Downsizing Sutter is not an appropriate use of tax funds
As a former hospital administrator in the Good Samaritan system and a former hospital vice president at Marian Medical Center, I have been following this community’s conflict with Sutter Health with great interest. As a retiree to this community, I also have great interest in the future of the hospital, including whether or not Sutter is able to implement their plan to downsize the hospital in order to qualify for higher Medicare payments under the federally funded Critical Access program.
It seems that downsizing the hospital to fit a program that was funded to increase access to care is an inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars. Even Sutter agrees more people will need emergency transfers out of our community if the hospital downsizes. The only argument is how many additional transfers will be needed.
On July 18, an important event regarding the hospital took place in our county courthouse. Lawyers for Sutter Health argued a motion for the court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the widow of the man who donated the land to Sutter Coast Hospital. Attorneys for the two sides argued their case. I sat in the courtroom and heard the judge’s ruling — against Sutter in every respect. So the lawsuit will continue and hopefully will stop Sutter from downsizing and taking ownership of the only hospital in our county. If you would like to increase, not decrease, hospital services in our county, please consider joining our city and county leaders, including our Healthcare District Board, in their efforts to stop Sutter’s plans for our community.
Proposed hospital changes could leave patients ‘DOA’
It seems the Sutter Coast Hospital issue still looms like a dark cloud overhead. Will it be removed to let through the sun? What might be just a matter of choice for a person in a metropolitan area could be a life-threatening matter for us. If reduced to a Critical Access facility, while we are waiting to be airlifted out, we could be dead on arrival.
Recently, I know of a local resident who was transferred to a Sutter Health Care Hospital in San Francisco; two family members, who also traveled to be with the patient, incurred a huge debt due to lodging and meals. Coupled with the costs of the patient, the family is overwhelmed with debt. Is this what awaits us if the hospital is reduced to Critical Access?
In following the Board of Supervisors on this matter, there are some issues that seem to bother me about what is said, and what is not, by different members. Did Supervisor McClure sign a non-disclosure agreement with Sutter Health? I’m concerned.