Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sutter/CPMC's Multimillion in Tax Breaks for Dubious Charity Care

Last week, I wrote about what it would do to working people in SF's southern neighborhoods like the Excelsior, OMI and Bayview, if California Pacific carried out its plans to shut down St. Luke's Hospital. This week a Dept of Public Health report shows that despite garnering tens of million in tax breaks for providing charity care, CPMC's real delivery of such care is nothing more than an accounting trick.

Mile of city blocks and unequal services separate California Pacific's campuses. It is commonly known that CP's Laurel Heights, Pacific Heights and Castro campuses serve mostly people from more white and affluent communities. These hospitals provide the least in charitable care, well below what they gain in tax breaks. Disastrously, for SF's southern neighborhoods, St. Luke's, the one hospital that is truly serving low income communities of color, is also the one hospital that CPMC has threatened to downsize.

We need greater access and more comprehensive services, especially here on the south side of San Francisco. Unfortunately, I can think of few worse examples of how our health care and tax system can join together to uphold separate and unequal services.