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OP-ED: The importance of Seton Medical Center
August 20, 2014, 05:00 AM By David J. Canepa

David J. Canepa

Seton Medical Center has been providing quality care to north San Mateo County residents for decades, and has been our only full-service acute care hospital servings thousands of local residents. Earlier this year, the Daughters of Charity who operate the hospital announced the sale of six of their hospitals throughout the state, including Seton. Reports are that the sale will take place within the next several weeks.

Seton provides quality care to our residents and operates the only emergency room for miles in all directions. Should the Seton ER close, Daly City residents will be forced to go to San Francisco or Burlingame for emergency care. That additional travel time for serious injuries could be a life or death situation.

Seton is also the largest employer in Daly City with about 1,400 employees. Daly City residents and employers are united in their view that any future buyer of Seton Medical Center be committed to continuing affordable, high quality health care, emergency services and preserving jobs.

I have had the opportunity to participate in several employee and resident vigils and have been touched by the stories. I share a deep appreciation for Seton as I was born there (when it was called Mary’s Help Hospital) and my wife and I have received outstanding care there over the years.

On Aug. 11, the Daly City Council took immediate action by unanimously passing a resolution asking California Attorney General Kamala Harris review the potential sale of Seton by the Daughters of Charity. We have asked Harris to carefully consider the historic commitments of the Daughters of Charity to sustain health care for the sick, poor and elderly of San Mateo and San Francisco counties and to ensure that Seton Medical Center be maintained as a full-service acute care hospital.

Under California law, the attorney general has jurisdiction over the sale of a nonprofit hospital. California law requires the attorney general’s review and consent for any sale or transfer of a health care facility owned or operated by a nonprofit corporation whose assets are held in public trust. This requirement covers health care facilities that are licensed to provide 24-hour care, such as hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.

The review process includes public meetings and, when necessary, preparation of expert reports. The attorney general’s decision often requires the continuation of existing levels of charity care, continued operation of emergency rooms and other essential services and other actions necessary to avoid adverse effects on health care in the local community.

As the mayor of the largest city in San Mateo County, you have my commitment that I will vigorously fight to insure Seton Medical Center continues as a full-service acute care hospital. Additionally, I will keep you apprised of future public meetings regarding the attorney general and that office’s review process.

This is our community, and our hospital.

David J. Canepa is the mayor of Daly City and vice chair of the San Mateo County Transportation Authority.



Tags: seton, hospital, attorney, residents, health, charity,

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