San Rafael Assemblyman Jared Huffman is keeping up pressure on Marin County's Sutter hospital board, demanding a full explanation of why more than $120 million was transferred out of the county.
In the first of two letters sent to the organization, Mr. Huffman, a Democrat, asked the board to provide a paper trail on all decisions regarding several out-of-county "excess" cash transfers, most of which occurred after Sutter Health agreed to end its lease of the hospital early.
The demand followed documents disclosed by Sutter showing the transfer of about $48 million of Marin General profits in 2008 and $38.7 million in 2007, with smaller amounts in previous years.
"I ask that you provide my office with all documents that relate to the MGH Board's role in reviewing, commenting upon, advising or approving these transfers," he said in the July 17 letter.
Ten days later, the hospital board responded without agreeing to provide the paperwork, saying it has complied with all obligations under its settlement agreement with the Marin Health Care District.
"Sutter Health believes strongly that all affiliates (with the exception of philanthropic foundations) should be bound together in one common balance sheet," the July 27 letter said.
The letter further stated that the state attorney general reviewed the organization's transfer policy as it related to a San Francisco hospital and had no objections.
In a follow-up letter sent Aug. 11, Mr. Huffman called the board's defense "not credible" and said he was disappointed the group ignored his specific request for information.
"I will utilize the full authority of my office, if necessary, to get this information," he said in the letter.
Sutter had not responded to the second letter by press time. The nonprofit will officially pass administration of the hospital on to the health care district June 30, 2010.
[caption id="attachment_14282" align="alignright" width="215" caption="New Marin Prima Medical Group doctors, from left, Alice Yee, Terri Tang, Danielle Walker and Robert Bartz"][/caption]
In an extended effort to increase access to health care in Marin, the Prima Medical Group recently added several new doctors, including two in Sausalito and others in Terra Linda and Larkspur.
Internal medicine doctor Danielle Walker migrated to the North Bay from New York after completing her undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University and finishing her residency with NYU. She was previously working with a group in Manhattan, but she will begin work in Sausalito this October.
Another internal medicine provider, Terri Tang, recently began work in Terra Linda in July. Dr. Tang completed her undergraduate and residency at U.C. Davis after attending medical school at Finch University of Health Sciences/The Chicago Medical School, where she also earned her master's in applied physiology.
Bay Area-native Alice Yee will begin work as a family practice physician in Larkspur Sept. 1. She earned a bachelor's in genetics from U.C. Davis and went on to attend a top-rated osteopathic medical school before beginning her family medicine residency with UCLA.
Board-certified family practice doctor Robert Bartz was also recently enlisted to Prima's Sausalito office. He has practiced in the Bay Area for more than 20 years.