District Prepares for Word of Hospital Closure


THE DISTRICT v. SUTTERThe Eden Township Healthcare District moved to fortify themselves in advance of Sutter Health’s impending move announcing the future closure of San Leandro Hospital by selecting a team of negotiators, while supporters continued to call for the resignation of Boardmember Dr. Rajendra Ratnesar.

“Let’s be reminded that tomorrow is Mar. 31,” Eden Township Healthcare District Chair Carole Rogers said. “Sutter, legally at this point in time, can file with the state to close the emergency room and if we have a negotiating panel in place, at least, it shows that we are willing to talk about stopping that action in lieu of an injunction, which we are prepared to do.” 
Last Friday, a memo to San Leandro Hospital employees from the CEO of Eden Medical Center “assured” no announcement about the future of the facility would be made this week.

The chosen negotiating team did not satisfy supporters of keeping San Leandro Hospital open, who objected to the inclusion of Ratnesar, whose name was picked out of a hat due to the beguiling “Rule of Necessity” used to ensure a quorum of boardmembers. Ratnesar was not present at Tuesday’s special meeting. Ratnesar has not yet responded to an inquiry about his absence late Tuesday night. (UPDATE: Wednesday morning Ratnesar told The Citizen, “I have no intention of resigning” and indicated last week he would not be attending Tuesday’s meeting because of prior work-related events.)

The District’s lawyers have concluded four of the five members of the board have some sort of conflict of interest within the situation. Only Dvorsky has been deemed free of any entangling circumstances. He, along with Ratnesar and Sawhney will conduct negotiating with Sutter, if and when they should occur, but many found fault with one of the targets of the District’s lawsuit Sutter participating on the panel.

“If he was here, he should recuse himself, at the minimum,” said San Leandro Hospital Nurse Carol Barazi. Despite the awkwardness of allowing member once deemed to have conflicts to be allowed to be reinstated by the drawing of lots, the District’s Counsel Gerry Hinkley “I know it seems irrational, but all have debilitating conflicts of interest.” He also added the “Rule of Necessity” is recognized by California law.

California Nurses Association Representative Mike Brannan, though, told the board Ratnesar’s situation deserved some distinction among the other alleged conflicts of interest. “It really seems like Dr. Ratnesar should be held to some higher standard because he is as, Carol [Barazi] mentioned, part of the lawsuit, part of the reason why there is a lawsuit.” Brannan also presented the board with a petition calling for the Ratnesar’s resignation.

The District’s lawsuit against Sutter, filed Mar. 10, asserts, among other things, Ratnesar, former boardmember Dr. Francisco Rico and current Eden Medical Center CEO George Bischalaney gained financial benefits from Sutter at the time of the 2007 agreement giving San Leandro Hospital two years to become solvent.

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3 thoughts on “District Prepares for Word of Hospital Closure

  1. This is a tale of two pizza parlors.
    One was located downtown, the other uptown, and both were owned by Mr. Sutter. He took ownership of the enstablishments form certain Mr. E.T., and promised the old man to run them for the next 20 years because that was Mr. E.T.'s wish.
    Except, there was a little problem. The law of the land was such that when a customer walked into any pizza parlor and claimed to be hungry and without any means to pay for the pizza, the customer had the right to be fed. For free.
    Well, as luck would have it, the uptown store was doing really well. Uptown customers were mostly well-off, and almost all of them paid for their oven-baked juicy slices. Not so in the downtown store. A good half of the customes there were poor, and Mr. Sutter grumbled a lot watching them gorge on his good pizza for nothin'. And since Mr. Sutter considered himself a savvy businessman he decided in no less than two years' time to put kibosh to having this good-for-nothing lumpenproletariat sucking up his profits.
    Well, complications ensued. The people risen up and the first whiff of the news Mr. Sutter was about to put an end to the free-for-all arraingment Mr. E.T. so gracefully set up for them and kept up for many, many, many years. And they were not going to take it sitting down. They soon stirred up all kinds of doo-doo about Mr. Sutter and his not-so-charitable ways, drawing attention of the local and state government. And if that wasn't enough, one sunny day Mr. Prime from out of town heard the news and showed up at his door.
    “I'll buy the store from you,” said he. “I don't mind all those non-paying customers.”
    Mr. Sutter would have none of it. “So long as I live,” he stated ominously, “there will be no competing pizza parlor in this town!” He then turned to Mrs. Sutter, “You hear me, wife? Not a single one! And that's final. I'll just close that stupid downtown store and that's it.”
    Mrs. Sutter begged to disagree: “Mr. Sutter, listen. Sell it to Mr. Prime. Look, you can't really close that store. It's too much hassle. But most importantly, if you do close it all those hungry non-payers will simply drive 8 miles uptown and crowd our beautiful uptown store anyway. No difference. Get it?” She was actually quite upset with her obstinate husband.
    “They will?” quite perplexed Mr. Sutter asked.
    “No, duh,” replied Mrs. Sutter, “Let Mr. Prime lose his shirt in that downtown dump,” Mrs. Sutter continued with her thought.
    “You know, Mrs. Sutter, that's actually not such a bad idea. I mean, I thought of donating that stupid storefront to the city so they could open an ice cream parlor there, but then…”
    “You still end up with all the hungry non-payers going uptown to eat our good juicy oven-baked pizza.”
    “For free,” added Mr. Sutter. There seemed to be a quiver of brilliant white light shining in the far corner of that dark brain of his.
    Well, folks this story has no ending yet. Mr. Sutter is still in the process of laboriously sorting through his existential dilemma because he actually reeeally hates Mr. Prime. Too many what-ifs, you know. What if his math is wrong and Mr. Prime will cut into his business with better pizza. Imagine that! Or something else! Like, I don't know what. Something!
    So that's where we leave him. Sitting on the fence, counting his money and his days before something shakes loose. He has no idea what. Something.


  2. From the article it is not clear that Directors Dvorsky and Ratnesar were excused due to prior commitments. These two directors said that they were not available prior to the meeeting being called. The other three directors said they were avaialable, thus making a quorum possible. Dr. Sawhney's being involved in a medical emergency caused the meeting not to occur (due to a lack of quorum).


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