East Bay cities vote to oppose Alta Bates Closure

City Councils in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, El Cerrito, and San Pablo have joined community opposition to the closure of Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley.

In the past two months, all five councils have voted unanimously for resolutions opposing the closure, which would leave only one small hospital along a dense, congested corridor of nearly 1 million people.

The Berkeley resolution, passed first earlier this summer, was a model for the other resolutions. It said, in part:

  • From 2002 through 2015, state data revealed a “very high utilization of acute care services” of the hospital, “including over one million total days that hospital beds were occupied”.

  • When Sutter merged Alta Bates with another hospital in Oakland, in opposition to community concerns, Sutter promised, “services would be enhanced not reduced.”

  • Many remaining hospitals in the region are even now “often at capacity, and all of the local Emergency Departments already have long delays in service” which “will only be exacerbated” by the closure.

  • The region served by Alta Bates is “subject to severe earthquakes, frequent urban interface with fires, industrial chemical releases and mass traffic casualties” which all require full hospital services.

In conclusion, the Mayor and City Council of the City of Berkeley “oppose Sutter Health Corporation’s plan to close its acute care services at Alta Bates Hospital and calls upon Sutter Health to cease and desist all actions in furtherance of any and all plans to close Alta Bates.”