Seton Medical Center in Daly City is part of the Daughters of Charity hospitals. (Brendan Bartholomew/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Town hall on state of Seton Medical Center

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the Daly City and southwestern San Francisco communities will come together for a town hall meeting to discuss the state of health care at Seton Medical Center.

It has been a year since Daughters of Charity struck a deal with BlueMountain Capital Management, a New York hedge fund. How has our community hospital fared over the past year under BlueMountain’s control? What has been the impact on patients and caregivers? What steps can the community take to ensure quality care for patients as we move forward?

Seton patients, caregivers and the community are invited for a thoughtful exchange of ideas and concerns with us from 2 to 4 p.m. at Broadmoor Community Center, 501 87th St., Daly City.

Seton Medical Center, Daly City’s largest employer, has served our community’s poorest and most vulnerable residents since Daughters of Charity opened the hospital in 1912. After a century of charitable care, the community was understandably concerned to hear in 2014 that Seton Medical Center, Seton Coastside in Moss Beach and four other Daughters of Charity hospitals were up for sale, and that the most viable suitors were for-profit companies.

The State of California was concerned too. Attorney General Kamala Harris weighed in, setting terms for the sale in an effort to protect the community. The attorney general’s requirements, which included maintaining the system’s essential services for at least ten years and meeting spending targets for charity care, deterred the first bidder, Prime Healthcare Services.

BlueMountain agreed to the terms. The transaction was approved and the Daughters of Charity system became Verity Health System, its board of directors replaced by a board appointed by BlueMountain, which established a management company, Integrity Healthcare, to handle the system’s day-to-day operations.

Meanwhile, thousands of Daly City and southwestern San Francisco residents found themselves in a strange and uncertain situation. After entrusting their health care for decades to a charitable organization with a long history in the Bay Area, they were now dealing with a for-profit New York investment company with no ties to the community.

This dramatic change to our community hospital raises questions worth exploring at our town hall:

• What is BlueMountain’s philosophy of health care?

• How does BlueMountain reconcile its for-profit status with Seton’s long tradition of charity care?

• How is the company meeting the attorney general’s standards for charity care?

• How can the community be sure that patient-care resources aren’t being sacrificed in order to maximize the amount of profit flowing to BlueMountain’s New York offices?

• How sound is the new health system’s corporate structure, given that Integrity, BlueMountain’s management company, has seen a fair amount of turnover at the executive level?

• What are the short- and long-term plans for Seton Medical Center’s services, facilities, and properties?

• And how does BlueMountain–Verity plan to include Seton patients, caregivers and the community in shaping the hospital’s future?

We invite you to join the discussion. Together we can set priorities and map out a promising future for Seton Medical Center to ensure that our community retains access to the quality care we need and deserve.

Supervisor Jane Kim represents District 6 in San Francisco. Daly City Vice Mayor David Canepa was born at Seton Medical Center and has previously served as mayor and city council member.

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