EAST BAY CITIZEN. EVERYWHERE SINCE 2009

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Speakers Exalt Crowd for Fighting Sutter

Eden Township Healthcare District Board Chair Carole Rogers speaks to supporters Monday evening at a rally in support of saving San Leandro Hospital. Also pictured is Mike Brannan of the California Nurses Association and Zenei Cortez, one of the council of presidents for CNA.


ROGERS CALLS FOR COUNTY D.A. TO INVESTIGATE RATNESAR FOR CRIMINAL WRONGDOING 
By STEVEN TAVARES
The Citizen

THE DISTRICT v. SUTTERLeaders and supporters of the cause to save San Leandro Hospital unleashed fiery rhetoric at Sutter Health Monday evening, while urging a throng of over 250 people Monday evening to continue their efforts to keep the community hospital's door open at the behest of the corporation and the county, who plan to convert it to an acute rehabilitation facility.

The gathering located beside the San Leandro Medical Arts Building adjacent to the hospital is the largest group of supporters since state Sen. Ellen Corbett organized an event at the San Leandro Library in August of last year. That event was informational in tone, while last night's was clearly organized to rally the troops.

"San Leandro Hospital is not going to close," shouted Eden Township Healthcare District Chair Carole Rogers, who has been at the forefront of leading the charge against Sutter Health and later led supporters during a  candlelight vigil down East 14th Street.

Rogers reiterated her call for fellow boardmember Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar to resign his position for alleged conflicts of interest outined in the District's lawsuit against Sutter. Rogers announced she has sent a letter to the Alameda County District Attorney's office urging it to investigate any criminal wrongdoing on Ratnesar's part during the negotiation and approval of the 2008 memorandum of understanding. The document ultimately allowed Sutter to purchase the hospital if it did not sufficiently improve its financial situation. Sutter last year announced it would lease the hospital to the county for what is says is much-needed acute rehabilitation beds in the area. The lawsuit alleges Ratnesar was employed by Sutter at the time of the disputed agreement.

Labor Representative Mike Brannan of the California Nurses Association, who has been working with supporters of the hospital for over a year, had stern words for Sutter, "We stopped you from closing San Leandro Hospital last year and we're going to stop you this year," he said. The nurses union also announced it will erect a billboard in support of the hospital nearby during the next week overlooking East 14th.

Eden Township Healthcare District Director Dr. Vin Sawhney, who along with Rogers has been a constant critic of the proposed plans by Sutter and the county for San Leandro Hospital, praised the community for whom many observers on all sides of the conflict believe are the sole reason the facility is still functioning today.

"Look at what you have accomplished," said Sawhney. "Go back a year ago, we were all told San Leandro Hospital would be closed on Sept. 30, 2009. Many people believed that would happen, but this community fought." He also added "It is the power of the community that has put Sutter where they are today."

Sawhney, along with two other speakers, made reference to Sunday night's passing of health care reform as both a reason not to close hospitals in advance of any additional 32 million new consumers entering the sytem with health insurance, but also as a symbol of have far communities can affect change."We have accomplished as a nation something very dramatic and very historic," said Sawhney. "I believe as a community will be able to overcome the power of a huge corporation and have our hospital serving our community our way."

Lower photo: Supporters with picket signs and candles walk down East 14th Street Monday evening. 
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20 comments :

This is an outrage! As an anesthesiologist I have known and worked with Dr. Ratnesar since before 1986 in the operating room and in the labor and delivery. I was also one year behind him as we progressed through officer positions on the Medical Executive Committee, culminating in Chief of the Medical staff. In that position I saw him enforce the rules against other doctors who needed discipline. He has always been highly ethical and made every effort to do what is right.

GOSH JUST LOOK WHO IS SUPPORTING DR RATNESAR, NONE OTHER THAN HIS STALWORTH COMPANION IN THE EFFORT TO CLOSE SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL, LETS SEE HOW MANY MORE COME TO DR. RATNESARS DEFENSE, BET I WILL ONLY NEED ONE HAND TO COUNT THEM ON.DR RICO I AM NOT SAYING THAT DR RATNESAR WASNT A GOOD DR. ITS HIS VOTING RECORD AND HIS LACK OF SUPPORT FOR THE COMMUNITY THAT PUT HIM IN HIS PRESENT POSITION, HE CONTINUALLY VOTES AGAINST ANYTHING THAT IS OR WOULD BE HELPFUL IN KEEPING SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL, AND HE WILL NOT BE INVESTIGATED FOR HIS AS YOU SAY VERY EXCELLENT TIME AS A DOCTOR WORKING WITH YOU, BUT HIS ACTIVITIES LATER IN HIS CAREER, AS A BOARD MEMBER ON THE ETHD. HIS SUPPORT OF THE HOSPITAL AND THE COMMUNITY IS WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED AT THIS TIME. AS ALWAYS PAPA JOHN

My point is that the accusations of acting in bad faith run contrary to the character of the man.

