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October 7, 2009 > St. Rose Hospital

St. Rose Hospital

By Simon Wong

Opened in October 1962 under the sponsorship of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Wichita Kansas with 129 beds, Hayward's St. Rose Hospital has grown in strength as a center of excellence. The hospital disaffiliated from its Catholic sponsor four years ago and is now a private community hospital.

"Private" and "community" might seem contradictory but St. Rose is unique in the area. About half its patients are either uninsured or under-insured. The hospital is akin to the Alameda County Health Service (ACHS) in that it serves the community but the bulk of its funding is from private sources.

"We fulfill a basic need for capacity because of who we are and whom we serve," stated Pamela Russo, RN, Executive Director, St. Rose Hospital Foundation.

The decisions of the St. Rose board of governors are based on community need. For instance, the Cardiovascular (CV) Laboratory opened four years ago because there were no CV services between Oakland and Fremont. The facility, only one of four designated a cardiac receiving center by Alameda County, has one of the lowest "door-to-balloon times" in the county at under 70 minutes compared with the American College of Cardiology's recommended 90 minutes. The hospital's team is on call 24/7.

The hospital will shortly complete earthquake retrofitting, funded by a $42M bond refinance from the state of California facilitated by State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and supported by Senator Ellen Corbett and Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi, and will have 30 new, private patient suites in September 2010 on the fifth floor of the hospital tower which is being renovated. The suites will be equipped to complement the CV program with comfort and privacy as priorities and sofa beds for family members. The focus will be on "hospitality" rather than on "hospital."

Fundraising activities need to be successful given many patients seek financial counseling. Reimbursement of patients is low compared with commercial insurance carriers so it is important to obtain reimbursement from the state and county. Community and county support has been good because St. Rose provides a safety net.

More than 600 guests attended the St. Rose Hospital Foundation's 21st annual fundraising event, St. Rose Goes to Hollywood, under the Grand White Tent on October 3. The event, organized by Splurge Catering, has raised much needed funds to benefit the Fifth Floor Expansion Project.

The Foundation has many friends and supporters. Mrs. Dolores Jordan, whose late husband Hanabul "Bud" Jordan was a patient in the late 1980s, shares his interest in improving the community's cardiac health and generously donated $10M on behalf of her husband and late brother-in-law, Lowell Jordan.

The marquee will remain in situ for a week to host other community events (see side panel) and a physicians' dinner-conference and the annual staff-recognition dinner.

The hospital has had positive operating margins for the past seven years, receiving only about a third of the reimbursements that ACHS enjoys. Many consider St. Rose's President and CEO Mike Mahoney as a visionary leader who understands the importance of partnerships with medical staff, the community and legislators. Without them, St. Rose might have closed four years ago.

"Fremont Bank is another of St. Rose Hospital Foundation's premier sponsors. The bank not only provides financial assistance but also touches the communities and institutions with which it is involved. Hattie Hughes has been most supportive," stated Russo.

There is low turnover of clinical and non-clinical staff. The emphasis is on quality-based, personal development. $25,000 of City of Hayward social services funding was leveraged to obtain a two-year $275,000 grant from the California Endowment for the hospital's FACES for the Future Program. The latter provides two years of mentoring by health-care professionals to high school students who belong to the Regional Occupation Program and are interested in becoming physicians, nurses and going to college, finishing in their senior year.

"It is gratifying to see their grade point average increase to 3.8, how they develop and flourish. The program began with 15 students. As juniors become seniors they recruit more students and another 20 to 25 will join the program," stated Russo. "Two have returned part-time to the Admissions Department and to the lab whilst at college. FACES combines high tech with high touch. The culture and ethos emanate from the CEO and boards to medical staff and employees. It really makes a difference."

St. Rose introduced its Surgical Hospitalist Program at the start of September. It is one of the few in the country providing integrated care for patients under surgical evaluation or in need of surgery. It has improved response times and the quality of care by connecting surgeons with the Emergency Department and the Hospitalist Team. These doctors are experts in minimally invasive surgery and are on call 24/7. First Surgical Consultants Medical Group, which heads the program, has an office close to St Rose Hospital for consultations and follow-up.

For more information, visit or To make a donation, click on Donate Now on the homepage.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
1st annual Union City/Hayward Business Expo
200 exhibitors, food, B2B, bar, live entertainment, speakers, raffle
3 p.m. to 9.30p.m.
(510) 952 9637

Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Go Red for Women campaign casting call
4 p.m. - 6 p.m.
(415) 433 2273

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