As residents proceed to push for the general public reopening of a remedy pool, San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa has requested the state to analyze Sutter Well being’s use of federal stimulus funding .
In a letter submitted to California Legal professional Normal Rob Bonta, Canepa alleges that the well being care supplier is misusing the $853 million in federal funds it acquired from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Assist, Aid, and Financial Safety Act), which was handed across the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and aimed to maintain important medical sources open to the neighborhood.
Sutter’s Mack E. Mickelson Heart Remedy Pool is situated at Mills Well being Heart in San Mateo, and it is the one heated pool within the county that meets each the necessities of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (ADA) and is designed for the aged, individuals with persistent ache or disabilities and others present process therapeutic care.
The pool opened its doorways 25 years in the past, because of $4 million in neighborhood donations. Following the COVID-19 closures in March 2020, Sutter Well being stated the pool will stay closed for public use.
Canepa famous within the letter that there aren’t any close by various amenities accessible for individuals who rely on water remedy for a greater high quality of life, and that “the local people is determined for the Mickelson remedy pool reopens”.
“For a lot of, the remedy pool was the one option to relieve their ache and have a good high quality of life. The lack of this facility has brought about untold struggling to the very individuals the CARES Act was handed to guard.” Canepa stated within the letter, signed earlier this month.
Canepa beforehand urged Sutter to reopen the pool with a decision handed by the county board of supervisors in February, and stated he had tried unsuccessfully to rearrange a gathering with stakeholders on a number of events.
It is usually supported by numerous native authorities companies – the Sequoia Healthcare District and a dozen city councils on the peninsula have additionally expressed help via letters and resolutions to reopen the pool.
“Regardless of strenuous efforts to open a dialogue with Sutter concerning the remedy pool – together with petitions, protests and even a multi-million greenback supply from the Peninsula Well being Care District to totally fund repairs, upgrades and the prices of working the pool till a alternative facility may be constructed – area people members have failed to realize traction with Sutter Well being,” Canepa wrote.
Canepa labored carefully with a collective of former pool customers, incapacity rights advocates and well being care staff, who got here collectively to kind a non-profit group known as Heat Water Wellness Inc. The group asks Sutter to reopen the power or return the neighborhood donations. acquired, backed by a petition that collected virtually 5,000 signatures.
Some advocates say the pool has helped them keep away from acute medical care and relocation to assisted residing amenities, whereas offering area for neighborhood amongst individuals with disabilities and the aged. They preserve that the pool was meant for the neighborhood.
“By closing the pool, the non-profit group Sutter Well being sends a powerful message that it has little interest in the standard of lifetime of probably the most weak members of our neighborhood,” stated Lindsay Raike, CEO of Heat Water Wellness.
Raike stated the group hopes Bonta’s workplace will examine Sutter’s use of CARES funds, as the cash might have been used to maintain the remedy pool open, and whether or not he meets the profit commonplace. neighborhood companies required of a not-for-profit hospital.
“The remedy pool has now been closed for nearly two and a half years; the bodily and psychological well being of former customers has been affected by the dearth of entry to this important neighborhood useful resource. For a lot of, the decline in high quality of life has been devastating,” Raike stated in an emailed assertion.
In response to the letter, a consultant from Sutter Well being stated their unique assertion nonetheless stands: “This isn’t a neighborhood pool and has by no means been publicly funded” as a result of it has no acquired solely philanthropic donations via a fundraising marketing campaign.
“The continued uncertainty offered by COVID-19, our give attention to offering high quality acute care companies, and our continued efforts to be good stewards of our sources have led us to shut this system,” the spokesperson stated. of Sutter.