SUTTER: WHEN IT COMES TO PRIME, TALK TO THE HAND
By STEVEN TAVARESEarlier this month, Sutter Health, which operates San Leandro Hospital, refused an offer allowing the Southern California-based Prime Healthcare to run the beleaguered hospital as an hybrid acute care and rehab facility proposed by some in the county.
"Sutter has told us that Prime is a non-starter, period," said Alex Briscoe, the acting director of Alameda County Health Services.
Last month, The Citizen reported Sutter also refused to entertain Prime's offer to purchase San Leandro Hospital and operate it in its current configuration as a full-service facility.
Sutter is not be opposed to hospital hybrid plan if it is run by the Alameda County Medical Center, according to Briscoe, but they are not keen on Prime or any other outside provider at San Leandro Hospital.
Briscoe reiterated the county's desire to keep the hospital open while realizing the potential danger of closing the emergency room. "We don't want to lose the hospital and they are difficult to bring back," said Briscoe. "You know, it doesn't matter if 1,000 people die because one is too many, to me."
The hybrid model--a sort of conglomeration of all plans under one roof--has been offered as a solution by San Leandro Mayor Tony Santos and the President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors Alice Lai-Bitker. Under the proposal, the bottom two floors of the hospital would encompass emergency room and surgical facilities while rehab services would be moved from the seismically-deficient Fairmont Hospital and would occupy the top two floors, one of which is currently empty.
Such a plan, though, carries the need for a significant annual subsidy according to Briscoe. Health Services calculates the hybrid plans will necessitate a permanent subsidies between $4-7 million. The ACMC now says the plan will cost even more, at between $6-10 million a year.
According to Briscoe, Health Services believes the now-unlikely possibility of Prime operating the hospital under a hybrid plan would also need some sort of subsidy.
To this date, there has not been a public official or entity that has brought forth a plan involving funding to keep the hospital's emergency room functioning nor offered money to run the hybrid plan. Santos indicated he had brief conversations with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Pete Stark, but no specifics were offered.
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