Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chan Urges Sutter To Negotiate; Warns Supervisors Are Unified

By Steven Tavares
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In a letter to the CEO of Sutter Health, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan urges the health provider to enter negotiations with the county and St. Rose Hospital to maintain San Leandro Hospital under the control of the Eden Township Healthcare District.

The correspondence, dated May 27, states the Board of Supervisors are "unequivocally" against the agreement between Sutter and the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC). "While we understand that Sutter may believe it has a 'deal' with ACMC, the Board of Supervisors are in agreement on this issue and maintains appointing powers of all trustees of ACMC," wrote Chan. The letter is also signed by Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer. St. Rose Hospital is located in Lockyer's District 2.

Sutter triggered its right to purchase San Leandro Hospital in July 2009 and quickly entered a lease agreement with ACMC to operate the facility as an acute rehab center and hoping to replace the seismically-deficient Fairmont Hospital in San Leandro. The disagreement over title of San Leandro Hospital is the cornerstone of the legal dueling between Sutter and the District.

The letter to Sutter CEO Pat Fry appears to offer a starting point in negotiations by setting aside 50 beds at St. Rose to be operated by ACMC for acute rehabilitation. Far more stern language later, though, points to the county playing hardball regarding the current makeup of the ACMC board, which it maintains the power to appoint trustees.

Most tellingly, any fan of professional sports will tell you the dreaded non-denial denial followed by full support of the coach by the owner, is typically the kiss of death. After referencing the county's power to control the makeup of the ACMC board, she immediately praises its CEO Wright Lassiter and board president Daniel Boggans. "The Board of Supervisors is proud of the work of the authority and has great respect for the leadership of Mr. Bogans and Mr. Lassiter in serving the needs of county residents," says Chan.

With the arrival of its two newest supervisors, the Board of Supervisors has slowly withdrawn its support for the initial plan to shore up the county's deficiency in acute rehab beds by utilizing San Leandro Hospital. Critics have long balked at the plan to close the hospital's emergency room services as part of the previous support by the board in favor of ACMC and Sutter .

The 15-member ACMC board is primarily made up of various former elected local officials, medical professionals and a few city managers. Most notably, the husband of Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Dr. Floyd Huen, has been a member of the board since 2004.


  1. Excellent news! Now this is real leverage in the negotiations. Sutter should end their intentional mismanagement of SLH, and their "financial losses" there by allowing the County, Healthcare District, and St. Rose to craft a deal that works for the people. Sutter will make bank in Castro Valley regardless.

  2. I have worked at SLH for 30 years. Sutter has been "cooking the books" to make it look like SLH is nonprofitable since they have been running it. The greater community cannot do well without any of our presently functioning hospitals. Thank goodness Eden was able to be rebuilt but SLH is also vital for the health care in our community.

  3. San Leandro Hospital’s 4th floor has been vacant for the last four years and it can be used for additional rehab beds for the county. Between St. Rose and SLH there will be enough rehab beds to accommodate county’s demand and community’s rehab needs. It is no brainer to keep SLH open and make it financially sound. St. Rose’s plan to keep this hospital open should be welcomed by Sutter Health as much as the community has welcomed it. According to Sutter Health, they are loosing millions of dollars by keeping SLH open, then they should let the district and St. Rose loose that money. One should ask why Sutter Health is not negotiating with Eden Township and St. Rose?

  4. Because Sutter wants to shut down SLH so they can have a monopoly. This is why big company x buys out smaller company y so that they can remove any competition in the world market. Sutter plays hardball and does not care one whit about you and me.

  5. St. Rose Hospital has offered the ACMC county the opportunity to move their Fairmont beds to the St Rose Hospital location. So why is the county hospital resisting? It will be cheaper than retrofitting SLH beds. There is more under the table than meets the eye? Who keeps an eye on the County Hospital Board? No concern about the local community? Just their own sense of well being to keep Fairmont alive with "drop dead" for the rest of the community?

  6. Correct incompetent management of SLH by two who should retire.

  7. I have to agree that it's no brainer to keep SLH open and make it financially sound. As far as I know there are available beds in San Leandro Hospital to accommodate the county's demand for rehab needs.

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