Thursday, May 3, 2012

San Leandro Residents, Nurses Cast Hope In County Supervisors Saving Hospital

May 3, 2012 | While the possible closing of San Leandro Hospital is now measured in weeks and months, rather than years, there remains optimism the facility and its workers still have options to stave off Sutter's reported intent to file a 90-day notice with the county to shutter its emergency room

About 100 nurses and residents rallied Tuesday in the shadow of the hospital hoping to find a path forward as title to the facility from the Eden Township Healthcare District to Sutter is imminent. "I'm hoping rational minds at Sutter realize that there's going to be a severe financial consequence to them and particular to the physicians there that have influence, will say, we have to come up with solution," said San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy. "We have to keep acute care at San Leandro."

The enmity among nurses toward Sutter was evident. Some of whom also picketed other Sutter hospitals in the Bay Area as part of a one-day strike in conjunction with other May Day protests. "How many hospital is Sutter going to close before they are stopped?" asked a San Leandro Hospital employee. "We're not the first ones, are we the last?"

A registered nurse from Highland Hospital in Oakland, who lives in San Leandro said, "I'm hearing from Sutter that they think it's okay to close San Leandro, because they can send the patients to Highland. I'm here to tell you that we have a 50-bed ER and we are full."

Jeanette Dong, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan's chief of staff said, "Sutter as a corporation is unfair, unjust and indecent" and recounts the supervisor's dispute with Sutter dating back to her time in the State Assembly after Sutter's purchase of Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. A legislative audit of Sutter's non-profit status was first suggested last year by Chan and pursued by State Sen. Ellen Corbett. The report is due sometime in August or September, Dong said.

"The politicians are not going to stop this thing," said Richard Mellor of San Leandro. "Only the ordinary people, the community, the workers involved, only they can stop this thing." He later called for direct action to ridicule the personal involvement of some at Sutter, for instance, by handing out leaflets at their place of worship. "We let them know, you hurt us, we'll hurt you," Mellor said.

San Leandro resident Craig Williams advocated for less confrontation and more outreach. He suggested volunteers would do well to go door-to-door to explain the dire situation at the hospital and what it means to the community. "I can tell you people in San Leandro are scared--especially old people," he said.

Perhaps the most uplifting moment of the hour-long discussion was the entrance of former Eden Township Healthcare District board member Dr. Vin Sawhney, who elicited a standing ovation. Sawhney, along with current board chair Carole Rogers, are two of the most ardent supporters of keeping the hospital open. He tried to impart some hope Tuesday afternoon.

"Wherever we are today," said Sawhney, "our efforts have not gone in vain. This hospital would have been closed if they had their way in 2008. They would have walked away without any repercussions from anyone. We need to commend ourselves as a community." He added the facility has been open far beyond Sutter's expectation to close it as early as September 2009.

"It's still not the end," he said despite the District losing its lawsuit. He believes Sutter is intent on closing the hospital as soon as they received title, however, there are other available avenues that surround a potential 90-day notice Sutter must file with Alameda County Healthcare Services.

Sawhney says approval is not automatic. Alex Briscoe, the director of Alameda County Healthcare Services would still need to run data-based analysis identifying where 27,000 annual emergency room visits at San Leandro Hospital could be absorbed by the county, Sawhney said. "It has to be not based on what he thinks, it has to be based on data," Sawhney said. Once a determination is made, he added, the matter would still go before the Alameda County Board of Supervisors for approval, which he urged the throng to inundate with support for the hospital.

Such a scenario could become a nightmare for a board that only three years ago brushed aside jurisdiction over the hospital's future, but could now become another battleground for fate of San Leandro Hospital later this year, although, final say ultimately rest with the California Department of Health Services.

NOTE: An addition was made to this article for clarification. While the county must provide an estimation of the impacts of a closure or downgrade to emergency room services by a licensee, the final approval rest with the California Department of Health Services.


  1. The state, not the county, has the final say. The county sends the report to State. Vin has the wrong info. Why did the Eden Board vote members all vote to give the place to Sutter, not just the two talked about in the lawsuit?

    It's sad for the patients.

