SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL | Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan is again raising the question of Sutter Health’s non-profit tax exemption, as San Leandro and the county struggle to keep San Leandro Hospital in operation.

Chan and Board of Equalization member Betty Yee will discuss the history and use of tax exemptions set aside for hospital providers like Sutter, which despite its non-profit status reported revenue of over $800 million last year. The forum is scheduled for Friday, June 22 at the San Leandro Senior Community Center, 13909 East 14th Street, at 3 p.m.

State law allows the exemptions with the understanding hospitals like San Leandro Hospital provide a public trust. Sutter says it donates millions to communities in its vast Northern California network of hospitals, but local officials like Chan and Sen. Ellen Corbett have long charged Sutter with neglecting the duties the tax breaks entail in San Leandro.

Since Chan’s return to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, she has waved the threat of revoking Sutter’s tax exempt status from time to time. In June 2011, Chan publicly urged Corbett to ask the Legislature to perform an audit of Sutter’s exemption. Corbett announced the request of the State Joint Legislative Audit Committee last August. The committee’s finding are due some time this late summer.

The likelihood of Sutter losing its tax exemption are slim, but most believe raising the issue allows the county added leverage when, in fact, it is able to negotiate the future of San Leandro Hospital. At this time, there are conflicting reports over whether Sutter has even officially communicated with the county or the Eden Township Healthcare District about their plans for the facility.

Last April, the California State Supreme Court denied the District’s petition to hear the long-standing court case with Sutter, thereby, ending the legal front after a four year fight by community members and the nurses union to keep San Leandro Hospital operating in its current configuration with emergency room services.