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Hospital Board Taps Cummins As President
Starting a second term as president for the Oak Valley Hospital District Governing Board of Directors, Dan Cummins is predicting the same achievements that brought the hospital district into the black financially and its main facility moved into a modern structure.

"I'm excited it's going to be another good year," said Cummins. "It's not going to be easy, but we have good leadership in place."

Cummins, 50, and a fire captain for the City of Oakdale, was elected as a board member with Wendell Chun and Louise Pooley-Sanders in November 2010. Since that time the board has brought in a new CEO, overseen the construction and started the move to the new hospital building. The hospital serves the communities of Oakdale, Riverbank, Escalon, and beyond.

"The board has been amazing and is a very cohesive group," Cummins said. "We've set our strategic goals and met them."

One of the most significant accomplishments, according to Cummins, is bringing the hospital into having a positive net income and operating with a profit.

Oak Valley Hospital District is one of only two district hospitals in California that operate without a tax base and one of only a few overall that has been operating with positive earnings the last few years.

"Finances are still going to be a challenge," Cummins said.

He added that the board plans to look into efficiency in the operation of the hospital and scrutinize certain areas to curb expenditures.

"When you do that it's a 'win-win,'" said Cummins. "Of course we've identified challenges in each department, but unless you work in those departments, you don't know going in. We try to maintain open lines of communication with those workers on the floor."

One downbeat for the board has been the contentious relationship with the Oak Valley Foundation.

In June 2012, a consultant's recommendation to dissolve the foundation's executive board was made in favor of allowing a newly-appointed director hired by the hospital's CEO to choose the agency's executive committee. The recommendation raised the ire of the charity organization's members.

"There's no definite plan as of yet," said Cummins. "There's been a loss of communication between the two entities. Both sides, however, have reached out to develop a plan to move forward."

Next on the horizon for the board is moving the rest of the hospital operations into the new facility. Currently the emergency room, lab, radiology and other outpatient services are in the new building while patient beds including intensive care, obstetrics, and surgery remain in the old building.

Surgery is planned to move in February.

"We need to come up with a way and finance the opening of the second floor," said Cummins. "That's one of the pots on the stove."

The next meeting of the hospital board is Wednesday, Jan. 23.