  2. Heard Carole say that city will raise 20m to buy hospital and will get Sutter to do it. Bravo!

  3. Even if the hospital movement fails. Mayor Cassidy should be noted for his support. there's truly nothing in his power he can contribute that is any different than an ordinary citizen but but he cares and puts in his own free time (which can't be much between 2 full time jobs) to try to help.

    Take notes Santos.

  4. Agree. Eden board is to blame. They all agreed to bring Sutter in.

  5. As stated above at the end of the article as a Note, I acknowledge that the final authority rests with the California Department of Health Services to make a decision to close the Emergency Room at San Leandro Hospital.

    Vin Sawhney MD

  6. The City of San Leandro does not have $20 million in spare change yet less to buy peanuts at the Little League park. Say a prayer, light a candle to keep San Leandro Hospital alive.

  7. The city has a huge reserve thanks to the frugalness of our championed mayor!

  8. The Eden Healthcare District. Board voted to place the issue before the voters. It was the citizens of the Healthcare District who approved the "partnership" with Sutter Health on the late '90's. We've gotten a new Castro Valley. Hospital out of it, and little else which was promised.

  9. I thought an estimation of impact was done 4 years ago when Sutter first announced their plan and the county made a report saying that the new Eden was capable of taking on the extra patients with out SLH. I remember this because it was an extremely outrageous claim and the general consensus of people who had knowledge of the situation felt that Sutter had obviously paid off the county already

  10. Actually, the Planning Committtee and the Supervisors were encouraged to distance themselves from considering Castro Valley impact from a SLH closure because Sutter claimed they had not announced they would close the ER and other services, so our warnimgs were irrelevant speculation. Only persistent public activism on the issue forced the Supervisors and the HCSA to deal with SLH'a future at all.

  11. The comments are incredible. Which planet do these people live on? Did Rogers say "City is to raise $20 million to keep facility open?" This is a fairy tale. Carole should be concerned about the potential $20 million or so the district owes Sutter. Will this bankrupt the district? I know the district is hoping sutter will not hold them responsible for damages-wishfull thinking? Look folks, there could have been a settlement in 2009-I always felt the district should have negotiated from this position; it did not due to three members of the board voting to fire its Counsel and then sue Sutter. Sutter did not start the litigation, Carole Rogers did; she owes all of us an apology and besides I think she and her colleagues should be investigated for failure to uphold their fidiuciary reponsibilities. Litigation expenses have cost district over $5 million dollars-could that money not be used to maintain the ER for a year or so? also to person who states Cassidy responsible for city finances also knows nothing .City finances in good shape due to two factors: one Council in 2006 put $24 million dollars in reserve and city passed measure, for which cassidy opposed, in 2010. Ask Cannizzo! Apologize Sawney/Rogers/West. Tony Santos

  12. Well look what the cat drug in TS, well where do you come up with all of your misinformation, you were never at any of the ETHD monthly meetings so how do you think you know that they should have negotiated with sutter in 2009. you always contended that this was no concern for you, and what is to negotiate about closing a needed ER and acute care hospital especially back in 2009, and again you seem to be so informed yet when we had an encounter in fromt of the court house you told me it was not a city problem, well I sure am glad we elected a mayor who does consider it a city problem he is interested in his constituents unlike you in your world traveling term. I would expect you to at least now to be in support of the people of the city of San Leandro, you deserted them once so now would be a good time for you to admit you are all wet and come and stand along with those who want to do the right thing, if you do I will stand by your side because I respect MEN who admit they are wrong and come to help others not that that is such a big deal but at least you would have one person forgiving you. So until we meet again try and learn the facts before you make such statements, negotiate, would you also negotiate with the DEVIL when your time comes, think about it. John Kalafatich ( PAPA JOHN )

  13. If john represents the opposition then I know why we've lost the ER. He's a fool. Papa we don't have to go to the ETHD meetings the minutes are public. What silliness, it's over John figure it out!!!

    Santos is right carole should be investigated. this could have been fixed years ago, instead Carole and friends used the districts money so that their union bosses could poke sutter. shameful.

    And yes papa I would negotated with the devil if I thought I could get out of hell. Or have kept our hospital open.

  14. Carole and her union cronies decided to spend millions to fight a losing battle with sutter instead of supporting healthcare in clinics and hospitals and yes even SLH.

