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Sutter Admits: Closing St. Luke's Likely to Reduce Charity Care

Sutter Spokesperson Admits Less Charity Care Required in Favored Neighborhoods - New Information Strengthens Community's Demand to Save St.


OAKLAND, Calif., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Sutter Health told the San Francisco Chronicle in a January 27 article the reason their North of Market CPMC campuses offer dramatically less charity care than St. Luke's Hospital, the South of Market facility they are trying to close:

Kevin McCormack, [Sutter] spokesman, countered that the hospital's three

campuses are located in wealthy neighborhoods where poor and uninsured

people aren't likely to seek treatment.

"Those neighborhoods are not ones where you have a large low-income

community," McCormack said. "We still have the responsibility, but ...

it's not asked of us as much."

"Sutter basically admits the point that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and the community are making: their attempt to close St. Luke's is a clear example of 'medical redlining,' or the dumping of a supposedly un-desirable patient population," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, Director of the Sutter Division of the California Nurses Association. "Members of the California Nurses Association, and doctors and patients, are joining together to save this landmark institution from closure."

A new report by the San Francisco Department of Public Health details that the CPMC facilities North of Market earned $67 million in tax breaks in 2007 due to their non-profit status, but performed only $5.2 million in charity care. Even with Sutter's accounting, the facilities earned far more in tax breaks than was spent on charity care. The result is greater pressure on San Francisco General Hospital and the city's clinics-and a general weakening of the city's public health safety net. By contrast, St. Luke's earned $630,000 in tax breaks because of its non-profit status, and gave $2.5 million in charity care.

SOURCE California Nurses Association
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