By LIZ JACOBS, RN
Some things—like mushrooms growing—only happen in the dark. Add to the list Sutter Health’s efforts to steal San Leandro Hospital from an elected public board, and shut it down.
Tuesday was supposed to be a big day for Sutter Health. It had a mediation scheduled with the Eden District Township Health Board. Sutter hoped the result of that mediation would be that it be awarded San Leandro Hospital for the grand sum of $1.
Fortunately a little bit of sunshine shone on the situation and San Leandro Hospital lives to heal another day. In a comedy of errors, Sutter first tried to stack the votes in this committee, then tried to move this public meeting to a secret location, which is probably illegal. Finally, unable to get a quorum, Sutter seems to have cancelled the meeting and San Leandro Hospital was saved—for today.
The heroine in this story remains Carole Rogers, RN, who is a nurse at Highland Hospital as well as a board member of the Eden Board, which owns San Leandro Hospital (and leases it to Sutter).
Rogers first sounded the alarm about Sutter’s efforts to take over San Leandro Hospital. As a result of her efforts, the entire Eden board recently voted down Sutter’s claim to ownership of the hospital. To add emphasis, she also filed a motion that the whole memorandum of understanding (MOU) that is the basis of Sutter’s claim is illegal, because some of the board members were employees of Sutter’s, and thus had a conflict of interest when they agreed to the MOU.
Sutter responded in two ways to Rogers’ efforts. First it announced an intention to move ahead with purchasing the facility—despite the board’s rejection of their bid. Then it attempted to remove Rogers from the committee that will mediate this dispute. She showed up anyway, and ultimately the meeting got cancelled.
Sutter is relentless, and committed to closing down San Leandro Hospital. East Bay patients are still in danger of losing a major portion of their public healthcare safety net. We can not give up.
The public is outraged and frequently asks nurses how they can help. Here are two things you can do:
1. Call Wright Lassiter, CEO, Alameda County Medical Center
Sutter Health is basically at war with the community of San Leandro, and their hospital. The public is outraged that Sutter continues try and shut down San Leandro as a fully functioning 122-bed acute-care facility with a 24-hour emergency department.
Wright Lassiter is working with Sutter to close down the hospital, so that Alameda County can turn it into a 50-bed rehab facility. While that’s important, it does not justify closing a facility that serves 27,000 ER patients a year.
Call Wright Lassiter at 510-437-4800 and tell to let San Leandro Hospital—and the patients it serves—live!
2. Attend the next district board meeting.
Hundreds of angry San Leandro residents have made the difference in keeping our facility open, and we need you again!
Liz Jacobs is a registered nurse and commuincations specialist for the California Nurses Association.