Q&A with ACMC CEO Wright Lassiter III

The Citizen caught up with the Alameda County Medical Center CEO Wright Lassiter III Tuesday at Holy Names University in Oakland minutes before he addressed its annual meeting. Last year, Sutter Health, agreed to lease San Leandro Hospital to ACMC. The move would have fulfilled the county’s plan to move rehabilitation services from the seismically-deficient Fairmont Hospital to San Leandro Hospital. The plan is central to the community’s disapproval of closing the hospital’s emergency room facilities and the pivot point leading to the current legal dispute between Sutter and the Eden Township Healthcare District over the ownership of San Leandro Hospital. 

Q: What are the plans between the Alameda County Medical Center and San Leandro Hospital right now?
A: Our plan has always been to attempt to manage the community’s concern around emergency care with some kind of urgent access facility as well as meet  our needs for acute rehab services.

Could a hybrid plan of multiple hospital services at San Leandro Hospital work? Could ACMC be involved with that?
Well, the hyrbid concept only works if there is funding. [Pauses to greet Alameda County Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker.] The hybrid concept only works if there is significant subsidy. That concept loses lots of money.

Would ACMC be interested into putting money into a pot for a hybrid hospital with the District, Sutter, the City of San Leandro, ACMC or another entity?
I really can’t address that. Our board has not authorized that and as you know, we’re the public hospital and we take care of a lot of people who don’t have insurance, so we don’t have lots of subsidies to provide. I really need to go.

Do you have thoughts on the legal fight between Sutter Health and the District?

No. We’re staying completely out of the whole legal debate because that’s between Sutter and the hospital district.

Does that slow things down for you?
It does. Oh, it does, because we’re not a party until they resolve what direction they will be taking, so we’re a bystander until that happens.

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