Sutter Health is classified as a tax exempt charity, yet operates outside of public view as if it were a "for profit" corporation. Sutter is nationally recognized for its profiteering, huge increases in executive pay, and charges for care that are up to 60% over market averages. If you are tired of overpriced health care, skyrocketing health insurance premiums, and increasing out of pocket costs, please join our effort by contacting Dr. Greg Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org
Guest Editorial by former Sutter hospital employee
September 24, 2014
Latest news on Sutter Health's closed door decisions
Introduction by Dr. Greg Duncan:
editorial is written by Marcy Bohannon, former Sutter Coast Hospital
Medical Staff coordinator. Marcy discusses her experience with having
her husband transferred to another hospital by air ambulance--an event
which will become more common if Sutter Coast Hospital enacts the
decision by its Board of Directors to downsize to a Critical Access
We are facing two very different futures for healthcare in our region.
The Sutter future:
Downsize the hospital, outsource jobs, disband the local hospital
Board, and transfer hospital ownership to a Sutter corporation 350 miles
away, where Sutter executives make all future decisions on our hospital
Our model: Expand health services, add doctors, retain local jobs, and continue local hospital ownership and governance.
If you support our
model, please stop by my office on 1200 Marshall St. to pick up more
information and add your name to the thousands of residents who oppose
Sutter's plans for our community. We also need volunteers to help
distribute petitions, and we want to hear your experiences and ideas
about healthcare. Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.
Three years ago,
Sutter Health began their plan to transfer ownership of Sutter Coast
Hospital to Sutter's multi-hospital corporation in San Francisco.
Thanks to your efforts to oppose Sutter, Sutter Coast still remains a
locally owned hospital, and has not yet downsized to Critical Access
Sutter Health is now
the focus of a national crisis--healthcare costs. Locally we see the
impact in our hospital bills. Less well known are Sutter's other
decisions, made in the secrecy of the closed hospital Board room, where
Sutter Health executives bring their plans to our community. But thanks
to you, the word is getting out--our newsletter is read by more than
50,000 citizens statewide, from all backgrounds and political
Guest Editorial by Marcy Bohannon, Crescent City, CA
Critical Access Hospital: Benefit to Sutter Health and Impact on Us
As a retired employee of
Sutter Coast Hospital (SCH), I would like to share my thoughts on the
SCH Board of Director's decision to downsize SCH to a "Critical Access"
My husband and I know from
personal experience the burdens, both financial and personal, that a
family suffers when a loved one has to be transferred to a hospital in
another city to receive their care. Not only are there ground and air
ambulance fees, but no insurance pays for a family to travel to the
hospital of transfer, nor do they cover the cost of lodging for the
patient's family or the cost of the return trip home.
Our local SCH Board decided
to downsize our local hospital from 49 beds to 25 beds to qualify for
higher Medicare payments. It is not possible to know exactly how many
patients will need to be flown out for the lack of beds or lack of
hospital staff, but here is something that both Sutter Health and our
community agree on:
If Sutter downsizes
the hospital, more of our local residents and visitors will require an
emergency air flight to another hospital. In other words, both sides
agree it will be ugly; the only question is, how ugly?
Besides the huge cost,
transferring people to other hospitals is harmful because it often means
family and friends cannot be with their loved ones when they are
hospitalized. Separating patients from their family and friends is
harmful to the healing process. Keeping family and friends together is
very comforting for the patient, family, and the hospital staff, and
helps ensure the patient receives his or her usual medications.
Here is a final
point of agreement between our community and Sutter: Critical Access
will bring more money to Sutter Health. But the money does not stay in
the community. Every two weeks, Sutter Health removes all of
the "excess cash" from the hospital and transfers it to the "Sutter
Health Treasury," where the money becomes the property of Sutter
Health. No wonder Sutter Health wants to downsize us to Critical
Access. But what does that say about priorities?
Sutter Health is a tax
exempt charity. On paper, they are required to act in the public
interest. But in reality, Sutter's high charges for care and
skyrocketing executive salaries are benefitting Sutter executives, not
the public. We can stop Sutter's plans for us, and bring their actions
to light. But only if we speak up, and work together. Please share
your thoughts with Dr. Duncan.
Today's newsletter regarding the
future of healthcare on California's north coast is provided by the
California Medical Association (CMA) and the Humboldt-Del Norte
County Medical Society, with an introduction by Mark H. Davis, a
urologist in Crescent City.
