Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Same Story, Different Hospital

Marin General will not close,
but similarities in Sutter's
 legal strategy is evident.
The operator of San Leandro Hospital, Sutter Health, last week happily agreed to meet with arbitrators in its lawsuit with Marin General Hospital. Like San Leandro Hospital, the facility is now run by the local healthcare district. Similarly, the community is up in arms over an allegation Sutter siphoned the cream off of Marin General’s profits from 2006-08 to the tune of $120 million before handing over the facility to the district.

For those who may believe in Sutter’s freedom to make money at any cost or whether their business dealings with local municipalities is honorable, check out the words coming from Marin. They sound eerily similar to remarks in the fight to keep San Leandro Hospital from closing. Not only do lawyers for the Marin Healthcare District sound confident of it legal strategy, but a Sutter spokesman uses the same language portraying the healthcare district of being ungrateful of their philanthropy. “We had hoped the agreement that was in place and the fact that we returned a higher quality and more robust hospital last summer would have brought an end to the divisiveness,” Bill Gleeson told the North Bay Business Journal.

Similar comments were made regarding San Leandro Hospital over the past two years by Sutter who constantly noted money on upkeep of the hospital. The Marin Healthcare District also alleges its former composition of boardmembers was infested with Sutter-appointed directors who greased the skids for Sutter’s cash grab starting in 2006. “Sutter was able make the ‘cash sweeps,’ as the suit calls them, by establishing a hospital board ‘with a clear conflict of interest,’ the suit says. The Sutter-appointed board consisted of Sutter-appointed employees who failed to fulfill their legal responsibility of protecting the financial interests of the hospital by knowingly allowing Sutter to make such transfers as the hospital became independent, the suit says,” according to the article. Of course, the implications that three members of the former Eden Township Healthcare District board had a conflict of interest with Sutter is what the entire countersuit filed by the District last March is all about.

The similarity in legal tactics by Sutter not only in Marin and San Leandro, but in San Francisco and Santa Rosa were one of the reasons lawmakers led by Sen. Ellen Corbett and Assemblyman Jared Huffman urged the state's attorney general to review the corporation's business practices with local healthcare governments. Jerry Brown is now governor and a new attorney general is in office. There is no indication thus far, Kamala Harris’s office will do anymore than Brown’s, which was very little.

Although a California Appellate judge ruled last week against the District’s writ of mandate, the appeals process continues along indefinitely. The upside: the hospital is far from closing, but far from a resolution.
POLITICS HOMEGROWN http://www.eastbaycitizen.com/


  1. Keep blowing the charcoal here, Steve. Keep fanning the flames. Put more money in. Feed the lawyers. Waste. Mel

  2. The arbitration proceeding, the Alameda County Superior Court and now the Court of Appeals have all found that there was not a conflict of interest on the part of Rico, Ratnesar and Bischalaney sufficient to support setting aside the 2008 agreement. To arrive at their conclusions they reviewed hundreds of pages of documents and heard the arguments of the lawyers. What does it take to convince you? As to Marin, I am not knowledgable of the facts in that case so I will not offer an opinion on it. Whatever those facts are they are irrelevant to the SLH case.

  3. Frank, well said. It is a shame that Steve is not able to understand clear words. Tavares should be ashamed of his partisan support. Mel

  4. Ya killin' the messenger, Mel. I hope Steve is going to write you a nice rebuttal -- or worse. You earned it. And by the way, Steve, I like that "infested" word. That's what they really are. Insects.

  5. Mel whats your problem, you seem to be jealous of Steve, and who the hell are you, do you ever come out during daylight, as for Dr. Rico I know Dr. Rico, we dont agree on most things but at least he is man enough to come to the meetings and not afraid to post his whole name on his comments. He also admits when he is not aware of the facts like Steve has mentioned in this article. Dr. Rico refrains from making such assinine statements to and about Steve, I am also curious about why you dont want lawyers to make a living. Mel its time to come out in the open it might though I doubt it add a little credibility to your ignorant comments.
    I am not sure Steve would answer your comments, he usually only speaks to human beings. Love from PAPA JOHN

  6. Papa, if you really think that two milliion dollars spent on a lawsuit that has no chance makes sense, then you are truly in need of professional help. Lawyers are a life form slight above slime mold and below smegma. Sorry if I offended you. Mel