MOUNT ZION: Reserve Revelation Raises More Questions About Closure
The revelation that UCSF Stanford Health Care is "sitting on a $501 million cash reserve" is fueling "debate over whether closure of Mount Zion is the best way for the troubled hospital system to solve its financial problems," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. At the same time, Haile Debas, the dean of the University of California-San Francisco Medical School "sent the school's faculty an e-mail Friday, in which he seemed to suggest that UC should consider withdrawing from the merger rather than let Mount Zion be closed." The move is significant, the Chronicle notes, "because it's the first hint that a high-ranking UCSF official might be considering unraveling the two-year-old merger."
UCSF officials defended the need for the large liquid reserve, noting that it allowed it to "maintain its A+ bond rating." But health care economist Mark Blum, who is representing a coalition of UCSF Stanford unions, said some of the reserve should go to "make up for operating losses." He said, "That's part of what being a nonprofit corporation is all about. You accumulate reserves to make up for the years you fall short" (Abate, 8/3).