Alejo To Host Community Meeting on Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
July 26, 2011
State Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) will host a community meeting tomorrow afternoon about the audit of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System by the State Audit Bureau. Alejo spokesperson Sasha Horwitz says that no new information about the audit will be revealed at the meeting - in fact, the auditors are bound by law not to share details of the audit while it's underway -; rather, the meeting at Boronda Meadows Elementary School in Salinas is an opportunity for the public to ask questions and have them answered in an open forum.
"It's also a way to be accountable to the public," Horwitz adds.
Alejo's persistent push for an inquiry into SVMH's shaky financial state (not to mention its nearly $5 million special retirement payout to former CEO Sam Downing) led the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to approve a state-run investigation in May. Though Downing's cushy parachute package made national news, Alejo told the Weekly that exorbitant executive pay was but one reason he requested the audit.
"What made the audit rise to the top of my priorities was the numerous complaints and inquiries by community members about the hospital’s finances and their relationship to the charitable organizations they’re contributing to,” Alejo said. He's also expressed concern about the findings of a management consulting report issued earlier this year that exposed the hospital's fiscal vulnerability.
The audit, which comes with a price tag of $244,000, is slated to be finished by December.