Please make local readers aware that many of the same problems we are having with Sutter Health have been experienced by other communities where Sutter Health operates.
I am a member of the Alameda County Employees Retirement Association. In San Leandro, Sutter Health planned to close the hospital, but in the face of organized community opposition, Sutter donated the hospital and it remains open as an Acute Care hospital.
I also read in the Triplicate that some of our local politicians signed non-disclosure agreements, promising not to tell the public about information regarding the hospital, in order to be part of Sutter’s so-called “independent” study on the future of the hospital. Is that even legal, elected officials agreeing to not inform the people that elected them to represent us?
Sutter Health, your secrecy needs to stop. You hold closed Board meetings, you make public officials sign non-disclosure agreements, and in the last two years, you have held a total of one “public” meeting, accessible only over the Internet. When last year’s hospital chief of staff, Dr. Greg Duncan, spoke up to inform the public, you censured him.
Sutter Health is a public benefit, tax-exempt charity, yet it pay its executives millions of dollars per year, operates in closed Board rooms, and excludes the public from decisions which affect our health. Sutter also pays no property or corporate tax on the hospital to our county. Read the Dec. 12 New York Times article by Elisabeth Rosenthal to learn more.
Let’s right this wrong, beginning with revoking Sutter’s tax-exempt status. Please write a brief letter to the State Board of Equalization, P.O. Box 942879, Sacramento, CA 94279, asking for a review of Sutter’s tax-exempt status in light of its actions in our county and statewide.
Finally, don’t be fooled by Sutter’s delay in taking ownership (“regionalizing”) the hospital — it made it clear its decision to delay the takeover is temporary and non-binding.