The Coastal Post - May, 1998

Who's Responsible For Marin General Hospital?

By Norman Carrigg, M.D.

Sutter/MGH spreads its advertising collars strategically around Marin County. However, no money ever gets as far as Bolinas to the Coastal Post.

The most recent Sutter/MGH ad has photographs of the hospital corporation's 14 board members. The ad tells you "Marin General is affiliated with not-for-profit Sutter Health," the Sacramento-based hospital chain. The ad has even more information for the gullible: " Hospital Board members, we can tell you firsthand: when it comes to deciding about Marin General's patient care and operations, it is our vote that counts."

What the ad does not tell is that there is an annual $2 million "affiliation fee" for the privilege of being one of the cash cows in the Sutter herd. Any time there is more money in the Sutter/MGH till than needed for 14 days of operation, the excess can be siphoned to Sacramento. Sutter decides, not the 14 board members.

What happens to monies siphoned to Sutter Health? Legally monies can be invested in for-profit businesses. It happens! Ethically, I have problems with this, but Sutter doesn't.

The ad asked, "Who's Responsible for Marin General Hospital?" Answer: Sutter Health!

Who should run MGH? The five elected board members of the Marin Healthcare District. The elected board is currently suing in Sacramento where Sutter Health is located to break a lease and get MGH back to community control. There is no need for a never-ending, one-way cash flow from MGH to Sutter Health.

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