Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa Sues Sonoma County Over Psychiatric Treatment for Inmates
Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa is suing Sonoma County, claiming that the county owes $2.2 million for mental health services provided to county jail inmates over the past two years at Sutter's residential psychiatric facility, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports. The lawsuit stems from an "ongoing dispute" over whether Sutter should be reimbursed for inmate care provided at Norton Mental Health Center. Sutter took over the county hospital in 1996 and agreed to let the county administer the 30-bed psychiatric facility on Sutter's behalf under a profit-sharing agreement. Deputy County Counsel Kathleen Farrelly said that the county and Sutter share the profits of the facility, but added that because Sutter is "protected" from losses, the company is "making money on the psychiatric facility regardless of payments for treating jail inmates." However, county officials "acknowledge" that inmates are not covered by Medi-Cal, which covers the treatment of most patients at the psychiatric facility. The psychiatric unit treats about 30 inmates annually. The suit was filed July 12, but both sides say they "expect to resolve the dispute" without going to trial (Mason, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 7/27).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.