Sat. May 25th, 2024
Gregory         J. Duncan, M.D. Newsletter Hospital         Update
October 7, 2012


Alternatives         to Regionalization




I write with another update on Sutter Health’s         proposed change of ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital, and their         consideration of downsizing our hospital to meet Critical Access         criteria.


First, the Sutter Coast         Hospital Board (a group of local residents and Sutter executives), at         the request of the Medical Staff, Board of Supervisors, and City         Council, took another vote last Thursday on rescinding their prior         vote to Regionalize our hospital. That motion failed. Once again, their prior         vote in favor of Regionalization was not taken back.


Second, in response to concerns raised by the         community, and communicated to the local hospital Board through         our elected representatives, the Board agreed to consider         alternatives to transferring ownership of our hospital to Sutter         Health’s San Francisco-based regional Board.  Discussions are         in a preliminary stage, and I have been advised by our local Board         members not to disclose any details at this time, but I will         certainly keep you informed if the Board allows.


Third,         a study assessing the impact of Critical Access designation for our         hospital has been completed, and is being reviewed by executives at         Sutter Health.  The results of the study have not been released to         me nor to anyone else on the hospital Board. However, if Sutter Health         makes the report available, I will forward the details to you as soon         as I have permission to do so.


I would like to share my own         thoughts on Critical Access.  I was recently called to the         Emergency Room to evaluate a patient.  Even at midnight, the         Sutter Coast ER had the feel of Emergency Rooms in which I have worked         in Baltimore and Los Angeles. Our ER is busy.  I cannot imagine         downsizing the hospital by 50% (which would be required under the         Critical Access program).


A Court Hearing on the Del Norte Healthcare         District’s lawsuit to obtain a permanent injunction against         Regionalization, Critical Access designation, and downsizing of         hospital departments, is scheduled for Wed. October         17th, 10 a.m., at the Courthouse.


Finally, I would like to mention that the recent         letter sent by the hospital Board Chairman to our County Board of         Supervisors and City Council, which stated it was written on behalf of         the hospital Board, was written without my knowledge or input, even         though I am a Board member.  I became aware of the hospital         Board’s letter only after an elected representative read it to me over         the telephone.  Because of the ongoing difference of opinion regarding         the future of our hospital, and in an effort to improve         communication between the hospital Board and the Medical Staff, the         physicians have formed a nine member dispute resolution committee         of physicians and Board members, which will meet later this month.


Thank you again for your         interest and support.  Your voices are being heard.




Greg Duncan


Chief of Staff

Sutter Coast Hospital





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