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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chan Has Support of Supes To Stop County Deal

ST. ROSE'S OFFER WOULD ENTAIL INDEPENDENT HOSPITAL EVENTUALLY JOINING EDEN TOWNSHIP
By Steven Tavares

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan says she believes progress has been made convincing the county to rescind its offer two years ago to convert San Leandro Hospital to an acute rehabilitation facility.

Chan reported fruitful recent discussions with the Alameda County Medical Center, the entity in line to operate San Leandro Hospital. “We have made progress in getting all the parties involved to understand that the decision made in 2009 is not something the community wants,” said Chan.

She also believes she has the support of fellow board members for rescinding the plan to close acute rehabilitation services at nearby Fairmont Hospital and moving them to a reconfigured San Leandro Hospital without general services and an emergency room, the last being a serious point of contention among members of the community.

Chan says she did not support the previous board’s proposal in 2009, although she admits the issue of locating more beds for rehab will be a challenge going forward. “I had a problem with the county making a decision without the input of the community,” she said. “I don’t think you can put that kind of burden on one community.”

A recent proposal by Michael Mahoney, the CEO of St. Rose Hospital in Hayward, to operate the facility is one possible solution for maintaining services at San Leandro Hospital, she says. “Mike came forward with that idea and that may be great, but I haven’t had hearings yet and I’m sure the community would probably like that,” said Chan.

For Mahoney’s plan to work, the independently-operated St. Rose may need to eventually become part of the Eden Township Healthcare District, said Chan, and involve becoming public to leverage federal matching funds to function. “I think St. Rose is looking at scale and becoming a public facility and with the possibility of being part of the district,” she said, adding such a union would entail voter approval. The idea of the District applying for matching public funds run the hospital was briefly discussed about a year ago at the urging of Rep. Pete Stark's office.

No matter the proposal, Sutter is still in the position to nix any deal. Chan says she realizes because of the current lawsuits bad blood exists between Sutter and the District. “My sense is the main goal is to keep the hospital open. If Sutter changed their mind, I don’t think the community would say go away,” Chan said. “I think the goal is someone has to keep it open and be committed to running it.”

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