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Letter: Sagal would benefit governing board

October 18, 2013

My 11-year run as chief executive officer of Verdugo Hills Hospital ended in July when I retired following the successful completion of the affiliation between the hospital and Keck Medicine of USC.

During the last six years, I worked closely with David Sagal as he skillfully and dutifully served as a member of the hospital's board of directors, chairman of the Finance Committee, treasurer of the board and member of the Options and Definitive Agreement Review committees that pursued and negotiated the combination with USC. David's work on behalf of the hospital and the local community is the basis for my wholehearted support of his candidacy for the LCUSD Governing Board.

Verdugo Hills Hospital, like many of its peer community hospitals over the past several years, struggled to compete with larger organizations and faced financial pressures from healthcare reform, declining payments from managed care payers and changes in the local physician community. David, in his role as chairman of the Finance Committee, had oversight of the organization's fiscal health and played an instrumental role in refinancing the hospital's debt. To insure the hospital's continued viability and future growth, David, along with hospital leadership and other members of the board, undertook efforts that led to the affiliation with USC, a relationship that will enhance and expand the primary and acute care services available to the residents of the foothill communities.

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Throughout these challenges, David kept the board and hospital administration focused on a long-term perspective as they sought to solve pressing short-term problems. He provided a clarity of thought when assessing complex, and often conflicting, issues, and negotiating resolutions with other parties. And, in every circumstance, David used the interests and needs of the community as the primary guidepost for his advocacy and decision making.

The hospital and community have benefited greatly from David's long-term service. He would contribute a wealth of experience and talent as a member of the LCUSD Governing Board. I encourage the voters of La Cañada to elect David Sagal.

Leonard LaBella
Pacific Palisades

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