Legislation prodding Eden Health District to spend more on services passes Assembly committee

Assemblymember Rob Bonta’s AB 2737 is one
of two bills involving the Eden Health District.

The future of the Eden Health District is again being threatened. Legislation authored by Assemblymember Rob Bonta that intends to force the public agency to spend at least 80 percent of its operating budget on health care services passed an assembly committee Wednesday, 5-0. The bill was referred to the Appropriations Committee.

“This is, in my view, a good government bill,” Bonta told the Assembly Local Government Committee Wednesday afternoon. “Their spending is upside down with a supermajority being spent on administrative overhead.” Bonta’s legislation would require a 80-20 split between health care services spent on the community and administrative costs.

Bonta believes, at most, the district is spending six percent of its budget on health care services, and often times much less. “If you’re in health care you should be spending your resources on health care,” he added.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter has been
critical about the district’s administrative costs.

Bonta acknowledged the introduction of his bill earlier this year followed several discussions with the health care district over its spending and obligations to San Leandro Hospital. “Those conversations have not been fruitful,” Bonta told committee members. In the end, he said of the district’s value to the public, “It doesn’t seem that the community is getting the right end of that bargain.”

Public officials in Alameda County and San Leandro have voiced strong opposition over the past year to the Eden Health District’s insistence it is no longer liable for helping subsidize operations at San Leandro Hospital, which it once owned, but eventually lost to Sutter Health following a protracted and costly legal battle. Sutter eventually settled and transferred ownership of the facility to the quasi-county-run Alameda Health System.

With the loss of the community hospital, the Eden Heatlh District,, formerly named the Eden Township Healthcare District, no longer operates a hospital in the district that covers San Leandro, unincorporated Alameda County and Hayward. Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan and San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter have sharply criticized the health care district for not spending enough of its budget on health services and instead, they argue, on employee salaries and overhead.

Eden Health District officials say the long legal fight with Sutter Health and its own struggle to survive as a government entity has precluded them in the short term from offering health care-related grants to local community groups.

San Leandro Mayor Pauline Cutter also testified before the committee Wednesday. She implored the Eden Health District to continue paying a portion of the costs for running San Leandro Hospital, but unfortunately legislation is needed to force them to comply.

Roxanne Lewis, an elected member of the Eden Health District Board of Directors testified the district has already paid $50 million since the beginning of its lawsuit with Sutter Health to successfully keep San Leandro Hospital open. The bill, she said, also usurps local control when dealing with special districts. “What this bill is trying to do is destroy district resident’s rights,” said Lewis. “I feel like this is a money grab by local people to shore up some bad decisions in the past.”

“Sounds like you have a problem with your health care district,” Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton) told Bonta. Eggman chairs the Assembly Local Government Committee. Another bill, authored by Hayward Assemblymember Bill Quirk on the subject of the Eden Health District’s future is currently in the same committee.

However, Quirk’s Assembly Bill 2471 deals with the dissolution of the district through legislative means. Eggman said the two bills cannot be mended, but strongly urged Bonta to find common ground.

Categories: AB2737, Assembly committee, Assembly Local Government Committee, Bill Quirk, dissolution, Eden Health District, Eden Township, Rob Bonta, San Leandro Hospital, Susan Talamantes Eggman, Sutter Health

3 replies

  1. By MW:

    Let's talk about the “efficiency” of government.

    Some years ago I read about a married couple who were both among the very biggest stars in Hollywood, and as wealthy as could be, and who lived on a huge estate and with tons of servants.

    However, and although they wanted to have dinner much earlier, almost always dinner was not served before 7PM, since that huge organization they had on their estate, and which included tons of servants, did not accomplish very much besides providing services to itself.

    In other words their organization, and with its huge number of employees and servants, was similar to government, and in fact their basic organization was so extremely defective, that therefore if they had doubled the number of servants on their estate as part of an effort to have dinner earlier, most likely rather than dinner being usually served between 7PM and 8PM, instead with the enlarging and “improvements” in their organization, dinner probably would have been served between 10PM and midnight.

    In other words their organization, and with all of its employees and huge expenses, was just as “efficient” and “wonderful” as the typical government agency.


  2. By MW:

    In fact in my previous post in regard to the “efficiency” of certain organizations, make it at least one thousand time worse and extreme than the description I already gave, and then you would be describing Alameda County's Public Works Agency, an agency whose upper management seems totally determined to intentionally screw up virtually everything that agency touches.

    NOTE: Nate Miley “knows” that Public Works is “wonderful,” and in fact Miley “knows” that Public Works is so “extremely wonderful” and so totally full of people of the very highest honesty, integrity, and competence, that Miley has therefore taken the position that anything written up by Public Works we should not be allowed to question, challenge, or appeal, since Miley “knows” that if Public Works found or declared something then it must be “true.” However unfortunately Miley failed “educate” some of the residents of Alameda County in regard to how extremely honest, wonderful, and competent Public Works is, since at a public meeting I was recently at another government official got into a discussion, and which eventually turned into a debate and then still later into an insult session, with one of the very highest ranking managers of Public Works, and in which he repeatedly questioned the honesty and integrity of that high ranking Public Works manager and also repeatedly called that high ranking PWA manager a liar.

    It is too bad that Miley was not also at that public meeting, since then Miley could have “educated” the various people at that meeting who made insulting and disparaging remarks about PWA's honesty, integrity, and competence that he himself “knew” that Public works was so extremely wonderful, honest, and fantastic, that therefore we were horrible people for even daring to challenge any of Public Works virtually non-stop lies and garbage.


  3. This legislation will destroy the residents rights to vote on dissolution of the District. This is just a money grab to fatten Alameda Health Care's pockets. The Grand Jury's report of last year stated that AHS has made very poor financial decisions in the past, so why would anyone want to give them more money to waste. The District is more responsive to the needs of the community it serves. The money should be spent on the people that created the District and not given to the county to mismanage!


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