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October 9, 2012 > Letter to the Editor: Keeping St. Rose Hospital open, a collaborative process

Letter to the Editor: Keeping St. Rose Hospital open, a collaborative process

When the Sisters of Saint Joseph came from Wichita, Kansas to open St. Rose Hospital over five decades ago, their mission was simple - to provide health care to anyone in need who came through their doors. When the Sisters transferred management of the hospital to the St. Rose Board of Directors, it was done with the understanding that this mission would continue.

Today, St. Rose serves approximately 650,000 residents in the cities of Hayward, Union City, Fremont, Newark, and San Leandro, as well as unincorporated San Lorenzo and Castro Valley. It provides nearly 35,000 emergency department visits annually and is a critical safety net hospital for central and south Alameda County residents.

Operating a safety net hospital with a philosophy that health care is a right and not a privilege, serving high percentages of under and uninsured patients, and the current economic climate has presented ongoing challenges for St. Rose's long term stability.

These challenges must be addressed in a collaborative process that keeps patient care at the forefront, develops a long term solution to provide appropriate hospital coverage, reform healthcare delivery, and identify resources to maintain vital services. To that end recently my office held a panel discussion on these issues with many from the community, the County, and local hospitals.

The St. Rose Hospital Board has chosen to begin negotiations with Alecto Healthcare Services to run the Hospital. Alecto is headed by Lex Reddy who left Prime Health to begin his own company. It is not my intent or anyone on the Board of Supervisors to support Prime Health coming into Alameda County. Alecto is not Prime Health. It is a new company that should be allowed an opportunity to show the community that it is firmly committed to the principles on which St. Rose Hospital was founded.

To ensure that the community is well served by this change the State Attorney General will need to review the transition and can instill covenants, or conditions which Alecto must follow. Just like 50 years ago when the Sisters of Saint Joseph transferred management I will continue to ensure that their mission continues forward and is embodied in strong covenants that protect the services at St. Rose as well as the workforce.

Although I am not a member of the St. Rose Board I am committed to working with them to ensure the Hospital remains open. I cannot imagine the fifth largest city in the Bay Area without its own emergency room. The stakes are high but as your representative I am committed to ensuring that my constituents' well being is being guarded and protected.

Richard Valle is an Alameda County Supervisor, representing the Second District which includes the communities of Hayward, Union City, Newark and portions of Fremont and Sunol.

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