|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.
Chief of Staff
Sutter Coast Hospital