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FPPC Says Hospital Board Doctor Has No Conflict of Interest

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has ruled that Dr. Robert Deutsch, M.D., who operates a pulmonary practice out of Alameda Hospital and sits on the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, does not have a conflict of interest when voting to impose the Hospital’s annual parcel tax.

Alameda Hospital is dependent on the parcel tax which raises roughly $6 million per year; records show that Dr. Deutsch routinely votes each year to impose the tax on residents.

Action Alameda News reported on the initiation of the FPPC investigation last year.

Dr. Deutsch leases space from the Alameda Hospital to run his pulmonary practice, and the East Bay Pulmonary Medical Group, which Dr. Deutsch is a part of, has a contract with Alameda Hospital. Dr. Deutsch also has a contract with the Hospital to run the Skilled Nursing/Subacute Care Unit.

According to an April 24th, 2012 letter from the FPPC to Dr. Deutsch’s attorney in San Diego, a copy of which has been obtained by Action Alameda News, Dr. Deutsch is a 33.3 percent owner of the East bay Pulmonary Medical Group.

The hospital contracts with Dr. Deutsch and the East Bay Pulmonary Medical Group are worth around $200,000 per year.

Nonetheless, the FPPC ruled that the financial effect of Dr. Deutsch voting to impose the parcel tax is “not material” with regards to his personal practice or the medical group’s practice.

The Commission’s rationale is that the parcel tax affected all members of the public under the jurisdiction of the Alameda Health Care District.

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