Two San Francisco Hospitals Considering Merger
St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco's Mission District said it is considering a merger with California Pacific Medical Center, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Both hospitals are operated by Sutter Health. Details of the potential merger have not been disclosed.
Talk of a potential merger has "spark[ed] suspicions" that St. Luke's "will lose its dedication to caring for the poor," the Chronicle reports. St. Luke's accounted for 12% of all charity care provided to San Francisco residents in 2003, while CPMC accounted for 0.9%, according to a report by the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Sutter's 2001 takeover of St. Luke's included a provision that the hospital's charitable mission would be maintained until July 2006, at which point some critics say the hospital's policies could change.
Critics also are concerned that Sutter plans to close St. Luke's or convert the facility to a neighborhood clinic. However, St. Luke's and CPMC officials said St. Luke's would continue to operate as a full-service medical center if the two facilities merge.
In addition, St. Luke's will need to be rebuilt or retrofitted in the next three to eight years to comply with state seismic safety standards. Sutter officials have said that St. Luke's "needs to demonstrate its financial viability" before the hospital chain "float[s] the bonds" to fund the construction project, the Chronicle reports (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/12).