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
Monday, October 26, 2015
Headline Article Debunks Sutter's Prior "Gloom and Doom" Forecast
October 18, 2015
In This Issue
Headline Article Debunks Sutter's Prior "Gloom and Doom" Forecast
those who missed the 10/1/15 headline article in The Del Norte
Triplicate, and were unable to attend yesterday's Town Hall meeting,
here is "the rest of the story" on Sutter's financial claims . . . .
In late 2013, Sutter executives told us that downsizing Sutter Coast
Hospital to Critical Access status was necessary to stem Sutter Coast's
financial losses. Former hospital CEO Linda Horn publicly announced the
hospital had not had a positive operating margin since 2008. (Ms. Horn's
statement is contradicted by Sutter's own data, which shows operating
income of $7 million for years 2009 plus 2010.)
Camden Group (a consulting firm paid by Sutter) and Linda Horn both
projected heavy losses at Sutter Coast through 2018. Those dire
predictions were used to justify removing half of the hospital's beds
from service, which hospital officials conceded would necessitate an
increase in mandatory patient transfers (due to the 25 acute care bed
cap imposed by Critical Access). But in the face of the projected
losses, Critical Access would allow Sutter Coast to triple its payments
from Medicare. (source: Linda Horn, NewsPlus," 1/17/14.) Thus, the
downsizing was portrayed as a necessary trade off in the face of
predictions of steep losses ahead.
Fast forward to 2014: The Del Norte Triplicate's
headline article 10/1/15 reported Sutter Coast Hospital's profits were
$10.8 million in 2014, and according to Sutter Coast CEO Mitch Hanna,
expected to be roughly $11.9 million in 2015 (without Critical Access). (source: http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/108M-profit-in-2014)
gloomy 2013 forecasts turned into huge profits the next year. These
profits are not surprising--Sutter Health is nationally renowned for its
high prices and profiteering--see the following New York Times article,
which discusses Sutter Health:
Critical Access news for 2015:
The Sutter Coast Board of Directors, noting an influx of patients
seeking treatment, voted to hold off converting Sutter Coast to Critical
Access, but hospital officials "declined to share the census numbers
for 2015 that prompted reconsideration of the Critical Access
application." (source: http://www.triplicate.com/News/Local-News/Critical-Access-app-on-hold)
Hospital CEO Mitch Hanna later confirmed Sutter Coast's Critical Access application has not been withdrawn,
so the hospital Board keeps open the option of Critical Access at
Sutter Coast, behind the veil of secrecy of Sutter Coast's closed Board
Why Is This Important to You? Because
if Sutter Coast downsizes to Critical Access, there will be 50% fewer
available beds, more mandatory emergency patient transfers, plus, higher
out of pocket costs and higher secondary insurance premiums for
Medicare patients. (sources: Office of Inspector General Report Oct., 2014, and Kaiser Health News, 10/7/14)
How you can help address Sutter's high prices, conflicting statements, and closed Board rooms:
1. Write The Del Norte Triplicate, letters to the editor, 312 H. St., Crescent City, CA 95531, or by email at email@example.com Be sure to include your phone number, which is not published.
2. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information, or if you have any information on hospital charges or patient transfers.
Join the 4,000 others who have signed the petition at my office,
opposing Sutter's plans to move ownership of Sutter Coast Hospital out
of our county.
(reprinted with permission from The Del Norte Triplicate and Curtis Boewer)
In follow up to the excellent headline article regarding Sutter
Coast Hospital's multimillion dollar profits, published Oct. 1 in the
Del Norte Triplicate, please consider the following:
it benefited Sutter Coast to show losses (as the hospital board
attempted to convince our community that hospital downsizing was needed
for financial reasons), Sutter Coast showed losses. When it benefitted
Sutter Coast to show profits (as the healthcare district considers
purchasing Sutter Coast through an eminent domain action), Sutter Coast
shows profits. It seems Sutter can make its books show whatever Sutter
Do the hospital employee salary reductions Mr.
Hanna oversaw apply to him? IRS filings show his 2013 compensation was
$645,399, plus other income described as "deferred in prior form 990."
Was Mr. Hanna's salary reduced in 2014? Hopefully, he will fulfill his
promise made earlier this year to return to a town hall meeting and
discuss hospital finances.
Hanna repeats the claims of the last two CEOs - the number of patients
using Sutter Coast is declining. Let's think about reasons why fewer
people would be going to Sutter Hospital. Could it be the hospital's
reputation, its high charges for care or the fact that in the past two
years a Sutter surgeon general, a Sutter orthopedic surgeon and a Sutter
family practice doctor have left our area to work elsewhere? Dr. Duncan
and Dr. Davis offer surgery at Mad River Hospital, where charges to
patients are much lower. It seems Sutter administrators are responsible
for the fact fewer patients are choosing to receive care locally.
community should know that the profits taken in by Sutter Coast are
transferred every two weeks to Sutter Health in Sacramento, where Sutter
executives decide where to spend the money. This may explain why Sutter
Health CEO Pat Fry saw his own salary increase from $2.4 million in
2007 to $6.4 million in 2012. I prefer those profits stay locally - for
more staff and better wages for the hard working employees at Sutter
Finally, I ask two questions:
Is Sutter Health trustworthy?
Which is a higher priority for Sutter Health executives - our health care or their salaries?
a former hospital administrator, I support the Del Norte Healthcare
District's effort to expand and improve local health care.
Boewer of Crescent City, is a consultant, former administrator of Good
Samaritan Foundation, vice president of Good Samaritan Hospital, both in
San Jose, and a former administrator of Marion Medical Center in Santa