Dirty Laundry

Literally and figuratively, the UCSF-Stanford hospital merger gets fouler every day

In the Aug. 19 memo, the infection control officers stated "there is the concern regarding separation of linen that may have had contact with animal care procedures especially with respect to Q fever [a flulike sickness with which some animals at UCSF are infected]."

The infection control officers recommended that the linen from animal care and patient care be segregated.

When the laundry service was contracted out, Speier's office had asked that UCSF at least keep all the laundry equipment it owned at Oyster Point until the merger's future is resolved -- in case UCSF winds up doing its own laundry again.

Jo Rivers

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But eyewitnesses say Sodexho Marriott has already taken small equipment, such as folding machines, sewing machines, and laundry carts, from Oyster Point. The equipment may well have been a part of the deal to contract out the linen, which would be perfectly legal. Except that, the laundry equipment belonged to the University of California and, under the merger agreement, was leased to USHC.

Underneath all the fray over management and contracting and service lines, the mess at UCSF Stanford Health Care is a tragic metaphor for the state of public health care. The suits that run the hospitals are trying to cut costs. The folks wearing the lab coats are trying to find out what causes cancer. The patients want clean sheets.

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