The sad looking woman in the photo above was staffing a table at 24th Street and Mission on last Friday, offering health information from California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC)/Sutter Health. Her health outreach materials were all in Spanish. A questionnaire sought opinions on what services were most important to passersby -- and offered, among other options, information about St. Lukes Hospital.
But only two weeks ago CPMC announced that it was shutting down the money losing St. Luke's facility in the Mission. Opponents of the closure quickly discovered unearthed evidence that the impact of CPMC's plan would be to dump most of their Black, Brown and charity care patients. CPMC wants to build yet another North of Market Street hospital on Cathedral Hill, while leaving the South of Market area entirely to the care of the over-crowded, under-funded county hospital.
Was CPMC perhaps stung by disclosure of the racial and class impact of its plans? This young woman didn't know -- she had not been told that St. Lukes Hospital, which she was for all practical purposes promoting, was about to be closed. Her job was to invite Mission residents to a health fair -- a health fair to take place miles across town in the well-off Marina district.
She was very nice -- and I thought she was being misused.
St. Luke's is receiving the overflow from the country hospital emergency room. Where would those people go if St. Luke's is closed?
The San Francisco Health Commission will be holding a hearing about CPMC's plan to close St. Luke's on November 13, 3 PM, 101 Grove St., Room 300. The Saving St. Luke's Blog will have updates.