UCSF-STANFORD MERGER: ‘Outraged’ Legislators Demand a Probe
Just days after San Francisco supervisors pledged to resist efforts to close UCSF Stanford Health System's Mt. Zion hospital, four Bay Area state legislators "called yesterday for a state audit and public hearings to probe the financial problems plaguing" the system. Senate 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) requested an update of a 1997 state audit that predicted gains for the merged system. The legislators "said they were outraged that the venture is now predicting losses of $185 million over the next two years." Speier said, "This was an arranged marriage that is now on the rocks. There are totally dysfunctional elements to this merger. There has not been consolidation of departments, even when there were opportunities along the way because department chiefs left or retired." Migden sought to resurrect a bill vetoed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1997 that would subject the system to open meetings and open records laws. She said, "We were cautious and skeptical about the viability of this. Now they are talking about countless needy and poor people being hurt." With respect to Mt. Zion, she said, "We know Mt. Zion always loses money. These are public service entities. That's not where you make a buck" (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/2).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.