SAN LEANDRO HOSPITAL | The letter of intent between Sutter Health and Alameda Health System (AHS) to keep San Leandro Hospital open expires July 1. However, if July 2 comes around without a deal in place, don’t worry; says Wright Lassiter, the head of AHS, it’s not the end of the world.

Lassiter told The Citizen this week talks between AHS and Sutter are doing well, but a deal may not be signed by the July 1 deadline oulined in the letter of intent. However, it is not cause for concern, he says.

“I can’t give you a prediction of July 1 or not, but what I can tell you is both parties are working really hard to get it done,” said Lassiter. “So, even if it’s not July 1, we’re working on getting that deal done.”

Last month, Sutter Health, which now owns San Leandro Hospital, offered to transfer title of the facility to AHS at no cost, along with a short-term $22 million subsidy. Under the plan, AHS would keep the hospital’s emergency room open and honor the existing labor agreements. The building’s vacant top floor would also be converted to an acute rehabilitation center.

Also on Wednesday, the Eden Township Healthcare District approved an additional one-time $20 million subsidy which should greatly clarify the situation at the negotiating table.

“We continue to make progress with Sutter on the letter of intent,” added Lassiter. “Our team is working really hard to get through all the details. There’s still a lot more work to be done.”

A Sutter spokesperson declined to speak on the progress of negotiations, but Lassiter assured both parties are “100 percent committed to make it work.”

“As long if we both agree sufficient progress is being made, then that will continue,” Lassiter continued.

Lassiter should be busy over the next few weeks as AHS makes a move in the East Bay to consolidate the area’s underperforming facilities amid the changing healthcare landscape in the dawn before Obamacare more fully comes online next January.

In addition, to the potential San Leandro deal, AHS has a somewhat similar offer to operate Alameda Hospital with a letter of intent that expires July 13. If all goes as planned, both facilities could be operating the umbrella of AHS by year’s end.