Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Stark: Sutter Marches To Their Own Tune

By Steven Tavares

Supporters of keeping the doors open at San Leandro Hospital, don’t expect help from the federal government. Rep. Pete Stark said during a town hall last weekend he cannot pick and choose which hospitals he helps and described himself powerless against the corporate might of Sutter Health, the operator of the facility.

“There’s nothing much I can do. Sutter marches to their own tune, pretty much,” said Stark. “Under Sutter’s domain, you have to take your chances with them. I have not found them to be very good corporate citizens and they are not very easy to get along with.”

Sutter’s reputation for hardball tactics and its desire to consolidate the Northern California market rivaling Kaiser Permanente is well known among politicos who have crossed their path. Stark voiced concern over targeting funding for San Leandro Hospital over others. It is commonly accepted among those at the Eden Township Healthcare District and the County that the hospital needs between $6-9 million annually to survive on its own.

“It would be difficult. I have a hospital in Alameda that wants extra money. Now we’re going to be faced with $20 billion in retrofit for earthquakes,” he said. “I would hope I could get some funding for across the state, but that’s going to have to be shared with every hospital. Once you start selecting hospitals you create a real political problem. I think it needs to be across the board and I don’t think the San Leandro hospital meets that test, except as a rehab facility, perhaps.”

Stark, though, was incorrect on some important points. He said San Leandro Hospital is not a “district hospital” when, in fact, it is. The facility is also sufficiently retro-fitted for earthquakes, which is one of the main reasons why the county identified the hospital for acute rehabilitation services to replace the unit at nearby Fairmont Hospital, which was deemed too costly to retrofit.

POLITICS HOMEGROWN eastbaycitizen.com


  1. Steven, I was at the meeting, did you hear him say if everybody was like Blue Cross we would be better off? That didn't sound right to me.

  2. Yes, I heard that too, but he said Blue Shield. It sounded strange. I've been trying to find out whether he misspoke since the insurer just recently jacked up premiums again.

  3. He doesn’t sound like the Stark we knew. It is possible that he might have received a letter from Sutter regarding the Hospital issue. Or he might have the “Davorsky” affect.

  4. Sutter's new motto is "Profits Before People" and I think that pretty much sums it up. They want to turn San Leandro Hospital into Highland South so that they can turn that area of San Leandro into a ghetto and have all the people with money go to Eden.

  5. I can't understand the lack of comment on the hospital issue. People made such a big deal out of it for long period; now zero. The district is heading for disaster unless it negotiates with Sutter. Sutter position is to hang on until all legal issues resolved, take ownership and transfer all to the County to operate. Doctors will be without a hospital and everyone not with kaiser will get their hospital care elsewhere.

  6. Stark has power over Sutter. He can make their life miserable with Medicare & Medical hearings. He has been our Leader for single payor for decades. How is it he thinks the best alertnative is for San Leandro Hospital to abandon its ER and turn into County Hospital South? Does anyone think that Alameda County Hospital can operate SLH at a profit with no burden on the taxpayers? Get real! We need all the hospital beds available for the future. Sutter wants to close down SLH in order to shut down competition and drive up their reimbursement from insurers. We need to fight this!