The people of San Leandro have made history and San Leandro Hospital will remain open for the foreseeable future. After enduring years of negotiation, lawsuits, threats of closure and nearing the point of no return, the hospital will remain open.
Constant pressure in Sacramento and locally was key in reaching a deal.
The community's voice led to a remarkable renewal of negotiation long feared dead and a stunning announcement.
On May 14, Sutter agreed to donate San Leandro Hospital along with all its assets and equipment to Alameda Health Systems (an independent health care authority established by Alameda County in 1997) and provide a $22 million stipend to fund operations through 2014.
The loss of the hospital would have been devastating to San Leandro residents and the surrounding communities.
This is the only general hospital in the immediate area and hosts an emergency room that handles 27,000 visits a year. Closure would have meant the loss of access and continuity of care for senior Medicare patients as part of the hospital safety net in Alameda County.
As well, it would have meant the loss of hundreds of good-paying jobs with a multiplier effect on local businesses and merchants.
I commend Sutter for its generous donation and collaboration at the negotiating table and applaud Alameda Health Systems for its flexibility.
The transaction deadline is July 2013 and all parties hope to complete the necessary regulatory approvals by October 2013.
The transfer also will come with a $22 million cash subsidy to help sustain the hospital through 2014, along with the real estate, supplies and equipment. It is expected that Sutter will use up to $6 million to subsidize operations through the October transfer.
San Leandro Hospital will require additional investments to remain viable once the Sutter subsidy expires.
Alameda Health Systems will still face fiscal challenges during a transition period of two to three years. The essential next step is to work with our friends at the Eden Township Health Care District to provide a sizable subsidy to sustain the hospital for 2014-15.
San Leandro Hospital was originally owned by the Eden Township Health Care District. In 2008, the district agreed to sell the hospital to Sutter. However, the parties ended up in protracted litigation regarding ownership. Sutter ultimately received title to the hospital in September 2012.
A subsidy of $20 million will be required by Eden to sustain San Leandro hospital during its transition to Alameda Health Systems. This will serve to keep this community asset, located in the geographic heart of the Eden Township Health Care District, alive.
Today, the Eden Township Healthcare District cannot provide primary, acute, or other forms of health care as required by its charge. It does not own a hospital or care provider. The best use of the district's assets is to keep the hospital viable.
Today, however, is a time of great thanks. We want to thank the residents and political leadership of San Leandro for their strong partnership. In addition, we thank Sutter and Alameda Health Systems for stepping up and making this dream a reality.
Let's be clear, this is the best outcome of what could have been a very bad situation.
Now local residents will maintain a continuity of care in their community and we will rebuild this community health asset -- together.
Wilma Chan is a member of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. She represents the Third District.