PNNscholar1 - Posted on 28 August 2010

Marlon Crump/PoorNewsNetwork
Wednesday, February 17, 2010;

"Its going to adversely affect a lot of folks who depend on St. Luke's right now for their health care." This was a statement of concern from Emily Lee, staff of Chinese Progressive Association, a respected community grass-roots organization during a recent POOR interview regarding the hospital's future.

Race, class, and segregation, privatization and displacement of health care services were the major subjects, in my recent interview. The future of St. Luke's Hospital, a health facility unprejudiced to people in poverty is subject for changes.

The fight for its survival continues, consequently so are plans for a new hospital by C P M C (California Pacific Medical Center) and Sutter Health Corporation. In 2008-09, a Blue Ribbon Panel took place by the S.F. Board of Supervisors to decide the fate of St. Luke's Hospital. Testimonies took place by community members of how much this hospital meant to them.

The area for this planned project is Geary/Van Ness. Last year, my POOR family learned that a favorite cafe of late poverty hero Mama Dee Gray would be one of the latest victims for displacement by developers through demolition: The Van Ness Bakery & Cafe.

Misinformation was distributed to the employees. This would lead to discouragement for their options in opposing these actions to the S.F. Planning Commission. Angered by this, a series of re-porting and su-pporting from my family of POOR took place.

"If they came in and tore it down, where are we going to go?" Ruthy, an employee of the Van Ness Cafe stated in last year's POOR Magazine/PNN radio interview titled, "Mama Dee is Mad!"

Many small business people, including the Vietnamese and other South-east Asian women who run the 24/7 doughnut shop that Tiny and Mama Dee loved and still loves, will see their dreams shattered and lose the source of their income. Bruce Allison, Elder Scholar of POOR explained in the follow up article, Mama Dee is mad part 2.

"How can you build hospitals on homes?" I said during public comment before the S.F. Planning Commission last year. Me, and my POOR comrades attended this meeting to oppose the draft plans for this project.

C P M C (California Pacific Medical Center) parents Sutter Health and manages St. Luke's Hospital. This proposed new "hospital" is a 1.7 billion$ project by Sutter Health architecture-d in areas of the poor, to be built on their backs.

She (Mama Dee) is mad....really mad.

We shared in her fury on February 2nd during community newsroom. Youth members of the Chinese Progressive Association shared their knowledge of the current status of Saint Luke's Hospital, and the effortless battle by communities to save it. It was exciting to meet with the Chinese Progressive Association, and for me to learn their history of tackling environmental racism, and justice in Southeast San Francisco.

They've recently gotten involved with this issue. I met with Emily Lee ten days later to learn more.

St. Luke's Hospital is one hospital, but its one of two hospitals that's located in Southeast San Francisco that serves the primary low income immigrant and people of color community in that area. Emily said. C P M C got what it wanted, they're going to contain all of their patients who don't have insurance. St. Luke's provides a huge amount of free health care service for the poor.

Emily's explanations for these transitions appeared to be prejudiced processes of elimination by C P M C against patients who lack insurance, and depend on St. Luke's Hospital services. She pointed out that the intentions from C P M C were to reduce acute services at St. Luke's Hospital, and attract those who're insured to the newly proposed hospital in the Cathedral Hill area.

The motivations for this move, it seems according to Emily is "separation of health care" and "profit motives." Although Sutter and C P M C are non-profit, curiosity comes to mind on whether or not this would benefit salaries, equipment, etc, etc.

The communities expected to be affected from this project are in the Mission, Excelsior, Portola, and the Bay view District. S.F. General Hospital a hospital already overburdened with staff and service shortages (courtesy of Governor Schwarzenegger) will be overwhelmed. With this new project development, I wondered if other hospitals in that area, such as S.t. Francis Hospital (who once helped me) would be affected.

Transportation will be a turbulent transition for seniors with mobility issues, and people with disabilities. It just means that it will be another barrier to get health care. Emily said. Distances from doctors, inadequate access to the nearest health facility is not only inconvenient, but life threatening.

"I think about all of the lives that had been saved at St. Luke's, because it is located in a strategic location, which is truly a lifeline for many in the Mission." Vivian Hain, Welfare Queen, Super baby mama explained in her April 2008 POOR article, "St. Luke's saved my life". She expressed her gratitude for St. Luke's and displeasure of Sutter Health.

An issue of the history of "environmental racism" was brought up concerning the southeast of S.F. from toxic, industrialized sites and heavy traffics. This development poses a serious problem for people with health problems, such as diabetes, asthma, and other respiratory-related problems.

"Right now the city is doing a draft, an environmental impact review for the Cathedral Hill Project." According to Emily.

Existence of employments, are also major concerns. C N A (California Nurses Association) represents St. Luke's Hospital. They've been at odds over numerous issues with C P M C for a while, concerning labor, strikes, and other grievances. Nato Green, Labor Rep for the California Nurses Association presented a very detailed overview regarding the motives of C P M C in a brief interview.

C P M C makes record profits in San Francisco ($157 million in 2008) but spends a lower proportion of its budget on caring for Medi-Cal, Medicare, and uninsured patients than other local private hospitals.Green explained. The master plan involves reducing by 82% the skilled nursing beds that treat Medicare and disabled patients, (despite a City projection of a 30% shortage of those very beds) over the next ten years.

Green's additional insight is equally congruent with Emily's statement earlier on regarding a separation of health care.

Also, C P M C's plan is for St. Luke's to be the smaller hospital for Medi-Cal patients while insured patients will go to Cathedral Hill for the very same services. Green says."But with more specialists and other fancy services and gimmicks. When C P M C says that St. Luke's must be small to "serve the community,"community" means poor people and people of color. This is explicit segregation of healthcare based on ability to pay.

The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) is seeking a federal indictment against Sutter and C P M C, accusing them of creating an illegal health plan towards its nurses and other workers.

We as poor people, families, and communities of color have human rights and freedom to health care services, unsubsidized from interests. Mama Dee's fury will never subside, unless this ceases and desists. She will continue to be mad......and so will we at POOR.

To read more about the past and present situations regarding St. Luke's Hospital, Sutter Health, and C P M C, please refer to the following links: under the hellthcare section.

"Western concepts of ownership and privatization came in and clashed with that. So land began to be exchanged." Neil Abercrombie, democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives.


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