Monday - May 27, 2019

Sutter admits closing St. Luke’s likely to reduce charity care

by Contessa Abono

Gavin NewsomGavin Newsom

Sutter Health told the San Francisco Chronicle that the reason their North of Market CPMC campuses offer dramatically less charity care than St. Luke’s Hospital, the South of Market facility is that they are trying to close.

Kevin McCormack, [Sutter] spokesman, countered that the hospital’s three campuses are located in wealthy neighborhoods where poor and uninsured people aren’t likely to seek treatment.

“Those neighborhoods are not ones where you have a large low-income community,” McCormack said.

“Sutter basically admits the point that Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and the community are making: their attempt to close St. Luke’s is a clear example of “medical redlining,” or the dumping of a supposedly un-desirable patient population,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, Director of the Sutter Division of the California Nurses Association.

“A new report by the San Francisco Department of Public Health details that the CPMC facilities North of Market earned $67 million in tax breaks in 2007 due to their non-profit status, but performed only $5.2 million in charity care. By contrast, St. Luke’s earned $630,000 in tax breaks because of its non-profit status, and gave $2.5 million in charity care.

No more smoking in the car with children

A new law passed to protect kids from harmful risks of secondhand smoke. California’s new “Smoke-Free Cars with Minors” law took effect on January 1, giving California the most comprehensive smoke-free car law in the nation.

The California legislature passed the law in response to compelling scientific evidence that smoking in cars exposes passengers, especially children, to high levels of toxic secondhand smoke.  The law prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle (stationary or moving) in which a youth under the age of 18 is present.  A violation is punishable by a fine of up to $100.

Children are more susceptible to the hazards of secondhand smoke because their lungs are still developing, and they breathe more rapidly than adults. “I’ve treated thousands of children and observed firsthand the ill-effects of secondhand smoke on young children.,” said Dr. Pamela Simms-Mackey, Chair of the First 5 Alameda County Commission, Pediatrician and Associate Director of Medical Education at Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland.

For people who want to quit smoking, the American Lung Association offers free online support at or by calling 800.LUNG.USA.

Mayor Newsom and environmental groups hold hearings for solar bond

Mayor Gavin Newsom and several prominent environmental groups meet on Jan. 31st with the Board President Aaron Peskin, to calendar the General Obligation Solar Bond for a committee hearing to keep the bond on track for submission to the June 3rd ballot. The bond would utilize $50 million dollars from the city’s Seismic Safety Loan Program to create a loan program that would allow San Francisco residents and businesses to install solar panels and repay the loans incrementally at below-market rates. “This bond measure presents an important climate protection opportunity for San Francisco and we request the voters be given an opportunity to contemplate this measure in June,” said Mayor Newsom.

The bond must be heard by a committee and the full Board of Supervisors in the coming weeks in order to be submitted to the Department of Elections by February 25th, which is the final date that ballot initiatives can be placed on the June 3rd ballot.