UCSF STANFORD: Latest Chapter Could Prompt Criminal Charges
In back-and-forth wrangling that could further strain the already troubled the UCSF Stanford merger, UCSF Stanford officials yesterday refused to make financial records available for an audit, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. After a heated fax exchange between hospital officials and an auditor threatening "subpoenas and misdemeanor charges" right up until the 5 p.m. deadline last night for handing over the records, Hospital CEO Peter Van Etten ultimately shrugged off the request of auditor Kurt Sjoberg, who was acting on behalf of four lawmakers -- Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco), Sen. Jackie Speier (D-San Mateo), Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) and Assemblyman Kevin Shelley (D- San Francisco). The audit request was given the nod by the Legislature last week, days before Monday's disclosure that May operating losses at UCSF Stanford Health Care were $10 million, or double the expected amount. Ven Etten said Monday that "he understood there would be no audit until after state lawmakers met with the hospital board on July 23." General counsel for the merged system, William Stempel, said, "UCSF Stanford is a private, nonprofit organization. The state auditor does not have jurisdiction to conduct the audit they propose." Sjoberg replied with a letter yesterday, arguing that the office does indeed have a right to review the financial information because the University of California regents sit on the hospital's board. Warning that failure to provide the records was a misdemeanor, Sjoberg said he was "prepared to file charges" if UCSF did not comply by the deadline. When the deadline passed last night, the hospital had not yet handed over the requested information. "It's not very sporting, clearly," said Migden yesterday, pointing to the hospital's handling of the audit. "The public pays $11 million a year for clinical teaching support. That buys us at least a high chair at the table" (Russell, 7/14).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.