Hospital candidates explain motivation for seat on board |

Hospital candidates explain motivation for seat on board

Aspen Times writer

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of four questions answered by candidates for the Aspen Valley Hospital board of directors. Two seats on the five-member board will be chosen by AVH district voters on Tuesday, May 4.

Name: Barry Mink M.D.

Occupation: Internist/Physcian in private practice in Aspen

Years lived in district: Twenty-nine.

Community involvement: Board of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies for two terms; active supporter of nordic skiing in the valley; volunteered my time as team physician for U.S. cross-country and biathlon teams for 20 years; served as U.S. team physician for the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics and 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics. My wife Peggy and I have raised three daughters here and now we have four grandchildren to rub some of Aspen off on.

What motivated you to run for the hospital board?

Two months ago I was approached by several members of our medical staff to consider running mainly to improve board and staff relations. The medical staff has felt unincluded when decisions concerning medical care were being made by the board, especially on patient care matters. I have spent my whole professional career [29 years] at AVH, and have served as chief of staff, chief of medicine, and over 18 years as an officer of the staff.

I have seen many board members come and go, CEO’s come and go, and know the way success has been accomplished here as well as what doesn’t work. I feel I can help improve the professional medical input on matters of patient care, as well as having a sympathetic ear to staff (physicians and nurses) input when decisions are to be made by the board on issues of patient care.

I have been dedicated to AVH for a long time and don’t want to see it fail. I have been proud of AVH accomplishments in the past and feel I can help it to improve with my experience. Ignorance of history condemns one to repeated failure.

Name: Greg Balko, M.D.

Occupation: Emergency physician at Aspen Valley Hospital

Years lived in district: Five.

Community involvement: Medical Director Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District, Volunteer Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District

What motivated you to run for the hospital board?

Initially, I had no intention to run for the board of directors at AVH. I am in the first decade of my practice and eight months ago my wife, Kristin, and I had our first child, Storey Rose. Shortly after her birth, my daughter had to have surgery at another facility for care that was not available at AVH. The care was fine at the other facility, yet impersonal. It was through this experience that we came to realize what a “gem” Aspen has for a health-care facility.

My desire to sustain the quality of health-care delivery at AVH is one of my motivations in running for the board of directors. The other is sustaining the rich tradition of doctors taking pride in their community and hospital: people like Dr. Robert Oden, Dr. Harold Whitcomb, and most recently Dr. Morris Cohen. With the departure of Dr. Cohen from the board, there will be a void for the advocacy of quality patient care to our board.

These reasons plus the need for new effective leadership has compelled me to pursue a seat on the board of directors at AVH.

Name: Bob D’Alessio

Occupation: Recently retired health-care consulting executive; former senior vice president of Birch & Davis Health Management Corp.

Years lived in district: Thirteen.

Community Involvement: AVH board for two terms; current

president of Aspen Camp School for the Deaf; member of the parish council at St. Mary’s Catholic Church for seven years; early member of the Community Forum and actively participated in its task force, sponsored by the Aspen Institute, to study health care in the Four Rivers area; Skico ambassador for many years. I’m also a graduate of Roaring Fork Leadership.

What motivated you to run for the hospital board?

What motivated me to run for the board again is the fact that there is a lot of unfinished business pending at AVH, and I feel I am in the best

position to help finish it. We have problems in accounts receivable, cash

flow and funds availability, staffing levels, and physician’s managed

practice contacts. I am heavily involved in these issues and currently

assisting in helping formulate solutions.

Additionally, I bring a needed “memory and historical knowledge” to the board in that I have served on it for six years, chaired the finance

committee for two years prior to my being elected to the board and was a member of the finance committee for two years prior to that. My history with and knowledge of the hospital and its management issues is extensive.

Finally, as a senior vice president at Birch & Davis Health Management Corp., I developed a long history and valuable expertise in the medical consulting profession. I consulted extensively to private enterprises and the federal government in health care systems and finances. I also developed a large state Medicaid consulting practice. All these professional experiences have been extremely useful to AVH in the past and are very much needed now and in the future.

Name: Richard F. Jacobs, M.D., M.B.A.

Occupation: Physician administrator/investor

Years in district: Four.

Community involvement: Pitkin County representative to Northwest Colorado Regional Loan board of directors. President, Aspen Given Institute Advisory Board. Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, national council (since 1995); Jazz Aspen Snowmass, national council

What motivated you to run for the hospital board?

I am passionate about high-quality, cost-effective health care and Aspen. After working for the hospital as a consultant and employee it became very clear to me that here were huge opportunities to improve at AVH.

It was my hope that the three board members elected two years ago would recognize and achieve those opportunities. It has taken longer than I expected.

At this point, I believe that my past education and experience as a physician and hospital administrator will add value to AVH and the board. Our community desires a high level of quality and service from AVH.

Utilizing my real world experience in hospital operations, excellent communication skills, and a high level of integrity, I hope that my presence on the board will serve to speed the process of stabilization and recovery that confronts AVH today.