ALAMEDA -- Tracy Lynn Jensen has been appointed to the board of the Alameda Health Care District, taking over the seat vacated by Stewart Chen following his election to the City Council in November.
The directors selected Jensen after interviewing her and fellow candidates Lynn Bratchett, Shubha Fanse and Terrie Kurrasch during their regular meeting on Wednesday.
A former trustee with the Alameda Unified School District, Jensen campaigned for one of the two open seats on the hospital board during November's election, but came in third behind incumbents Jordan Battani and J. Michael McCormick.
"It's an exciting time for the hospital," Jensen said. "Its staff, its management under the board, all have helped the hospital find a niche both locally and regionally. I am looking forward to playing my part in helping the hospital continue to provide the crucial services that the community needs and depends on."
The board's decision to appoint Jensen was unanimous.
Jensen, who grew up in Alameda, works for the city of Oakland in the Department of Senior Services. She was elected to the Alameda school board in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.
Her background includes masters' degrees in business administration and public health from Atlanta's Emory University, which she said will help her as she serves on the hospital board.
"I have been interested in serving on the board ever since the hospital district was formed (in 2002), especially since I have a background in health care policy," Jensen said.
During the election, Jensen said her priorities were to make sure the hospital continues to provide quality emergency care, and that residents are directly involved in decisions to add or eliminate services.
As a board member, Jensen also said she would respect different opinions and would challenge hospital administrators to constantly improve.
Chen's resignation from the board became effective Dec. 18, although his term will end in November 2014.
The most pressing issue facing the board is dealing with the hospital's troubled finances. An internal report showed the facility lost about $1.9 million during the last fiscal year -- $600,000 more than expected -- despite the hospital district bringing in more than $6 million in parcel tax revenue.
Bridging the gap is key to the hospital's future because many Island residents say it will be needed for emergency care in the event that an earthquake or other major disaster cuts them off from facilities in neighboring cities.
Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty/.