Anonymous (Also posted after 3/17/2010 article)said...
If you read all the articles, you will realize how selfish and narrow-minded the San Leandro Hospital fiasco is:
The district board approved the measure the district board now doesn't like.
The District board members are jeopardizing the other part of that agreement: the state of the art hospital in the community.
The board members throw stones wildly--insulting people like Dr. Ratnesar who anyone who knows him knows he has given his professional career and personal life for Eden medical Center for many years.
San Leandro loses a lot of money and has a low census; the main proponents of keeping the hospital opeh are the doctors who are "comfortable" in this little dominion, the unions who only care about jobs and a few politicians who don't really "get it."
The tempest ignores the rest of the district residents in its narrow view, thus spending the district's assets irresponsibly through legal costs, continual studies to get the answer they want, etc.
If we really care about our communities, using the hospital as a rehab facility for our under and uninsured would be an exemplary, responsible use of the facility.
Keeping the ED open is a red herring. Only a small portion of the visits are true emergencies, and wouldn't you rather to the hospitals which also have trauma centers and get excellent care for emergencies (Eden/Highland) or encourage people to go to the County's compassionate clinics.
Let's get some pushback on this wasteful effort.

Who cares. Stop this nonsense. Just go over the hill to Eden. Big Stinking DEAL! Enough of these cry baby antics.

I'LL BE ANONYMOUS ALSO WEARS A MASK, ONLY WIMPS SIGN IT ANONYMOUS IF YOU HAVE ANY HAIR WHERE I THINK MEN DO YOU WOULD SIGN YOUR NAME OTHERWISE KEEP YOUR ANONYMOUS COMMENTS BEHIND YOUR MASK, I AM NOT AFRAID TO SIGN MY NAME TO ANYTHING I HAVE TO SAY,MY NAME IS JOHN KALAFATICH, ALSO KNOWN AS PAPA JOHN. WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF NO ONE IS GOING TO FOLLOW YOU HOME AT NIGHT IF YOU SHOULD EXPRESS YOUR OPINION I MIGHT LOOK AT YOUR OPINION IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT IF YOU WERE MAN OR WOMEN ENOUGH TO SIGN YOU NAME. I HOPE YOU NEVER HAVE TO HEAR AN AMBULANCE SIREN FROM INSIDE OF AN AMBULANCE IF THE HOSPITAL CLOSES OR DO YOU POSSIBLY LIVE NEXT DOOR TO EDEN. LIST YOUR NAME AND THEN SPEAK UP, YOU ARE STILL IN THE GOOD OLD U.S.A. JOHN KALAFATICH

HEY ANONYMOUS, JUST REREAD YOUR COMMENTS OVER AGAIN, WHAT SUTTER JOB DO YOU HOLD, THE REMARKS YOU MAKE ARE STRAIGHT OUT OF SUTTERS HANDBOOK OF LETS CLOSE ANOTHER HOSPITAL, AND IF YOU THINK ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF VISITS TO THE E.R. ARE TRUE EMERGENCIES, I SUGGEST YOU COME VISIT THE E.R., AND SINCE SUTTER BROADCAST THE FICTITIOUS NUMBER THAT THEY SAID WERE REAL EMERGENCIES ECMC DID AN ACTUAL AND REAL STUDY AND EVEN THOUGH THEY WANT THE HOSPITAL FOR A REHAB CENTER THEY HAD THE GUTS TO ADMIT THAT SUTTERS FIGURES WERE WRONG, WHAT GOOD WOULD A REHAB CENTER BE FOR PEOPLE WHO DIE BECAUSE THEY HAD NO E.R. OR ACUTE CARE HOSPITAL TO GO TO, DO YOU REALIZE WITH THE CLOSING OF THE HOSPITAL, THE COMMUNITY HAVING ONLY EDEN HOSPITAL TO GO TO THAT THERE WILL BE OVER 100 BEDS LESS IN THIS AREA. COME ON I KNOW NOW WHY YOU ARE ANONYMOUS, YOU DONT KNOW ANY OF THE FACTS THAT YOU SPEAK OF. HAVENT YOU EVER HEARD YOUR DISEASE FOOT IN MOUTH, IT CAN BE CURED BY COMING TO SOME OF THE MEETINGS THAT ARE BEING HELD, YES EVEN FOR ANONYMOUS FOLKS. JOHN KALAFATICH

Please take off your blinders and take a look at the facts. San Leandro Hospital emergency room treats over 25,000 pts every year. more than 55% of these pts are critical care pt according to ER MDs. Sutter Health lied about this fact to the community. Sutter health and its well paid cronnies wanted to close this hospital from the get go. They were engaging in a well drawn plan how to bring SLH down.

