RNs Denounce Sutter Plans to Close St. Luke's Hospital
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee today voiced outrage at reports that the Sutter Health corporation intends to end all hospital services at its St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco by 2009.
On Thursday, Sutter informed CNA/NNOC that as of November 11 it will close newborn intensive care and children's facilities at St. Luke's - a huge loss to the largely low income community served by the hospital, a practice CNA/NNOC brands as "medical redlining" when a corporation cuts services to underserved communities when shifting services to wealthier neighborhoods.
Now Sutter has informed reporters that it will end all in-patient care at the hospital within two years, leaving only outpatient services and a drop-in "emergency" center. But the "false promise of emergency care at a stripped hospital is a cruel hoax," said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of CNA/NNOC's Sutter division.
"You can not have an emergency room without intensive care facilities or an operating room - all that is there is a shell intended to deceive the public that an emergency room remains," said Castillo. "We will challenge Sutter with every means we can to preserve this critically needed hospital and emergency care services at St. Luke's," said Castillo.
As a first step, Castillo said CNA/NNOC will vigorously oppose the shutdown of its newborn intensive care and pediatric in-patient care, which Sutter says it will transfer across town to its California Pacific Children's campus. Sutter has contractual obligations to bargain with CNA/NNOC over the closure, and "will face determined opposition."
Just last week, thousands of Sutter RNs struck 13 Sutter hospitals, including St. Luke's, in a protest partly over Sutter's decision to abandon Bay Area communities with its threats to slash patient services at St. Luke's and other hospitals, including San Leandro and Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa.
"Sutter's plans to abandon communities are disgraceful. We look forward to working with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the community to force Sutter to fulfill its obligations to its patients and the public at large," Castillo said.