EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rogers: This is Not the Opinion of the Board

By CAROLE ROGERS, RN
In response to Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar's letter to the community:

Dr. Ratnesar sent "An Open Letter to the Community" penned by the District's Public Relations consultant. This letter does not have the approval of the current Board of Directors. Ratnesar's term of office as Chairman of the Board is up on Dec. 31, 2009 and he is obviously using the "sky is falling" technique.

I have had separate legal opinions stating that the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) can be legally challenged - in direct conflict with the "two legal opinions" obtained by Ratnesar. His legal opinions discuss the "narrow focus" of their study.

Giving away a $35 million asset (San Leandro Hospital) that Sutter Health maintains is now worth $0 - is squandering District funds. These assets belong to the all of the people in the District - not just San Leandro. Sutter Health refuses a thorough examination of their books to determine the real cause of the financial losses at San Leandro Hospital. Sutter Health has been challenged by Marin General Hospital for allegedly illegally transferring $100 million in profits to its parent corporation. It is and will be worth every penny in legal fees to keep San Leandro Hospital open as a 24/7 acute care facility. Especially since we have one entity who says they can run the hospital profitably AS IS.
Closing San Leandro Hospital will have an impact on Castro Valley, Oakland and San Lorenzo residents. It will mean that 22,000 yearly emergency room visits will go to Eden Medical Center--with fewer beds in the new hospital--to take care of the population. It will mean that lives will be lost.
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Sutter Health is legally obligated to rebuild Eden Medical Center in their 2004 MOU where Eden Township Healthcare District purchased San Leandro Hospital. If they cease the construction, they will face another lawsuit - a repeat of the threatened lawsuit the District filed against Sutter in 2007 to bring about the latest MOU.

There is no "secret" attempt to rescind the MOU; it is in the open. I gave the board and the community an outside legal opinion last July stating that the MOU was invalid because of conflict of interest by existing board members. Ratnesar is employed by Sutter Health; and he is using Sutter scare tactics about losing both hospitals. Consultants reviewed the 2007 MOU using a PowerPoint presentation at public hearings for the community and the board. This MOU does not state anywhere that Sutter can purchase the hospital and sell it to anyone else. There is a separate "Lease agreement" that the community never saw (nor did I) that gives Sutter Health the right to ownership per their lawsuit against the District. The minutes for approval of this agreement (and the MOU) has been lost and never signed.

District leadership has held secret meetings with Sutter Health without other Board members knowledge.

Closing San Leandro Hospital will have an impact on Castro Valley, Oakland and San Lorenzo residents. It will mean that 22,000 yearly emergency room visits will go to Eden Medical Center - with fewer beds in the new hospital - to take care of the population. It will mean that lives will be lost.

I am encouraged by vocal community members and labor unions. At the last public hearing on San Leandro Hospital at the San Leandro Library, there was standing room only attendance by local citizens - 99.9% wanted to keep the hospital open. Please be more vocal; call the District office and let them know you want to keep San Leandro Hospital open and join our Yahoo! group.

Carole Rogers is a registered nurse and current member of the Eden Township Healthcare District Board of Directors.

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