    How many people have died or received inadequate care because of this disgusting mismanagement of district money? An investigation is needed.

  15. I don't think anyone has died because the district fought to keep the ER open....... Though it might be the opposite in actuality....

  16. Hey 9:01 do the math. Millions in legal fees in a friviolous lawsuit, that they were counseled against doing, means less for Eden, St. Rose and SLH and for the safety nets at Davis Street and Tiburcio Vasquez.

    It's a Healthdistrict and it has squandered millions not providing healthcare. If you say that they kept SLH open then the cost was to the safety nets and other programs they should be funding at better quality hospitals and clinics.

    There is a cost for this lawsuit that many said was a waste.

  17. All you naysayers about the District losing the law suit don't remember what is was about. The CEO of the District was the CEO of Eden Hospital. He negotiated a back room deal with Sutter Health (his employer) along with two members of the District Board- both of whom also worked for Sutter. This deal gave San Leandro Hospital to Sutter for its appraised value minus operating losses. All of a sudden, the operating losses were $1 million a month, using fancy bookkeeping and referring profitable procedures to Eden. The District paid $40 million of your money for San Leandro Hospital and leased it to Sutter, who now has it for free. It was their intent to close San Leandro Hospital all along. Sutter believes that all the wealthy insured people will go to the new Eden Hospital and all the poor folks can go elsewhere. Sutter has no Medi-Cal contract and bullies the private insurance companies into high reimbursement rates because they are a monopoly. Even the State Attorney General sued Sutter for their monopoly and lost. Sutter takes advantage of being a non prifit corporation and pays NO taxes, yet banks millions in profits every year. Big money buys influence, and their is no concern about health CARE. Sutter makes me sick.

  18. If anyone should be investigated it should be all of these anonymous idiots, I would be curious to know just where they live, I am sure not one of them would tell the truth since they dont know the truth, it is just hard to imagine why they are so intent in the hospital closing, could it be that they are sutter employees from out of the area, I just wonder just how many have ever been in our ER or in the hospital as a patient, they evidently are not residents of SL, because if they were they would know or have known someone in their neighborhood who was here as a patient, what is the goal of the anonymous unless they have some monetary gain why else would they deprive anyone of medical care in their community so if an investigation is in order lets investigate the whys and what fors of the anonymous who are afraid to list their names elst we learn their real reason for their extreme behaviour reading the minutes is not quite the same as attending meetings, you cannot ask the minutes questions after the meetings and see the reactions of the person you are talking to. So until you identify yourself I have to believe you have something to hide and it just might be that you are not even from around here you might even be from Sacramento, sutters hometown.
    John Kalafatich ( PAPA JOHN )

  19. 11:52 yes, yes and yes.

    I hate sutter to, but the district has been run by fools who sued instead of negotiated.

    We are the electorate who voted for the leadership of the district then and now. We got what we elected.

  20. Oh John please stop talking.

  21. John wants us investigated cause we are anonymous. What an ass.

    If he's an example of a SLH employee then close the place tomorrow.

  22. JK is so full of it it doesn't need comment. JK is a nurse who could lose his job; sad but true; he knows nothing about what I did as Mayor and no use trying to convice him other wise. My position has always been well stated and so no use adding to it. The only thing I can say is rogers and her cohorts abused their and should be held accountable .They spent millions in a losing battle and when you lose, you kiss it off and move on except this could bankrupt the district .Up to today, no one knows if sutter is going to seek damages; they should. Also nurses who make almost $200,000 should not complain; if anyone did in hospital, it was the nurses, doctors and the majority of board members ;they all owe us an apology. Tony Santos

  23. Milo MinderbinderMay 9, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Tony, as a public persona I would expect that you take more care about the way you express yourself so as to maintain, as a former elected official, certain stature and poise in your written statements. "Sutter", for example, should be capitalized. "Otherwise" is one word. Your writing is a reflection of your lack of professional demeanor that has been a source of bewilderment for me ever since you began contributing to this blog.

    Secondly, JK is not a nurse. You need to get your facts straight before you thoughtlessly spit them out. And thirdly, nurses to not make $200,000, they make half of that, plus a few thousand more. Mostly due to overtime (e.g. SLH is a busy place that needs all hands on deck at all times).

