California hospital's top board members disqualified from affiliation vote due to conflict of interest

Only three of five directors with Mendocino Coast District Hospital's board will be able to vote on potential affiliations with other healthcare organizations after two members agreed to disqualify themselves due to conflicts of interest, according to the Fort-Bragg Advocate News.

The Fort Bragg, Calif.-based hospital's board chair Karen Arnold and vice chair Jessica Grinberg disqualified themselves from affiliation votes June 27. A state report from the Fair Political Practices Commission found possible conflicts of interest between the two leaders and any potential affiliations.

The commission said Ms. Arnold's employment as human resources director for Mendocino Coast Clinics, also in Fort Bragg, raises potential conflict of interest concerns, as the business could be affected by a possible affiliation with the hospital and another entity. The commission also ruled that Ms. Grinberg's business, Align Orthotics in Willits, Calif., could be affected by an affiliation, as it's the only prosthetic device provider in the area.

Mr. Grinberg said she disputed some of the facts found by the commission, and plans to appeal the ruling.

In a statement to the Fort-Bragg Advocate News, Mendocino Coast District Hospital's interim CEO Wayne Allen said, "The MCDH Board of Directors is small with only five members and losing two members' participation in the affiliation effort places an extraordinary [sic] heavy load on the remaining three members. Furthermore, the affiliation process will be a monumental and high priority healthcare issue for the next several months."

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