Blogging Bayport Alameda

June 19, 2013

You have your Health Systems

Inevitably when I go on vacation some BIG DEAL newsworthy thing always drops when I have limited access to a computer. While I was away that BIG DEAL was the affiliation Letter of Intent signed between the Alameda Hospital and Alameda Health Systems which would make Alameda Hospital part of a larger “network” of hospitals.  Yeah, I know you all discussed it a bit over on the Elliott Gorelick resignation post, but this post has a timeline screenshot (oooOooooohhh).

It would be a relationship similar to the one that San Leandro Hospital had with the Sutter Health network until a deal was recently brokered — after a series of unfortunate events that left San Leandro Hospital with a dangling ax over its neck — to have Alameda Health Systems take over San Leandro Hospital.   Apparently that deal though has hit a bit of a stumbling block — should be resolved some time today — over $20 million (on top of the $22 million Sutter Health has agreed to pony up to keep operations going during the transition period) that would be required of their governing board.

Anyway, back to Alameda Hospital, so what does this mean for Alameda Hospital.   Well, one of the reasons why Alameda Hospital was doing so poorly was because it just couldn’t get enough people into its doors.   According to a press release from Alameda Hospital this affiliation will help generate more revenue by bringing in more customers:

Alameda Hospital would benefit from more secure long-term financial sustainability generated by maximizing use of current surgical an acute bed capacity.

With the vote the other day by the Alameda Hospital Board there is a 90 day clock ticking to hash out all the details of how this all will work between Alameda Hospital and Alameda Health System.    This includes a series of community meetings so people can say they either really like it or really hate it.   The first meeting is scheduled on June 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Hospital.  Just an FYI, Alameda Health System right now covers, according to the press release:

Fairmont Hospital, Highland Hospital, John George Psychiatric Hospital, San Leandro Hospital (proposed October 2013), and community-based wellness centers in Eastmont, Hayward, Highland, and Newark.

Here’s the proposed timeline from the Alameda Hospital Board agenda packet:

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 4.42.40 AM

What is great about this affiliation is, well, the money that Alameda Health Systems is going to front to help with all the seismic issues at Alameda Hospital.  And, affiliation will make it much easier when Obamacare comes on-line January 2014 and the previously uninsured masses start needing somewhere to go to see a doctor or go to the ER without incurring a huge out-of-pocket bill.   KQED has a great explanation on Obamacare for Californians aka Covered California.

Also big ups to whoever sat on the negotiation team to hash out this whole affiliation deal, there’s one spot for appointment to the Alameda Health Systems board in this deal and it should belong to the person who can hold their own when discussing health care type issues.


  1. “Alameda Hospital would benefit from more secure long-term financial sustainability generated by maximizing use of current surgical an acute bed capacity.” We were involved with surgery at Sutter in Pill Hill and the wait in post op for a bed was pretty long because they didn’t have a bed, but the surgeon’s office was right across the street so I doubt that surgery would ever happen in Alameda. These issues seem complex. I’m curious if people are supposed to start surging in here, where are they currently being treated. And I’m not talking new about Affordable Health Care Act. On AHCA I hope it all goes well. I know the state helps some folks, but also expect a fair amount of young healthies to pay the fine. We carry our two sons who are under 26, but generally I’m not certain about droves of new people with health care who didn’t have it. I suppose those with preexisting conditions who have the money but are being denied will sign up and get care.

    Comment by M.I. — June 19, 2013 @ 6:52 am

  2. “I doubt surgery would ever happen in Alameda”??? Don’t think it’s ever stopped. Alameda Hospital isn’t paying its anesthesiologists to sit around & not pass gas.

    Comment by vigi — June 19, 2013 @ 9:08 am

  3. This merger with the county health care system is what we have been forced into, as a matter of financial necessity, after the “stakeholders” of Alameda, in their infinite wisdom, meeting in virtual seclusion on the Hornet years ago, turned down an opportunity to partner with the VA and build a brand new Community hospital on the VA land at Alameda Point. IMHO, Big Mistake. Huge.
    You forgot to mention that cancelling or curtailing the $298 parcel tax by the voters, will be seen as Alameda Hospital’s breach of this contract to merge.

    Comment by vigi — June 19, 2013 @ 12:06 pm

  4. Vigi, The tax is not going away with this affiliation and the VA excused itself from the negotiations with Alameda Hospital that you are referring to occurring on the Hornet. That was because 90% of the patients would have been Alamedans and we only could pay 10% of the building expense. The VA didn’t like those stats. Sad for us but good thinking on the part of those making decisions at the VA about spending our tax dollars for military expense.
    M.I. – the Sutter patients would not be coming for surgeries here, this affiliation is with what was the Alameda County system.

    I think this is a good way to keep a hospital on the island and the administrators at the AHS are really a good group of experienced healthcare executives. I trust them to oversee operations at our hospital. I am not sure this will mean many new patients because of the affiliation or the Affordable Care Act but it will be an asset to both the city and the county.

    Comment by Nancy Hird — June 19, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

  5. Vigi/ Nancy, it wasn’t confusion about Sutter being part of the this county affiliation, but the point was that at least in case of Pill Hill there is a concentration of medical practices and none of the doctors in that neighborhood would be jumping on another location. I’ll ask though, because our doctor could do procedures at Alta Bates near Ashby, but my assumption was his work is all in one location and he walks back and forth across the street. If there is some shortage of operating space among the hospitals already in the county system then great for Alameda Hospital. I hope we learn more details and sooner than later.

    Comment by M.I. — June 19, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

  6. I want to be very careful not to pass bad information or start a rumor mill, but I have ended up with some anecdotal information falling into my lap. I don’t want to be specific because of confidential relationships. An Alameda doctor doing an elective procedure told patient it could be done at Alameda or San Leandro and preferred San Leandro for a number of reasons, but included fact that it costs a lot more at Alameda hospital for same procedure. So much for doctors not wanting to travel, though San Leandro is not far. A lot of cost analysis of medical care in this country reported in the media in the last few months has highlighted huge discrepancies in procedures according to where they are done ( locally). I will follow up with specific and accurate numbers.

    Comment by M.I. — June 20, 2013 @ 8:12 am

  7. Ooh, Nancy, you are so wrong. I spent about an hour talking with the Medical Director of the Oakland VA clinic at the Public Hearing at the O’Club [I didn’t see you there]. He will be the Director of the Alameda Clinic when it is built. It is nowhere near as simple as you describe. Aggressive lobbying by environmentalists was a significant factor. It was going to be a Community Hospital, not limited to serving veterans at all. But since when is providing health care to veterans an undesirable “military expense”? Shame on you!
    Of course the tax is not going away. My point is that it is now cemented even more firmly & thus be harder to ever get rid of.
    Full disclosure= Nancy Hird is a hospital administrator.
    MI=Most doctors have hospital privileges at more than one hospital in a region. Not sure what you mean about not wanting to travel.

    Comment by vigi — June 20, 2013 @ 10:49 am

    • Vigi, I did not say spending money for healthcare for veterans is undesirable at all. I said it was a wise decision to not spend federal tax dollars to benefit one small community (even though it is ours) when only 10% of the patients would be veterans. My relatives in Ohio would not be happy if they heard their taxes were paying for a community hospital on the other side of the country. Wouldn’t you prefer to see these funds spent entirely on the men and women who served our country?

      Comment by Nancy Hird — June 20, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

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