The CMA joins
local city and county opposition to Sutter Health's plans to downsize
and transfer ownership of locally owned Sutter Coast Hospital to
Sutter's Regional Corporation in San Francisco. Transfer of
community owned hospitals to Sutter's Regional corporations is a
statewide effort known as "Regionalization"--a fundamental
shift from community based hospitals to regionally owned hospital
groups. Future newsletters will show the link between
Regionalization and an increase in Sutter executive salaries and your
As Chairman of the Del Norte District of the
Humboldt-Del Norte Medical Society, past Trustee of the California
Medical Association, and the local urologist in Crescent City for the
past 21 years, it is my responsibility to share with you the Medical
Society/CMA policy statement on Sutter Health's activities in our
This statement discusses decisions by Sutter Health and
the Board of Sutter Coast Hospital ("SCH") to convert SCH
to a Critical Access facility, to transfer ownership of SCH out of our
community and into a Sutter controlled corporation in San Francisco,
and to end local authority over hospital governance, including
patient care policies and physician credentialing.
Please contact me with any comments or ideas on how we
can expand and improve access to affordable healthcare.
Mark H. Davis, M.D.
Diplomate, American Board of Urology
Public Statement by the California
Medical Association and Humboldt-Del Norte Medical Society
HUMBOLDT-DEL NORTE COUNTY MEDICAL SOCIETY
P.O. BOX 6457
EUREKA, CALIFORNIA 95502-6457
(707) 442-2367 * FAX (707) 442-8134
E-mail: hancms@sbcglobalmet * www.hdacms.org
May 21, 2014
To Whom It May Concern:
Since its founding in 1886, the Humboldt-Del Norte
County Medical Society has been a voice for physicians and their
patients in the rural communities of northwest California. The
medical society is aware of on-going controversial efforts by
Sutter Health Corporation to restructure the governance of Sutter
Coast Hospital and to convert it to a critical access hospital.
Serious concerns have been raised should Sutter Health follow
through with its plans.
The board of Sutter Coast Hospital has voted to accept a
"regionalization" plan imposed by Sutter Health
through which the hospital would fully merge into the Sutter Health
West Bay Region. The local hospital board would cede all
governing authority over Sutter Coast to a regional board that
sits roughly 350 miles away in San Francisco and oversees approximately
14 other health care facilities, all in the Bay Area.
Physicians, civic leaders and local citizens have expressed
opposition to "regionalization" and feel the local hospital
board made its decision without adequate input from Sutter
Coast's medical staff and community stakeholders. It is also
believed that the local hospital board and other
proponents of regionalization do not fully understand or
appreciate the consequences of giving up responsibility to oversee
the hospital and the importance of local control over governance
issues that affect the medical staff, such as oversight
authority on peer review, privileging and medical staff bylaws.
Independent review of the regionalization plan has also
raised red flags. An attorney retained by the medical staff at
Sutter Coast determined that regionalization would improperly usurp
the rights and duties of the medical staff and interfere with
its right of self-governance. Similarly, an attorney with the
California Medical Association expressed the opinion that the plan
to regionalize Sutter Coast Hospital has serious potential to
upset the proper balance between the medical staff and the
hospital governing board.
Strong local opposition forced Sutter Health to put its
restructuring plans on hold, but the hospital corporation
continues to push for final implementation of its regionalization
Sutter Health's efforts to restructure Sutter Coast also
has triggered a lawsuit by Beverly Hussey, whose late husband
donated the land on which the hospital sits to the county in 1988,
for use as an acute care hospital. Mrs. Hussey's lawsuit claims
that Sutter Health's desire to convert Sutter Coast to a
critical access hospital violates the conditions of her husband's
gift and would have a negative impact on the availability and
accessibility of medical care at the hospital.
The county medical society, along with the California
Medical Association backed by California law, strongly believes
that governance over Sutter Coast must prioritize local medical staff
self-governance and ensure adequate access to the highest possible
level of medical care. The citizens of Del Norte County deserve
nothing less. Sutter Health therefore must respect and fully address
the serious concerns that have been raised by local physicians
and citizens, who are legitimately questioning the wisdom and
legality of Sutter Health's efforts to regionalize Sutter Coast
and turn it into a critical access hospital.
John Mastroni, M.D.
John Nelson, M.D.
Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society
We appreciate the support of more than 3,000 local
residents who have signed a petition opposing Sutter's plans for our
region. If you would like to add your name, receive future
newsletters, or learn more, please stop by my office at 1200 Marshall
St., Crescent City, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your comments on how to improve and expand our region's
healthcare are also appreciated.