ALTA BATES/SUMMIT MERGER: Chronicle Says Go Slow
A San Francisco Chronicle editorial says the "planned marriage" of Alta Bates and Summit medical centers "brings up issues of cost, convenience, jobs and public safety." Noting that the merger "may mean one operator controlling nearly a third of the beds in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the paper says "it's time to ask questions and proceed carefully." While the "merger springs from the realities of hospital care ... East Bay politicians are justified in wondering what comes next. Will the combined hospital entity demand more money from patients and the local government? Who will be laid off and what services will be cut? Will there be enough health care capacity in the event of a disaster such as an earthquake?" The Chronicle concludes: "Attorney General [Bill] Lockyer should step in to see what problems the merger may pose for health care in the East Bay" (6/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.