Statement of the National Union of Healthcare Workers Regarding SVMH Outside Counsel's Recommendations to Stop Secret Meetings and Release Documents
NUHW reiterates request for DA and Attorney General investigations
Salinas, California - At tonight’s meeting (September 15, 2011) of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System’s Board of Directors, Joan Cassman, an outside attorney with Hanson Bridgett, the law firm recently retained by the Board in order to provide it counsel on public disclosure requirements, confirmed that the transparency that NUHW has been calling on for months is not merely a laudable goal, but legally required.
In effect, the Board’s counsel has confirmed that the Board’s regular practice of holding closed-door discussions to discuss a potential merger or sale of the hospital is unlawful, as is its continuing refusal to disclose privatization plans drawn up in secret by a majority of Board members and their consultants. These back room discussions and secret reports need to be released to the public and culpable Board members need to be held accountable for their actions.
NUHW reiterates its call for a majority of the SVMH Board to cease and desist its avoidance of public scrutiny and issue a full public disclosure of its privatization plans for Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital.
Further, NUHW reiterates its call for State Attorney General Kamala Harris and Monterey District Attorney Dean Flippo to launch investigations into the potential criminal actions of a majority of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare District Board’s apparent repeated violations of the Brown Act and of Section 32106 of The California Healthcare District Law, which explicitly prohibits closed door discussion of “(t)he sale, conversion, contract for management, or leasing of any district health care facility.”