FREMONT -- One meeting and $3.5 million dollars later, Washington Township Health Care District has formally severed its ties with St. Rose Hospital in Hayward.

Washington's board of directors voted last week to terminate the St. Rose Transition Authority agreement signed last April by the district and Alameda County. The agreement created a nine-member joint powers authority with five members appointed by Washington Township, two from Alameda County, one from Eden Township Healthcare District and one from St. Rose Hospital -- all tasked with finding a way to save the Hayward hospital, drowning in $73 million of debt.

The authority met only once on July 30, Washington officials said, after which hospital leaders backed away from pursuing management or ownership of the private nonprofit St. Rose Hospital, considered a "safety net" hospital for serving a large population of underinsured patients.

To date, Washington, a public agency in southern Alameda County, has given $3.5 million to "Alameda County along with other stakeholders for the benefit of St. Rose. This was in response to a request by St. Rose for funds which St. Rose indicated were needed as soon as possible to keep the hospital and emergency room open," said Washington spokeswoman Gisela Hernandez in an email.

St Rose Hospital serves about 35,000 emergency room visitors annually, according to the nullified transition authority agreement. Washington's actions come after the state attorney general approved a deal earlier this year for St. Rose to be managed by for-profit Alecto Healthcare Services so long as it continues to offer emergency room services and serve MediCal patients, among other requirements. Alecto, led by the former CEO of Prime Healthcare Services, still maintains the option to buy the hospital outright.

Ashly McGlone covers San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Ramon and the Washington Township Health Care District. Contact her at 510-293-2463. Follow her at Twitter.com/AshlyReports.