SAVE SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL
Feb. 8, 2012 | A settlement in the dispute between the Eden Township Healthcare District and Sutter Health over title to San Leandro Hospital may soon be announced, according to sources familiar with details of their negotiations.
During a meeting of the San Leandro City Council last Monday Councilman Michael Gregory alluded to the existence of a potential settlement in the nearly three year old conflict to save acute care and emergency room services at the facility. San Leandro Hospital resides in Gregory's district.
"Obviously it's not final enough to report out," Gregory said afterwards. "I'm not allowed to share details. They cannot be shared because they are not known."
Gregory said the District was hoping to make an announcement as early as Wednesday in time for a public meeting in San Leandro to discuss San Leandro Hospital and a proposed merger of St. Rose Hospital in Hayward with the District.
"Is this something the community can work with?" Gregory was asked Monday night to which he did not respond but nodded negatively. He then signaled part of the solution for San Leandro Hospital will rest with the Alameda County Medical Center while lauding their efforts and leadership.
"It could very well be one of these success stories where they go from full neglect to a powerful public institution," Gregory said cryptically.
Sources with knowledge of Sutter's perspective in the negotiations said they have been ongoing and preceded the District's Jan. 30 decision to petition the State Supreme Court to accept the case for review. The move was seen as nothing more than a hedge by the District to file the petition on the last possible day following the state court of appeals ruling against them last November.
Gregory said he doesn't believe the question of San Leandro Hospital's fate will ever reach the state's high court. "I'm an optimist," he said, "but I don't think that's going to happen."
According to sources with knowledge of the negotiations, the tentative plan would partly include these points:
The District would turn over title of San Leandro Hospital to Sutter Health as detailed in two unsuccessful court decisions. The District, though, would not pay damages associated with the case.
Sutter would agree to keep the facility's emergency room open on a limited scale and introduce urgent care for one year. Beyond those basic terms, the eventually fate, according to the sources, would again be under Sutter's control.
The proposal would mean a curt and unsatisfying end to the long-running disagreement over the hospital's fate that attracted a nearly universal outpouring dissent by hospital workers and community members over Sutter's hegemony and tactics.