Friday, June 15, 2012

Chan To Raise Issue Of Sutter's Tax Exempt Status With San Leandro Hospital

SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL | Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan is again raising the question of Sutter Health's non-profit tax exemption, as San Leandro and the county struggle to keep San Leandro Hospital in operation.

Chan and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee will discuss the history and use of tax exemptions set aside for hospital providers like Sutter, which despite its non-profit status reported revenue of over $800 million last year. The forum is scheduled for Friday, June 22 at the San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street, at 3 p.m.

State law allows the exemptions with the understanding hospitals like San Leandro Hospital provide a public trust. Sutter says it donates millions to communities in its vast Northern California network of hospitals, but local officials like Chan and Sen. Ellen Corbett have long charged Sutter with neglecting the duties the tax breaks entail in San Leandro.

Since Chan's return to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, she has waved the threat of revoking Sutter's tax exempt status from time to time. In June 2011, Chan publicly urged Corbett to ask the Legislature to perform an audit of Sutter's exemption. Corbett announced the request of the State Joint Legislative Audit Committee last August. The committee's finding are due some time this late summer.

The likelihood of Sutter losing its tax exemption are slim, but most believe raising the issue allows the county added leverage when, in fact, it is able to negotiate the future of San Leandro Hospital. At this time, there are conflicting reports over whether Sutter has even officially communicated with the county or the Eden Township Healthcare District about their plans for the facility.

Last April, the California State Supreme Court denied the District's petition to hear the long-standing court case with Sutter, thereby, ending the legal front after a four year fight by community members and the nurses union to keep San Leandro Hospital operating in its current configuration with emergency room services.


Obviously Chan is reading the EB Citizen and the comments! But is it pure lip service? Or can anything be done to save San Leandro Hospital?

This has been attempted before and failed; it may not go anywhere; simple solution-accept the august 2009 deal, if sutter still would agree to it! Tony Santos

Santos, you still alive? I thought you didn't make it to the ER at San Leandro.

No Tony goes to Kaiser and doesn't give a F* for us San Leandrans.

If you go back to when Eden Medical Center (including San Leandro Hospital) made their financials public, "community benefit" included uncollected bills from uninsured patients. These are losses suffered by County, St. Rose, Alameda, Doctors, etc. Hospitals that these losses go against their profit margin. Eden/Sutter Hospital gets to use these "losses" towards their report to the State to use as evidence that they are providing a community benefit.
Then, as a Sutter employee at the time, I was asked to document any outside hours of my employment - volunteer work that could be used for their "community benefit.". Excuse me, Little League coaching on time?
Betty Yee please take notice.

How about those donors to Sutter. They should get refunds.

Ok who moved the rock and let TS out again, will he ever care about the people who at one time elected him Mayor, maybe now he knows why he lost the election, it would also appear he gets his news from the EBC where Steve reports it like it is not how you would like it to read, so to all of you SLH haters get a life and also help save one by helping to keep the ER and the hospital open before you or yours should need help. Yours Truly John Kalafatich ( PAPA JOHN )

I may be wrong...though I believe Sutter is "not-for-profit", not "non-profit".

I believe there is a substantial dif...though you would need to confirm with Tax Expert.

Folks it is fun to read the gibberish printed in the citizen. Who says I don't care about the hospital here in SL? those people don't know what they are talking about. Everyone was close to a deal in 2009-mentioned this before, but the three board members squashed the possibility by filling their losing lawsuit-i did not file suit. the deal would have allowed the ER to remain open for at least one year pending study and way to keep it open longer should all parties agree to participate. Would it have worked? Don't know because it was never put in place. and if anyone follows what i have said they would know my position is to return to the possible 09 agreement suggestion and see what can be accomplished; however, all changed because of the litigaion. All I know is the money spent by the district and sutter for attorney fees could have kept ER open for more than two years. Finally,, health care in SL will change next year when kaiser comes on line. ER at SL may not be necessary any longer and then long term solution could be found. best outcome would be if county takes it over and operates it for uninsured etc. Tony Santos

Tony I admire you for fighting for an understanding but your dealing with idiots they won't or can't understand what your talking about. Give it up.

Many of us know what happened here. Unions hate sutter SLH was used to fight sutter.

Tony, the money spent by the Healthcare District has kept San Leandro Hospital open for almost three years. By your accounting, Sutter was supposedly willing to keep the ER open until some time in 2010, with nothing that would have prevented them from closing services after that. That deal sounds pretty rotten, and there's a million poison pills which may have been buried in that never-was agreement that may have made it even worse than that.

You're also completely discountIng the possibility that the District could have won the lawsuit, which would have given SLH back to an organization that wants to preserve health care access, not destroy it. The case was close enough that the State Supreme Court considered it on appeal.

Any connection between the union's desire to keep Sutter out and the efforts by Yee and Corbett to weigh in on the issue? Just wondering?

Sutter Health has a corporate designation of "non-profit for public benefit" which is pretty much the definition of nearly all non-profits, although churches might end up with a different title and some specialty non-profits provide services to small groups, but that is still "public."

Sutter Health must do something with the money it takes in above and beyond its costs. How much do their officers really get in salary and benefits and perks? If they are not putting "excess" into some kind of a protected fund, if they ever convert to a "for-profit" corporation, by law any assest they have must revert to another non-profit. Don't believe for a minute their lawyers aren't scrambling around (at $400 an hour) to find ways to keep that money from going anywhere but into the hands of the present officers and board members.

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