County reinforces support for Seton Medical Center
By: David J. Canepa San Mateo County District 5 Supervisor, firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-363-4572
With bankruptcy proceedings looming over Seton Medical Center, my office has been extremely focused on keeping the hospital open as mandated by California law. We’ve engaged state lawmakers, hospital operators and foundations in our quest to ensure Seton’s patients continue to receive high-quality health care.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution I co-sponsored with Supervisor Don Horsley at its September 25 meeting that supports the state Attorney General Office’s mandate that Seton Medical Center in Daly City continue to operate as a full-service acute care hospital with emergency services. The board’s action follows the Daly City Council’s approval of a resolution the previous night that the 32-acre site Seton sits on continues to be zoned for hospital use. These two actions show both the county’s and Daly City’s commitment to providing high-quality health care to residents in north San Mateo County.
Seton’s owner, Verity Health, filed for bankruptcy August 31, which includes five other hospitals in the state formerly owned by the Daughters of Charity. I have talked to state Attorney General Xavier Becerra directly about upholding California law related to hospital sales. His office approved certain conditions related to the change of control and governance of the Daughters of Charity health system to a hedge fund called BlueMountain Capital in 2015. The conditions included that Seton remain a full-service acute care hospital with emergency services for at least 10 years from the point of the transaction.
I expect the state Attorney General’s Office to appeal any decision made in federal bankruptcy court that challenges state law. We’ve also gotten support from state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon who has also urged Attorney General Becerra to maintain the conditions of approval. He sent a letter to Becerra September 7 that was signed by lawmakers in the Bay Area and Southern California where the health system’s hospitals are located.
My office has also engaged numerous private and nonprofit health systems and foundations in an effort to keep Seton Medical Center open. We have contacted Dignity Health, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sutter Health, Adventist Health, Salesforce Foundation, Hospital Corp. of America (HCA), Community Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente, Lifepoint Health, Tenet Healthcare, Prime Healthcare Services, Universal Health Services, Steward Health Care System, Catholic Health Initiatives, Providence Health and Services, Banner Health, UCSF Health, Stanford Health Care and North East Medical Services. I’m encouraged by some of the early conversations I’ve had with some of these operators and am optimistic a creative and collaborative solution can be found to save Seton.
I’ve even reached out directly to Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong expressing my disappointment for his role in bringing the system into bankruptcy. The billionaire doctor invested heavily in Verity’s operator, Integrity Healthcare, last year and promised to revitalize the system. Instead, he has put the health care needs of tens of thousands of California residents in jeopardy.
What’s important is that we make sure the patients who access care now at Seton continue to be provided health care services at the hospital as mandated by the state Attorney General’s Office. San Mateo County does have a contingency plan in place in case Seton suddenly closes, however, our fight continues to be that Seton remain open as mandated by state law.
David J. Canepa serves District 5 on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors