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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

 

Problems and Progress At Marin General
By Norman F. Carrigg, MD


   December 9th the Marin Healthcare District Board welcomed two directors elected for four year terms: Dr. Archimedes Ramirez and Sharon Jackson. The other three director terms end in two years. The Marin Healthcare District owns Marin General Hospital (MGH), leasing it to Sutter Healthcare.
   Dr. Ramirez, a strong patient advocate, garnered the most votes of five candidates in spite of a well-financed campaign by the Marin Medical Society PAC in support of Judy House and Jackson. House and Jackson clearly were Sutter Health candidates. Of the 56 doctors who publicly endorsed this duo, many have business arrangements with Sutter.
   Sutter Health of Sacramento, the current MGH lessee until 2015, offers to build a new hospital wing, finance it and asks in turn to have the lease extended beyond 2015. A lease extension would require hospital district voter approval.
   The Sutter offer is endorsed by directors Suzanna Coxhead and Jackson. However, the three MD directors, Lawrence Arnstein, Archimedes Ramirez and John Severinghaus believe that the Healthcare District should float revenue bonds to pay for any required new building. This was the mechanism used to add the east hospital wing and later the west wing.
   Patient revenue will pay for any MGH construction or seismic retrofit. What with multi-billion dollars of aggregate debt, Sutter could not play Santa Claus in Marin.
   MGH has inadequate compliance so far as Medicare is concerned and my lose Medicare reimbursement on January 7 if it is not in full compliance by then.
   Marin General is a hospital with multiple problems. Two hospital employees recently died from self-administered fentanyl injections while on duty. This raises the question of how well hospital narcotics are controlled. A usual source of indictable fentanyl is the anesthesiologist's cart.
   Every day there seems to be another problem in the understaffed hospital. One December day a ICU patient on a 5150 psychiatric hold walked out of MGH, tubes and all. Paramedics picked her up at a bus top and returned her to the ICU.

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