Doctors of the historic St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco have launched a campaign to “save” the hospital after reports of its ongoing acquisition by University of California, San Francisco surfaced.
A group of the hospital’s most senior doctors, who are spearheading the “Save St. Mary’s” campaign, said in statement this is to ensure that the medical center preserves its accessible and patient-centered care and most cherished programs and services.
Dr. Remo Morelli, St. Mary’s medical staff president and cardiac catheterization laboratory director, alleged the hospital’s “decade of mismanagement” by the administrations of CommonSpirit Health and Dignity Health led to the sale.
“While we are pleased to embark on a new chapter with a local, well-respected institution like UCSF, we remain steadfast in our belief that St. Mary’s rich history and compassionate care culture must be enshrined as part of any new facility,” Morelli said.
Morelli noted that UCSF is a research and teaching facility while St. Mary’s is a patient-centered community hospital, and the sale might lead to major shifts in the hospital’s direction.
“While we are pleased to embark on a new chapter with a local, well-respected institution like UCSF, we remain steadfast in our belief that St. Mary’s rich history and compassionate care culture must be enshrined as part of any new facility.”Dr. Remo Morelli, St. Mary’s medical staff president
Dr. Kenneth Mills, a St. Mary’s internal medicine specialist for over 45 years, urged UCSF to preserve accessible and compassionate care for the hospital’s patients, staff and the mantra of the Sisters of Mercy, who founded the hospital in 1857. The Sisters of Mercy are a Catholic institute of women established in Dublin, Ireland.
“San Francisco cannot afford to lose this historic and cherished institution and its critical care programs and services. We must save St. Mary’s,” Mills said.
Deal still needs approval
According to UCSF Health, it is still seeking approval from the UC Board of Regents to move forward with the proposed acquisition of Dignity Health’s clinical presence in San Francisco, which includes St. Mary’s and Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in Nob Hill.
UCSF Health president and CEO Suresh Gunasekaran acknowledged St. Mary’s importance of its services to the San Francisco community.
“We plan to retain and strengthen those services. In addition, the acquisition will allow us to increase our investment in the health of San Francisco at a time when major cities — including our own — face economic and infrastructure challenges,” he said. “As we transition the ownership of these facilities, we will continue to honor our shared commitment to improve the health of vulnerable populations, regardless of their ability to pay.”
According to Dignity Health, UCSF Health is well-positioned to cater the San Francisco community with St. Mary’s services, and it is “the right partner to continue our legacy of caring for the underserved.”
“This decision was not made lightly,” Dignity Health California Division president Julie Sprengel said in a statement, which was posted on Dignity Health’s website.
“While we are at the very beginning of this process and discussions with UCSF Health will continue for several months, we are committed to keeping our employees, physicians and the community informed. Most importantly, throughout the process our patients will continue to receive the same high-quality care they have come to expect,” she said.
St. Mary’s is San Francisco’s oldest continuously operating hospital.