Learn More: Defend Health Care Justice in Sonoma County!
Sutter Health operates two hospitals in Sonoma County, playing a central role in providing critical health care needs in the region. In January 2007, Sutter Health announced that it planned to sell the Warrack campus of Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa to the St. Joseph Health System, owners of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, and to close the Chanate campus by early 2008.
Sutter Health leased the Chanate facility from the County in 1996, and currently has a contract with the County to provide care for the uninsured, as well as medical services for jail inmates and the family practice residency program. The closure is now on hold, but it is far from clear that current needs will continue to be met. Local activists are demanding that the County convene a Community Healthcare Oversight Committee including caregivers, health care advocates, community clinics, and County residents.
Health care activists warn that hospital consolidation leads to higher prices while rarely improving the quality of patient care. St. Joseph’s share of non-Kaiser acute-care beds in Sonoma County could grow from 53 percent to over 75 percent, and St. Joseph would become the only major non-Kaiser acute-care hospital in the area.
“Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa is a critical part of the safety net in Sonoma County,” said John Borsos, Administrative Vice President of SEIU – United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). “We must ensure that residents continue to have access to the full scope of health care services currently available and that the job security of dedicated caregivers of Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa is protected.”
Sutter Health, based in Sacramento, operates 27 hospitals across Northern California and reported nearly half a billion dollars in profit in 2005. Orange County based St. Joseph Health reported over $215 million in profit in 2006.
SEIU-UHW West represents over 500 workers at Sutter Medical Center Santa Rosa including licensed vocational nurses, nursing assistants, technical workers and environmental service aides. In addition, the majority of caregivers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Petaluma Valley Hospital are organizing a union with SEIU-UHW.
Take action now to demand that Sutter Medical Center remain open until its services are fully replaced, and that the services provided by Sutter under the county’s Healthcare Access Agreement are maintained and enhanced.
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