BY DONNA WESTFALL AND KATHERINE KELLY

The two by two meeting held at 3:30 pm Wednesday, July 17th, at the Flynn Center in the Board of Supervisor’s room concerning Regionalization of Sutter Coast Hospital was standing room only. In attendance on the dais: Supervisor Mike Sullivan, Supervisor Martha McClure, Hospital Board Members, Dr. Kevin Caldwell and Clark Moore.

A two by two takes no action and has no vote.  Members of the public were able to express their opinions but it’s hard to see how they can influence the powerful forces at play in this hostile takeover of our local hospital. No one with any power in this situation is listening to them. They have deliberately been kept out of the process.

In Sept. 2011, the hospital Board discussed whether or not to include the public, then decided against any public information or input.  Dr. Kevin Caldwell should be given a gold star for having the courage and the brains to point out all the obvious problems with regionalization, changing to critical access, and not including the public in the process. His voice has fallen on deaf ears. The Board members that voted 9-1 to support regionalization and exclude the public are: Nancy Ehorn, Dr. Arshi, Thomas Polidore, John Jacobson, Michael Cohill, Ken Hall, Andy Ringgold,  Phil Schaeffer and Eugene Suksi.

Sutter Health, located in the Bay area will make decisions affecting this area from 350 miles away.  Per Chief of Staff, Dr. Duncan, “SCH is a locally owned public benefit charity, with a monopoly over local hospital care and the privilege of tax exemption.  Sutter Health, and the SCH Board, are making decisions which will affect the lives of 41,000 people within the hospital’s service area.”

Sutter Health is using its money and power to muscle its way into our community and there are plenty of dirty dealings in their push to acquire our hospital including lying, falsifying information, withholding vital records and financials and obliterating California Corporation Code (which will be spelled out in a future article). Physician concerns were raised that the Sutter Coast Hospital Board had inappropriately excluded physicians from hospital policies, in violation of their bylaws.

Where are the consequences for a powerful force such as Sutter Health to replace hospital bylaws, lying, falsifying records, and keeping financial records secret? Why should this corporation be excluded from criminal charges much less common decency and plain old manners? It’s all about the money. After they have stripped our services and sucked out every dime from the people in this community, what’s to stop them from pulling out and leaving us in the lurch for a hospital? Nothing. But that’s standard procedure for these money hungry behemoths.

There is NO upside for our area, our businesses or our public by regionalizing.  It will only hasten the killing off of this town as reiterated by members of the public during their 3 minute public comments.  They made it crystal clear that having a hospital was part of the decision in moving to this area and staying in this area. Take away a full service hospital and more will move out of town.

Hospital CEO Linda Horn was given information about the two by two meeting while Chief of Staff, Dr. Greg Duncan was not. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? In this David vs Goliath scenario sounds like we, the people of the public, need a miracle.

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