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Sutter Moves to Reduce Public Accountability, Slash Hospital Beds
Date:10/11/2007

Caregivers Denounce Threat to Not Rebuild Eden Medical Center

CASTRO VALLEY, Calif., Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Healthcare workers condemned the recently publicized proposal from the Sutter Corporation to abolish public oversight at Eden Medical Center and cut the hospital's number of beds. Sutter is seeking the removal of elected board members from the hospital's governance in exchange for rebuilding it to meet seismic safety standards.

This proposal goes against the spirit of Measure A, the 1997 ballot measure that authorized the Sutter Corporation's takeover of Eden Medical Center. Throughout the campaign for the measure, Sutter officials stated repeatedly that the public's role on the hospital governing board would be maintained.

"The promises that were made to this community should not be taken lightly," said Connie Taylor, who works in central processing at Eden Medical Center. "Sutter knew going in that this hospital would be overseen by the public. Now, they're holding our community hostage to gain total control of our hospital. That's just wrong."

The proposal is buried in an unfinalized "agreement" between Sutter and the Eden Township Healthcare District that also includes reducing the number of hospital beds at Eden Medical Center from 178 to 130. Another clause raises the likelihood that Sutter would shut down San Leandro Hospital in 2009, further limiting the community's access to healthcare by removing another 120 hospital beds.

Despite the size and potential impact of this proposal, news of its existence was first posted to the district's website on Wednesday, after months of secret, back-room meetings. The healthcare district also plans two public hearings for next Wednesday and Friday, giving the public barely one week's notice of this momentous and potentially risky proposal. Additionally, the Friday hearing is scheduled for 4 p.m., when few people can attend.

SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West, which re
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SOURCE SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West
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