1. Starting with doctors, wanted to raise thier rents and told them they will bring Plo Alto Medical group here. Doctors got pest off and send their pt elswhere. Thats exactly what Sutter wanted. Less pts, less revenue, hospital start loosing money.
2. Dr. Rynolds died, no effort to bring his practice back to the hospital. as a result 4th floor stayed vacant till today. Despite promiss from Sutter for utilizing 4th floor no effort what so ever. vacant floor, no revenue, Sutter happy.
3. Our MRI machine broke 4 years ago, hospital lost well paid out pt procedures. No effort by Sutter to replace it despite having many used MRI machines in their storages around the state. No MRI machine, less revenue, more reason for sutter to say, look we are loosing money.
4. We got a new CT scanner in 2008, through a grant from Wayne and Glades Valley Foundation to SLH. Sutter charged $1.6 million dollors to just instal the scanner. Not only that, Sutter did nothing to advertise our new state of the art scanner to attract more customer. less scan, less money, Sutter very happy.
5. Our NM machine is from world war 2. Working one day and not another. Sutter Health can easily bring another NM machine if wanted to bring more pts and make this hospital profitable. That is not in Sutter's best interest. Les NM scan, less revenue, Sutter more happy.
I can go on and on and on, Sutter made no effort to make this hospital work for the community rather wanted to close its emergency room and hand it over to Alameda county for $1.00. It is a disgrace for Sutter Healtha and It is disgrace for people who knowingly or unknowingly support Sutter in this effort.

Despite all this, Sutter Health lied about hospital loosing money and their is no buyer to take over this place. Wrong, Prime Health Care is ready to buy or lease this hospital but Sutter will not negociate. IF this hospital is loosing money and Sutter dose not want it WHY not selling it to Prime Health Care or other healthcare. Sutter has been refusing to face the facts and be a honist broker in this matter. People who follow this matter blindly should at least look at these facts that I have mentioned.
This community needs the hospital, closing the emergency room and ICU will severly affect the health of not only this community but all srounding communities.

I hate it when people talk about the unions being self-serving. Of course, they are. It's called a labor union, but they too are no different than the community. They are a part of it. If there isn't a hospital in San Leandro, then nobody is drawing a paycheck nor are they getting medical help. The commenter above is right about the background with Sutter and the county, but forgets the fact Sutter has never played in good faith and roped in the county to help its case.

John Viera;; If we let Sutter bullying us around,and not fighting for our rights, our jobs and our community then they will do what ever they pleased to do. We have to fight them and expose their fraudulent behavior. Sutter Health has commited a crime by bribing former ETHD directors and have them signe the 2007/2008 MOU which is in clear violation of the district's ethics.

I say put Papa John in a room with Sutter, lock the door, and end this. I wonder which one ends up in the emergency room?

Going back to 1986 to make personal appeals on behalf of to Dr. Ratnesar's character do nothing to wipe away the fact that he has violated two sections of Eden Township Healthcare District's bylaws regarding Conflicts of Interest.

Section 2.01 (a) states, "Fiduciaries shall not be financially interested in any contract made by them in their official capacity....". That is the very seed of our District's current lawsuit against Sutter Health.

The Healthcare District's lawsuit against Sutter Health reveals that Dr. Ratnesar made the 2008 MOU contract in his official capacity by crafting it behind the scenes along with Dr. Rico and CEO George Bischalaney before it was presented to the public. Each were employed by Sutter; the Doctors were seated Board members; no other Board member was involved in the creation of that language.

In addition, Dr. Ratnesar's public rhetoric and particularly his votes have continually been in line with his conflict- in other words, he has been employed by Sutter and is executing multiple votes to this day that, if carried, would execute Sutter demands and disrespect the clear wishes of District citizens.

All other Board members now found to be in specific conflicts of interests have consistently voted AGAINST their conflicts, or in opposition to what would be their best interests based on their assumed conflicts.

