ROUNDUP: SAVE SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL
HAYWARD | Dec. 19, 2011 | Add this to the list of problems at the Eden Township Healthcare District. The governing body which oversees San Leandro Hospital lost a portion of its non-profit tax exempt status in November 2010, according to its CEO.
Dev Mahadevan, who oversees the day-to-day functions of the District, said last Wednesday its 501(c)3 tax exempt status was revoked over a year ago. The District has asked the Internal Revenue Service to retroactively reinstate the status, but Mahedevan admits there may be a gap in the District's non-profit status going forward.
The mistake could potentially be a problem for those who gave charitable donations to the District in the past year. Without the tax exempt status they could be on the hook for additional taxes. Mahadevan says that possibility is remote since he reported the District has not received a single cash donation during the period in question.
The District's compatible 501a tax-exempt status as a health care district, added Mahadevan, gives the District some cover as a non-profit.
The mistake, though, raising questions over the management of the District's affairs amidst turmoil over the future of the body and messy two-year legal battle with Sutter Health over the title of San Leandro Hospital.
Carole Rogers, the chair of the District's Board of Directors, questioned whether the suspension earlier this year of membership in a local health care association hastened such a lapse of attention in the District's non-profit status despite its $15,000-a-year dues. "Perhaps might have been aware of this technicality," said Rogers.
MERGE NOW, SAYS COUNTY It was a bit of head scratcher last month, when the director of Alameda County Healthcare Services and Supervisor Nadia Lockyer urged the District to trudge ahead with a merger with St. Rose despite a sense the District may lose its appellate appeal over title to San Leandro Hospital.
The instruction, in actuality, has very little to do with San Leandro Hospital and everything to do with St. Rose Hospital in Hayward. It also begs the question of what good is a health care district without a hospital to oversee?
"Even if we lose, the District will still be around," said Rogers. "We'll still be a governmental entity, no matter what and that's what St. Rose needs: access to be a district hospital that gives them access to inter-governmental transfers and maybe down the line a parcel tax."
The model for delivering health care in the county is definitely broken, as it is all over the country. The loss of a single hospital facility in the East bay would be catastrophic, especially in the South County. For instance, if you live in Hayward, do not possess health insurance or are under-insured, it is almost a certainty you will transferred to a hospital bed in another city or even county.
"I have a lot of confidence in them," said of St. Rose CEO Michael Mahoney and his employees. "The doctors are engaged and really supportive. I give them credit for working in a hospital environment where 25 percent of your customers can't afford to pay you."
ST. ROSE REPAYMENT PLAN ACCEPTED Despite somewhat stern language in a letter earlier this month from the District to the CEO of St. Rose Hospital that notified them of a delinquent loan payment, there appears to be little enmity between the two groups.
"Especially as were trying to broker a relationship, the simplest thing is to accept what is workable for them," Mahadevan told the District Board of Directors last Wednesday.
In fact, St. Rose has already made its first weekly payment of $200,000, reported Mahadevan.
The resumption of a modicum of cash-flow comes at a good time for the District, which is encountering a slow market for tenants at its new medical building in Castro Valley.