You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Council approves one pick for Central Health board, delays another


The Austin City Council has filled one of two vacant seats on the Central Health Board of Managers, while the other appointment remains in limbo due to some council members’ concerns about a potential conflict of interest.

The seats became open when Central Health board member Rosie Mendoza’s term ended in December 2016 and board member Richard Yuen resigned this month.

Council voted unanimously and without discussion Thursday to appoint Maram Museitif, a health care and public health consultant.

Museitif, who is also chair of legislative policy and advocacy for the Texas Public Health Association and president of the Health Champions program at Central Health, later thanked the council.

“Austin is dear to my heart, and I will work tirelessly to improve the health and well-being of our community and reach out to the underserved,” Museitif said. She later added in an interview that she was also excited about the opportunity as someone of the Muslim faith to bring greater representation to the board.

The discussion and public comment on Thursday centered on nominee Julie Oliver, division controller at St. David’s HealthCare. After some debate, a decision on her was postponed until June 15.

Council members and others in the community have raised concerns that Oliver’s position might pose a conflict of interest, as St. David’s is a competitor of Seton Healthcare Family, which partners with Central Health.

In a work session Tuesday, Council Member Ann Kitchen said she was “perfectly comfortable” so long as Oliver recused herself from votes that pertained to the area of conflict.

But Council Member Leslie Pool said she was concerned about how frequently Oliver might have to recuse herself.

Oliver, who has an accounting and law degree, made the case before the council Thursday that transparency and accountability were high priorities for her.

“Of course, I would recuse myself from any discussions, any votes that would have any potential implications for St. David’s HealthCare Partnership,” Oliver said.

Oliver added that she would not do things to purposefully to harm Seton’s financial interests.

“There are times where you do the right thing because you have a bigger picture of something,” Oliver said, “and that, for me, is the community of Austin.”

Five people spoke at the meeting against Oliver’s appointment, mainly advocating for a more diverse candidate.

About 58 percent of Travis County’s uninsured population is Hispanic or Latino, according to census data. Frank Ortega, member of the local League of United Latin American Citizen’s Council #650, noted just two Central Health board members are Hispanic.

“City appointees to the Board of Managers should be reflective of the population that it serves,” Ortega said.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

House, Senate disagreement on ‘vouchers’ kills school funding bill
House, Senate disagreement on ‘vouchers’ kills school funding bill

The prospect of Texas public schools getting any additional money over the next two years is gone. The Texas House on Wednesday took yet another overwhelming vote against so-called school choice, which would redirect state money to help students pay for private school tuition. Senate Education Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, said the move killed...
Texas parks projects on hold after snub by Legislature
Texas parks projects on hold after snub by Legislature

New work to address overdue repairs at Texas state parks and efforts to open new parks to the public appear to be on hold after lawmakers at the Capitol have signaled unwillingness to give more money to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We knew this was going to be a very fiscally constrained session going into it,” agency Executive...
Lawsuit: Austin boy, 10, crushed by driveway security gate
Lawsuit: Austin boy, 10, crushed by driveway security gate

A 10-year-old boy was killed when a driveway security gate crushed his body at his friend’s home in Central Austin, according to a lawsuit that assigns blame to various parties, including the gate’s manufacturer and the homeowner. The boy was a guest at a house at 5500 Shoal Creek Blvd on Feb. 18 when he went into a gap between the gate...
Therapists, parents urge state officials to restore Medicaid money
Therapists, parents urge state officials to restore Medicaid money

Concerned about planned cuts in Medicaid therapy services for disabled children, throngs of parents and therapists pleaded on Wednesday with state officials to reverse course. In the latest pounding for home health care aides and therapists, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission proposed the cuts after the Legislature in 2015 directed the...
Rep. Giddings revives ‘school lunch shaming’ measure in Texas House
Rep. Giddings revives ‘school lunch shaming’ measure in Texas House

After her measure to end so-called school lunch shaming died at the hands of tea party-aligned Republicans, state Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, successfully tacked it onto a separate bill on Wednesday. Giddings’ amendment to Senate Bill 1566, which passed 138-4, would require school boards to adopt a policy allowing a two-week grace period for...
More Stories