Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Large Crowd Gets Behind Latest Plan To Save San Leandro Hospital

By Steven Tavares
@eastbaycitizen on twitter

A gathering in excess of 300 residents registered overwhelming support for the latest plan to save San Leandro Hospital. Not since a string of heavily-attended rallies nearly two years ago have hospital employees and residents met to voice concern over Sutter Health’s plan to shutter the facilities emergency room and services and lease it for acute rehabilitation.

Similar to those meetings, Tuesday night’s speakers set a near-unanimous tone of support for St. Rose CEO Michael Mahoney’s proposal to consolidate his hospital with San Leandro Hospital under the auspices of the Eden Township Healthcare District. Personal stories of emergencies quelled by their proximity to the hospital were sprinkled with defiant calls to stop Sutter along with congratulatory remarks lauding the community for keeping the hospital in full operation at least two years longer than expected.

“This hospital is open because of you,” Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett told the crowd. On separate occasions starting in the fall of 2009, Sutter had publicly called for the closing of the hospital before a change of direction at the Eden Township Healthcare District led to dueling lawsuits between it and Sutter. Many contend the deep opposition to Sutter’s proposal from residents gave the District’s Board of Directors a shot in the arm.

“They said the hospital would close by the following summer of 2009. What year is it now?” asked San Leandro resident and hospital activist Mia Ousley. “It’s now the summer of 2009 and this hospital is still open. You are the reason this hospital is still open.”

Mahoney acknowledged the pressing issue of replacing the acute rehabilitation beds possibly lost to the county in the event the St. Rose plan is accepted by Sutter will need to be dealt with in a timely manner. He also told nurses and hospital technicians that St. Rose will honor all existing labor contracts.

The meeting, attended by a who’s who of local elected officials, will go a long ways toward convincing Sutter to go along with the plan, even though most observers believe the hospital provider has amassed a great deal of legal leverage in the courts allowing it to proceed with purchasing San Leandro Hospital and leasing it to the Alameda County Medical Center.

“It will take everyone in this room and a lot of other people to make this happen,” said Mahoney of the community's support. “We are just on the beginning of a long path, but if we do it together a year from now we’ll have a meeting to celebrate what we achieved in the next year going forward.”

Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan may have previewed a new tact in attempting to cajole Sutter into cooperating when she briefly referred to Sutter’s considerable tax breaks derived from their non-profit status. Despite the exemption, Sutter still managed to earn nearly $800 million last year. “Tax breaks come with an obligation to provide charity care and to be good community partners,” said Chan. Afterwards, there was a sense indicating Chan’s remarks were appreciated among various union supporters, who have also levied the charge against Sutter in similar struggles in San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Marin.

Representatives from the California Nurses Association said they intend to keep this latest tide of community support from leveling off. Thousands of campaign-style placards and printed postcards addressed to Sutter CEO Pat Fry were distributed.

Not only were San Leandro residents of the health care district voicing support for maintaining and strengthening services Tuesday, but Hayward’s City Council also concurrently scheduled discussion of a resolution in support of the St. Rose plan.


So if Sutter closes the hospital, it will be the public's fault.

I saw Papa John in the front row last night. I did not see Dr. Rico. All I can think of is "chicken!"

It's no wonder according to this story the sentiment last night was unaminously in favor of saving San Leandro Hospital. That's because there is only one guy against it in the entire world not getting a paycheck from Sutter and that's you Dr. Rico.

This is a great deal for the community. If Sutter can't make money at SLH, there's no reason why they can't let another group try.

I really hope St Rose becomes the new operator of SL Hospital, that would be great news for our community.

None of this means anything unless Sutter says it's ok and that's a shame.

The details need to be worked out. I met with Mahoney and inquired if he could operate the hospital; he told me no. What is different today? There is a major difference between SLH and St Rose. I have noted this previosly. St Rose has a "disproportinate" hospital rating; SLH does not. the problem with San Leandro hospital has always been its lack of subsidy. If it does not receive a subsidy of at least $12 million dollars a year, it will not be able to operate. I doubt financial details were not discussed on Tuesday night from what I have been told. Mahoney says all can be operational within six months; I assume that if the funding is available. the county does not have the funds to operate the facility on its own. Until the question of funding is addressed, the hospital will not open as promised. Someone is not being honest here. And finally, there is still a lawsuit that needs resolution before anything can be done anyway. No one knows when that suit will be resolved. Tony Santos

Hi Tony, were you at the meeting ??? You never seemed to find time to come to most of the other meetings, and now through sour grapes, you hate SLH because our new Mayor supports it staying open, boo hoo boo hoo. Why dont you just move up to Sacramento where Sutter is and climb in bed with them instead of being so negative about the city of San Leandro and its excellent hospital.John Kalafatich

He's just mad because Cassidy is most likely going to have almost all city debt resolved by the end of this year!!... Something greedy ass Santos could never do and to top it off Cassidy who is hardly ever in city hall manages to still show up for a town meeting about SLH while fixing the city financially. please tony, drift far into the night and let the city forget about your shitty term. You'll go down in SL history somewhere near mayor Karp hahaha

Will Kaiser Hospital take on at least half of the uncompensated care that San Leandro Hospital is now providing to the community? I don't think so!
I don't understand why the community members don't feel a responsibility to pay the health costs of our community members that can't or won't pay for their health care. You keep looking for someone else to take the financial burden. Anyone as long as it isn't you.

I truly don't understand why our ex-Mayor continues to troll the Citizen comment section and talk down the future of our Hospital.

Tony, you are incorrect in your claim that if SLH does not recieve "a subsidy of at least $12 million dollars a year, it will not be able to operate". Required SLH annual subsidy estimates by the County and Healthcare District have topped out at about half the amount you falsely claim.

This remained a blind spot for you during the entire 2010 campaign. This issue caused more public anger and distrust for you than any other. Sutter provided you a pile of misleading and downright false information, and you continued to spout it out even when it should have been evident to any sentient being, much less politician, that the voters of your City despised Sutter and anyone who issued their talking points.

You have learned nothing.

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