    And as far as that inflated salary idea; it is well-deserved, whatever it is. You would not want to be near the job of nursing. It's pure hell. You would be running like a chicken with the head cut off, curl up and die right there in ICU ward. Trust me on this.

    So, to return to my original thesis; if your writing is the representation of how you ran this city, the fate of SLH lays heavily on your shoulders for not doing anything of substance to prevent this disaster, just as it rests on the Eden Township leadership's.

  24. Proud San LeandranMay 9, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Wow, our former Mayor is quite a foolish ass. A sexist one, too.

    The Healthcare District wanted to negotiate fairly, silly man. It was Sutter who refused to deal equitably with elected representatives of the community they have outraged with their immoral conduct.

    Yeah, and Tony's crazy wrong about SLH employee compensation. Again, it has NOTHING to do with the closure of the hospital, but Tony's highly interested in dividing the community and muddying the waters.

    If Sutter moves to try to extract all District taxpayer funds, it would be in service of their intense desire to close the hospital in Tony's home town. Would Sutter be displaying care for citizens by taking the Hospital for free and taking District funds to boot? All so that Sutter Health can create more than the 20 millionnares they currently have among their executives?

  25. Hey Tony what does TS stand for cant be your name it must be for TOTALLY STUPID, I told you once before as one of the last writers I AM NOT A NURSE AND HAVE NEVER BEEN A NURSE, so now when you decide to write somemore of your lies maybe you will get it right, and if we were to go for what people owe or should pay back, how about the money you accepted as mayor of this town, you remember the one you turned your back on and now would so enjoy the people of to lose their hospital, what a poor excuse of a "man ? " just a bald headed fat loser who just cant get his hollow head to hold on to facts. So again until you know what the hell you are talking about and can make a comment worth reading how about finding a nice rock and crawling under it. THE NON NURSE. JOHN KALAFATICH ( PAPA JOHN )

  26. Starting salary for RN's at Sutter hospitals is $44 per hour. The nurses who make over $100k a year work double shifts, have lots of overtime. Overtime is mandatory at Sutter hospitals by contract. That's why nurses burn out. Plus the exposure to nasty bugs, human waste, dirty needles, and bad behavior by very sick patients - it's no wonder.

  27. When people don't have a logical answer to tony santo they resort to name calling and grammar correcting. How pathetic.

    Nurse and patients are throwing a party tonight and feeling safe in knowing that Papa J is not a nurse. Thank you God.

  28. Tony, you say the District should have negotiated with Sutter instead of pursuing the law suit. As an ex-Sutter employee, I know that Sutter's only negotiation stance was for the District to hand San Leandro Hospital over to them. No other choices.

  29. Hello anonymous from 12:38 when TS doesnt know what the hell he is talking about and he is told repeatedly the answer and he continues to go with the wrong information, it is not name calling but calling it like it is, how pathetic it is that some one would pity poor TS when he has and continues to do harm to the city that once called him mayor, and as for your God statement I dont think he would be the one listening to you or any other person who would wish that people should lose their hospital and for what so that sutter can make that much more money, and you evidently havent spoken to any of the nurses and patients about who they would rather listen to JK or Ts. So until you do just read my replys and know that I not TS know what I am talking about. John Kalafatich ( PAPA JOHN )

  30. TS , you are not getting any younger. Sooner or later you will end up in a hospital ,and we will find that out . Bring your wife to nurse you . Do you think she can handle your dirty waste ?? hahaha,and how much are you going to pay her ? LOL
    Why are you so jealous of Nurses ?? They make more than you do ?? TS do your Math ..$40- $50 /hour divided by 5 patient . So the pay is only $8-$10
    per patient .Is that too much for you ?? TS can you afford it or not ?? If not then bring your wife or daughter to the hospital

  31. I doubt that any of you have the accurate and complete story. What we have are a bunch of heart broken people who do not want to lose their job.
    Hospitals close all over the U.S. It is a rough business to be in. Try being a patient in Canada where you have to wait months for a CT scan and the care not what it is in the U.S.
    When hospitals close, the patients find another. It is time for some closure on the saga of San Leandro.

