SAN LEANDRO -- San Leandro Hospital and its emergency room would stay open for at least three more years under a deal Alameda County Medical Center has put together.
What's needed now is for Sutter Medical, which owns the hospital, to buy into the plan.
San Leandro and Alameda County each agreed this week to pay $3 million over three years to help cover costs. ACMC, which is an independent entity separate from the county, also would contribute $3 million. As part of the deal, ACMC would own and operate the hospital.
The hospital is losing money, though Sutter has not released exact figures. ACMC would need an estimated $6 million a year to keep the hospital open, San Leandro City Manager Chris Zapata said last week.
"We're trying to find a way to preserve (the hospital and its emergency room) services if we can find a way to do it in a financially feasible manner," ACMC CEO Wright Lassiter told the San Leandro City Council at its meeting Monday.
Eden Township Healthcare District, which previously owned the hospital, earlier pledged $250,000 the first year and $500,000 the next two years, though its board is looking at ways to increase that amount. The medical center also is seeking federal funds.
In a statement Friday, Sutter Medical said only it is "still exploring options that support the best needs of the community and Sutter Health."
Lassiter told the council Monday that ACMC hoped to conclude negotiations
ACMC wants to convert the hospital to what Lassiter called a hybrid operating model, keeping the acute care and emergency room open while gradually moving the acute-care rehabilitation center from its Fairmont campus to San Leandro Hospital.
"Our organization is prepared to include a significant investment," Lassiter said Monday. ACMC would spend more than $20 million renovating the hospital to provide "high quality inpatient/outpatient services," he said.
A 2008 memorandum of understanding gave Sutter the option to purchase the hospital from Eden. In 2009, Sutter attempted to exercise that option and said it planned to close the hospital's emergency room.
The district sued, claiming that the agreement was invalid because two members of the board who approved it had conflicts of interest. Eden Township lost its lawsuit earlier this year. Sutter took ownership of the hospital in September and has been negotiating with the health care district over terms of the sale.
San Leandro Mayor Stephen Cassidy said it was important to the community to keep the hospital open.
"Keeping the hospital open will help save the lives of residents of San Leandro and the neighboring communities," he said.
He also pointed out that San Leandro Hospital is one of the city's largest employers, and if there were a disaster, the county's other hospitals likely would be strained and may not be able to accommodate San Leandro residents.
Eden Township is trying to figure out if it can contribute more toward keeping San Leandro Hospital open, including possibly putting a parcel tax on the ballot in San Leandro. The health district's board will consider the proposal at its meeting Wednesday.¿
The district also is looking to see if it can renegotiate some loans to increase its subsidy to San Leandro Hospital, said Eden Township board member Carole Rogers.
"We'd like to support them more than we've committed to, but it's pending bank approval."
Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473 or follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1.