Oakland City Council passes resolution to keep care at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland

NewsJanuary 25, 2022

One month after NUHW members at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland held a town hall to share concerns about UCSF forcing East Bay families to travel across the Bay for critical care, the Oakland City Council took action intended to ensure that UCSF doesn’t shortchange East Bay patients or caregivers. 

On Tuesday, January 18, the council unanimously adopted a resolution calling on UCSF Health and the UC Board of Regents to “restore comprehensive, high quality … care for all children at Children’s Hospital Oakland locations” and “create a healthcare system committed to correcting the inequities between San Francisco and Oakland.”

The resolution, authored by Councilmembers Dan Kalb and Carroll Fife, also called on the university to create an executive leadership board that is “transparent and accountable to our diverse East Bay community and includes health care professionals/workers employed at UCSF Children’s Hospital Oakland.”

While introducing the resolution, Kalb, who attended the NUHW Town Hall, said that it was time to “pull back and fix” the funneling of patients to San Francisco.

Kalb added: “While we all continue to share the appreciation and belief that Children’s Hospital Oakland… is the place to go if your child is in a serious condition that needs attention, nevertheless it’s important to point out the shortcomings and challenges that have come since the affiliation with UCSF.”

UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland is one of five Level One pediatric trauma centers in California, and it accepts all patients no matter their income level or insurance status. While the 2014 affiliation agreement that effectively put UCSF in control of the nonprofit Oakland hospital was touted as the best approach for strengthening the hospital’s finances, doctors, and other caregivers in the East Bay have raised repeated concerns about critical services being moved to San Francisco.

In 2018, approximately 120 doctors at the hospital signed a letter to UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood declaring “no confidence” in UCSF’s integration plan that they said had prioritized UCSF’s Mission Bay campus in San Francisco. 

Reports filed by UCSF with the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development document that from 2017 to 2019 the number of recorded Patient Days dropped every year at Children’s Hospital Oakland from 46,465 to 43,072 and increased every year at Mission Bay from 83,793 to 85,555.

The Oakland City Council resolution urges that any changes to operations that could diminish services at Children’s Hospital Oakland “be avoided and only contemplated as a last resort after meaningful input from the community, policy makers, and hospital employees.”

Shakeela Mahdee, an NUHW member and audiology program coordinator at Children’s Hospital Oakland, spoke in favor of the resolution and praised council members for taking action.

“This is an important victory. We’re taking a stand for our hospital and our community in the East Bay and now we have the Oakland City Council standing with us,” Mahdee said. “It’s time for UCSF to stop funneling services away from Oakland and the people who need it most.”