Alameda County Awards $4.5 Million to Two Hospitals
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday announced that Children's Hospital Oakland and St. Rose Hospital in Hayward will receive $4.5 million in county sales tax revenue from Measure A, "leaving other private hospitals in the county out of the mix" this year, the Contra Costa Times reports (Ashley, Contra Costa Times, 3/2). Measure A, which voters approved in March 2004, will increase the county sales tax to 8.75%, the highest sales tax rate in the state.
Three-fourths of the revenue from the increase will go to Alameda County Medical Center, which operates three public hospitals in Oakland and San Leandro and community clinics in Oakland, Hayward and Newark. The remaining 25% of the revenue will go to private health care providers that serve Medi-Cal beneficiaries and indigent patients (California Healthline, 11/23/04). The measure is expected to generate about $90 million to $100 million in revenue over 15 years.
County Health Services Director David Kears said the county chose Children's and St. Rose because an increase in uninsured patients had affected both facilities' finances and both had received state designations allowing them to earn matching funds for local tax funds received for patient care.
The funding going to Children's and St. Rose represents the total amount of Measure A allocated for noncounty hospitals.
County Supervisor Scott Haggerty said he is optimistic that other facilities, including ValleyCare Medical Center and Eden Hospital Medical Center, could receive money in future years. "Eventually, I believe there will be money that rolls around to the other hospitals," Haggerty said.
Cassandra Phelps, an Eden spokesperson, said, "The first priority should be with the safety net hospitals, and we understand that."
Other hospitals have been designated to receive $1.5 million to reimburse emergency department physicians for uncompensated treatment for uninsured patients, as well as a share of $100,000 that was given to each supervisor's district (Contra Costa Times, 3/2).