  32. California is ranked #51 out of all the States @ Territories in the number of emergency rooms per capita, according to Alex Briscoe, the Health Officer for Alameda County, and he told us at the last Community meeting, showing slides on how severe the impact would be felt in our area if San Leandro Hospital would close. Lives are at stake.

  33. 8:30 am -- Yes!

    There is not a single shred of evidence anywhere that says that people will die if SLH ER isn't there. Not a single piece of evidence anywhere.

    People will just go to another ER just a few miles away. That's right just a few miles away. If anyone says they will die cause of just a few miles then they would have died anyway.

  34. It's called capacity. When the ER beds fill up, ambulance drivers go to the next open hospital. This happens a lot in our area. If you had attended Alex Briscoe's presentation, you would have seen the mountain of evidence showing people's lives are at stake, and the Health Officer, who is responsible for the health care of everyone in the county, agrees with this. The Alameda County Fire Chief has been quoted "minutes count" when it comes to heart attacks and strokes in an ambulance. Look at the evidence and let your heart bleed. It will.

  35. All union employees at SLH got their 90 day notice of the emergency department CLOSURE this week. September first, the doors will be closing on the ED.

    Steven you better scoop this before the SL times does lol

  36. Anonymous 8:55 PM . You sound so happy that SLH will close in Sept. FYI none of the employees got a 90-day notice . Legally speaking ,you are ignorant. You can not just close a hospital ER .!!! Bark all you want and we will have the last laugh . I don't understand why you want all the SLH employees to lose their job . You must be all " jobless people " that is why you are jealous of people who still have a job . Or you don't make as much as Sutter employees ,hahaha .

  37. Actualy I'm a SLH employee. Not a union employee though. It was a stab at Steven more than SLH employees

  38. Update:
    ER nurses, ILUW employees, teamster employees at SLH have been given notice that the emergency department will close September first. If you are an employee at SLH and you don't know about this it's because your not in a union. Sutter will not announce anything public until a week before as they did when they closed the 4th floor. All staff on the 4th floor were given pink slips 1 week before it was closed.

  39. Just came from SLH and the ER a little while ago. Nobody knows anything about a Sept. 1 closure or heard anything about one.This includes the nurses.So this is probably not accurate info.

  40. I am in the union at San Leandro Hospital. We have received no notice. Sutter must give the County 90 days notice with intention to close- then the Board of Supervisors must approve. That's what Wilma Chan said at the last meeting with the city. Our union attorney says that Sutter has not filed anything. So this is all rumor intended to scare employees which Sutter has done for the last three years. Management has held innumerable meetings with staff and told us that the hospital closure is imminent. Just ignore it folks, it's not over til it's over!

  41. Proud San LeandranMay 12, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Anonymous May 11th 3:24 is wrong, which is unsurprising since they bring no facts to the table at all. We could give 3:24 the benefit of the doubt and believe they are wrong out of ignorance, or consider the possibility that they are a Sutter PR operative and wish to divide the community in order to distract us from the facts.

    In 2009, SLH's ER saw over 27,000 patients. Nearly 14,000 of those patients were too ill to recieve adequate care at the 12-hour Urgent Care center which ACMC offered to run as a poor substitute for our 24-hour ER. Over 1,300 of those patients were in critical condition.

    The extra 5 to 25 minutes it would take for a patient to transport to the nearest ER which is not on bypass would kill people. This is not a question of if; it is a question of how many people would die at the altar of Sutter's profits.

  42. Tony Santos belongs to Kaiser he does not give a crap about the rest of us who rely on private doctors and hospitals.

  43. Check out the giant billboard on 880 North at 238. Sutter makes huge profits, yet is closing San Leandro Hospital. Community arise!

  44. Don't forget the county gets a profit too. Your stupid if you believe Sutter has not lined the county's pockets with gold just as they've done with baboonish Tony Santos.

  45. This has been quite become the talk of town even the staffs and attending physicians in the glendale urgent care has been blabbering about this issue. I guess, the government shouldn't sacrifice the sake of its many staffs. Instead they should just pay attention to what will make their employees enjoy their work.

  46. Why do they decide to closed down a hospital that can help to cure the ailments of many people like in urgent care seattle that has many facilities offered to people. They should build another hospital so that they can cure many people. What do you think would happen when they closed this one?

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