San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2011 – California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) has once again portrayed itself as the aggrieved victim of unfair demands from the Mayor and community groups over its proposed new mega-hospital at Van Ness and Geary, the latest volley in its public relations campaign and a slap in the face to the Mayor, community stakeholders, and residents of San Francisco.
CPMC’s counter-proposal to the City of San Francisco does not include a commitment to providing health care services to low-income people at a level consistent with other hospitals. It also does not offer any guarantees that jobs in proposed rebuilt facilities will remain with its current employees or even with San Franciscans.
Sutter Health, CPMC’s parent company, values the counter-proposal at $1.1 billion over 50 years, undercutting Mayor Lee’s already limited requests. What they fail to mention is that nearly 90% of what Mayor Lee has asked is to provide health care to people with Medi-Cal and charity care at a level consistent with other hospitals.
Its charity care, for example, would grow from its current 1.1% to 2.36%, the average percentage San Francisco non-profit hospitals give as charity care.
The new proposal also promises less than half of Mayor Lee’s requested commitment to build affordable housing, a land use requirement of any development being built in the Van Ness Area, and is meant to maintain the neighborhood’s residential character.
Sutter/CPMC also refuses to take a stance on jobs at the proposed Cathedral Hill hospital, and has not committed to allowing nurses, technicians, janitors, and other employees at downsized Sutter/CPMC campuses to keep their jobs when transferring to the new hospital. Keeping its experienced and hard-working nurses and other employees wouldn’t cost Sutter/CPMC a dime.
Sutter/CPMC’s vague proposal for a new “health center” in the Tenderloin is purely smoke and mirrors, given that they could easily support one of many existing Tenderloin-based clinics, already struggling to stay afloat.
CPMC's proposal contains virtually nothing more, and in many instances even less than the commitments it made through the Blue Ribbon Panel to Save St. Luke's. Push back from community groups stopped Sutter Health from closing inpatient care at St. Luke’s in 2005, the last private hospital south of Market Street to serve the City’s southeast sector. Community groups again hope their voices will be heard by stopping Sutter Health from cutting two-thirds of the beds from St. Luke’s. These drastic cuts would overburden an already strained SF General Hospital and endanger the residents of the Mission, Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Bayview/Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley and other neighborhoods that rely on St. Luke’s.
All of this is hard to swallow, considering the tens of millions of “non-profit” tax benefits, hundreds of millions of dollars in public financing, and over a hundred million dollars in revenue profits alone for Sutter/CPMC, which control over 40% of the City’s hospital beds and plays a major role in the rising costs of healthcare coverage in San Francisco.
As a non-profit, Sutter/CPMC has a responsibility to provide generous care, good jobs, and new infrastructure for its new development. Sutter/CPMC should work with community groups to find what works best for Sutter/CPMC employees, patients, neighbors, and ALL San Franciscans.