These are unpleasant circumstances, made all the more so by Dr. Ratnesar's placement as a voting Board member regarding litigation decisions by the District due to the "Rule of Neccessity", and his violation of District Policy 2.01 (b), which states:

"...the Fiduciary must either 1) resign his or her position at the District, or 2) not acquire or otherwise possess the financial interest which creates the conflict described in Section 2.01 (a)."

Dr. Ratnesar's recent vote to oppose the District's lawsuit against Sutter has him clearly in conflict with the second directive. This is made true by the fact that the District's lawsuit reveals that an arbitrator has ordered the District "by March 31, 2010, to deliver to Sutter an executed grant deed conveying title to SLH to Sutter".

The District's lawsuit is now the only thing preventing Sutter from possessing "the financial interest which creates the conflict". Dr. Ratnesar must either rescind his recent vote, or he must resign.

My mother was the manager of the Operating Room at Eden Hospital from the mid-1970's through the '90's. I began my career in health care at Eden in 1982. We viewed Dr. Ratnesar and Dr. Rico, as did the vast majority of Hospital personnel, as personally and professionally ethical.

Sutter Health's awful actions with these Healthcare District issues corroded our Dr.'s ethical standards. Sutter forced what appeared to these elected Board members to be a Hobson's Choice. The problem for them is that public testimony at public Board meetings before this MOU was approved stated that this contract's construction violated conflict of interest laws.

They are liable for taking those improper actions; Dr. Ratnesar is also currently in violation of District policy. Calling for his resignation gives me no pleasure, and quite a bit of sadness. Nevertheless, given what is happening, this request is necessary.

To Anonymous 3:01 pm. You go over the hill to Eden jackass! I want to live! Keep that San Leandro E.R. open!!!
Mark Phillips
Castro Valley

I can believe that both Drs. Ratnesar and Rico believe and believed they were acting ethically when they voted to give Sutter the purchase option on SLHS. As Doug Jones points out, that's not the point. The legal conflict of interest existed despite their professed lack of bias. Their failing, in my opinion, was to accede to Sutter's threats that it would not rebuild Eden Hospital, as it already was contractually obligated to do, *without* the added incentives of 1) taking over completely the Eden Medical Center Board, and 2) the purchase option on SLHS. With the exception of Carole Rogers, the ETHD Board lacked the courage to stand up to Sutter and require it to rebuild Eden without giving it SLHS too. The new ETHD Board is taking Sutter on; Ratnesar should get out of the way and let them do it. Emily Rich

What bothers me now is not what Drs. Ratnesar and Rico has done, its what they are doing right now. They should at least step aside and let the new district board lead the way and save SLH. They still trying to appease Sutter by speaking ill of the board and the progress they have made. They are supporting an institution which do not care about the people and their wellbeing. It is time for Drs. Ratnesar and Rico to say no to Sutter and save what has left of their dignity and humanity befor the community drive them out. Earn less money with pride and dignity is whole lot better than making millions by selling your dignity.

I'm just asking so don't jump all over me! Can't Dr. Ratnesar and Dr. Rico just say they were acting in the interest of the people as elected officials? How can you beat that broad defense? It seems to me this is what their lawyers that will be paid by the district are going to argue. I would think they would also say nobody had issue with it two years ago, why now?

In response to Anonymous 3/28/19 2:22

Elected officials serve the public according to certain guidelines. No person can tell what Drs Ratnesar and Rico were thinking, but we can judge them by their actions. And, according to conflict of inerest laws, they violated this law. It's clear, and the courts will soon validate this.
The public was not made aware of this, it was not addressed in Sutter's monthly community news letter. And no one believed that Sutter would acually attmpt to destroy a community in this way.
Hey, look at what Wall Street did to us. Big Business is just unaccountable these days.
Mark Phillips
Castro Valley

Anonymous from March 29th's statement that "nobody had issue with it two years ago" is incorrect. Many, many people spoke to the Board at five public meetings held at the end of 2007. We disputed the MOU on many grounds, including pointing out the conflict of interest at the center of the District's current lawsuit.

Also, to Mark Phillips, many of us did understand that Sutter Health would "actually attempt to destroy a community in this way", despite their bogus reassurances to the District.

It has been known since the early 2000's that Sutter planned to disband all Hospital Board of Directors and create new Regional Boards, as part of a general consolidation plan which would close many Hospitals. At that time Sutter tried to discredit this revelation by saying it just represented wild claims from radical unions and stray disaffected doctors.

That it all came to pass was infuriating, but not surprising.

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