modern hospital at 2070 Clinton Avenue, a building which today houses physician offices and administrative functions.
As one of the first hospitals in the Western United States to have 100% electrical operation, it also housed the first elevators on the island of Alameda.
Economic Hardship & Enduring Recovery
Following the sudden death of Kate Creedon from pneumonia in 1927, Alameda Hospital faced the loss of its pioneering leader and, like many hospitals in the country, faced the financial pressures of the Great Depression.
Despite several reorganizations and numerous attempts to turn the Hospital’s financial status around, steps to institute foreclosure and sell the Hospital properties began in 1939. Fortunately, a group of prospective buyers comprised of businessmen and physicians successfully bid on the facilities and the Hospital doors stayed open.
An Idea Flourishes
Throughout the next several years, thanks to the smarts of its leadership and support of its community, Alameda Hospital flourished financially and embarked on an exciting era of expansion and change.
By 1954, Hospital occupancy was at 92% and a new building, The Stephens Wing, was added, thus bringing the Hospital’s capacity to 150 beds. In 1966, a new wing, now known as the West Wing, was added to accommodate surgery suites, an intensive care unit, and central plant functions.
The most significant expansion of Hospital facilities occurred in 1983 with the dedication of a 62,000 square foot South Wing, allowing expansion of almost all Hospital functions. Then in 1987, a 9-bed, short-stay surgery unit was developed and a new emergency department was dedicated. Two years later, a 23-bed skilled nursing facility was constructed on the campus across from the South Wing, which is known today as the South Shore Rehabilitation facility.
Formation of the City of Alameda Health Care District
The closure of the Alameda Naval Air Station in the mid-1990s had an effect on demand for Hospital services, so much so that by the year 2000, Alameda Hospital faced new financial challenges.
For most of its existence, Alameda Hospital had operated as a not-for-profit hospital; however, in 2002 the Board of Directors proposed a ballot measure in Alameda that would cause the formation of a Health Care District. The District, which in addition to continuing to operate the Hospital, would levy a $298 per parcel tax on the property owners of Alameda to defray operating costs and capital needs of the Hospital.
The citizens of Alameda approved formation of the District and the parcel tax, thereby allowing the Hospital and emergency department to remain open. As of January 1, 2003, all real property and equipment associated with the Hospital was transferred from the non-profit corporation to the District. The parcel tax continues in perpetuity and the District boundaries are concurrent with the boundaries of the City of Alameda.
The Board of Directors is comprised of five elected officials, and regularly hosts District Board meetings that are open to the public.
Search for Affiliation Partners
By the mid-2000s, the Board of Directors initiated a new strategic planning process for the Hospital. While the parcel tax had stabilized the Hospital financially, it was clear that there was a need for expansion of revenue sources through new programs and services. It was also clear that in the current health care environment, it would not be feasible for a relatively small, stand-alone hospital to survive.
Several new programs were initiated under District Board leadership. In 2012, Alameda Hospital acquired operation of a 120-bed skilled nursing facility near the Park Street Bridge and also opened the Kate Creedon Wound Care Center, a program serving patients from throughout the East Bay with chronic, non-healing wounds. The Hospital’s subacute unit, which cares for chronically neurologically impaired patients as a result of injury or illness—one of the only such units in the Bay Area—was also expanded.
Importantly, the Board also embarked on an 18-month effort to evaluate and confer with potential partner health care organizations with which Alameda Hospital might affiliate.
The Joint Powers Agreement
In late 2012, Alameda Hospital began negotiations with Alameda County Medical Center, now known as Alameda Health System (AHS). As a result, an affiliation agreement was finalized in the form of a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA). By the joint exercise of the common statutory powers of these two public organizations to operate health care facilities, the JPA facilitated the preservation of Alameda Hospital as a health care resource for Alameda County. The JPA was approved by both the District and AHS Boards in 2013 and the affiliation was implemented in 2014.
Under the JPA, AHS oversees and manages the operation of Alameda Hospital and its affiliated programs, including: licensure, certifications, financial management, and maintenance facilities. There are requirements for AHS to report regularly on such operations and improvements to the District Board of Directors. The District maintains responsibility for collection of the parcel tax revenue and for ensuring that it is used only to support hospital and health care services and facilities in the City of Alameda.
Under the Joint Powers Agreement, AHS is obligated to: