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May 1, 2012 > Washington Township Health Care District Authorizes Joint Powers Authority to Preserve St. Rose

Washington Township Health Care District Authorizes Joint Powers Authority to Preserve St. Rose

Submitted By Gisela Hernandez

Extraordinary efforts by Fremont's Washington Township Health Care District and Alameda County to keep St. Rose Hospital in Hayward from closing reached a successful milestone yesterday when the Board of Directors of Washington Township Health Care District unanimously approved the execution of the Joint Powers Authority Agreement to help preserve St. Rose as a local community hospital. Previously, on April 17th, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Joint Powers Authority Agreement.

The Joint Powers Authority ("JPA") was developed to keep this critical safety net facility open by securing sufficient interim funding and facilitating Washington Hospital's participation in efforts to preserve St. Rose Hospital as a community hospital. Over the next 180 days, Washington Hospital intends to become familiar with the operations of St. Rose as it conducts its due diligence and seeks to understand the needs, challenges and potential solutions to keeping St. Rose and its emergency room open for the long term.

"The closure of St. Rose would create an extraordinary public health crisis, jeopardizing the health, safety, and welfare of residents throughout Alameda County," stated Nancy Farber, Chief Executive Officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System. "This past year, St. Rose had more than 35,000 emergency department visits. If the St. Rose emergency room closed, these patients would travel either to the county's Highland Hospital in Oakland or to Washington Hospital in Fremont."

"It is a certainty that Washington Hospital's emergency room and other facilities would be inundated beyond capacity, increasing the strain on the area's other medical facilities and severely impacting our ability to provide care to the residents of our health care district," she continued.

"Washington Hospital has previously provided financial support for St. Rose in the form of a loan," Farber said, but "it now appears that St. Rose requires more substantial assistance to stay afloat." Earlier this year St. Rose issued an urgent request for assistance because it is facing the prospect of bankruptcy. In response, the Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors committed up to $2 million in support of St. Rose at its February 22 meeting.

"During the past few weeks, we have spent a great deal of time securing interim funding for St. Rose to ensure it can meet its financial obligations during the due diligence period," Farber said. "Alex Briscoe, the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Director, has been instrumental in this process."

The St. Rose Hospital Board of Trustees and Washington Township Health Care District previously executed a letter of intent which provided for a series of steps that would allow Washington Township Health Care District to manage and determine the appropriate operational structure for the long term viability of St Rose. The St Rose Board of Trustees has been working collaboratively with Washington Hospital. Both organizations realize that the relationship is important to ensuring that the health care needs of their respective communities are met. Kathy Streeter, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of St. Rose Hospital, stated "At first the light at the end of the tunnel looked like an oncoming train, but with Washington Hospital's help, there is now the very real prospect of St. Rose continuing to serve the community as it has for almost 50 years."

While Washington Township Health Care District is taking a lead role, other stakeholders have joined in the effort to assist this important community asset to the residents of Hayward and the surrounding areas. Many organizations, including Alameda County, Kaiser, the Alameda Alliance, Eden Township and Cal Mortgage have stated their willingness to provide support.

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