The Board of Supervisors Tuesday unexpectedly delayed filling a vacancy on the CalOptima board of directors, opting instead to take more time to review the candidates’ applications.

Supervisors were scheduled to vote for one of two candidates for the year-old vacancy in the “public” seat. But, as Voice of OC reported Monday, both of the top contenders have strong ties to the hospital industry, potentially giving that part of the industry two of the board’s 11 seats.

At 8:21 a.m. Tuesday, barely an hour before the supervisors began their meeting, Health Care Agency Director Mark Refowitz filed a notice with the board clerk asking to postpone the vote to Sept. 22 “in order to extend the application review process time.”

One candidate to fill the vacancy is Ronald R. DiLuigi, who retired in June after 17 years as a lobbyist for St. Joseph Health, which operates 16 hospitals including four in Orange County: St. Joseph, St. Jude, Mission and Hoag.

Before becoming a lobbyist, he spent 27 years as an executive with the county’s Health Care Agency.

The other candidate is Dana Point City Councilman Scott Schoeffel, a hospital lawyer who, until April, was a vice president and general legal counsel for Santa Ana-based Integrated Healthcare Holdings Inc. (IHHI), operator of four Orange County hospitals. IHHI had a volatile financial and management history.

You can contact Tracy Wood at twood@voiceofoc.org and follow her on Twitter: @TracyVOC.

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