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Board of Directors Forgives Loan to Tri-City Health Center

Fremont, Calif. – The Washington Township Health Care District Board of Directors voted Wednesday night in favor of forgiving the balance of an emergency, low-interest loan it provided to Tri-City Health Center in 2007. The loan became necessary when the center was facing financial instability due to a surge in uninsured patient volume and a delay in the State of California’s approval for Tri-City’s Medi-Cal reimbursement. The Board agreed to forgive the remaining balance and interest on the loan, in the amount of $150,084.67, under the condition that this money be allocated to a restricted fund for the specific purpose of the provision of primary care health services through Tri-City Health Center to Washington Township Health Care District residents who are uninsured. Tri-City Health Center has experienced spikes in uninsured patients in 2009-2010, and will provide quarterly reports on how such funds are being utilized.

“For the most vulnerable in our society -- the poor, underserved and uninsured -- the availability of health care services through a clinic like Tri-City Health Center is vitally important,” said Bernard Stewart, DDS, president of the Washington Township Health Care District board of directors. “Given the reduction of funding from the State, we took this action to ensure that Tri-City Health Center continues to remain a health care option to the residents of the District.”

Tri-City Health Center serves 22,000 patients, of which 77 percent fall below the poverty level and 48 percent are uninsured, who make 86,000 clinic visits a year. The Center focuses on preventive care and keeping its patients healthy, rather than simply treating illnesses, and provides a broad spectrum of services ranging from nutritional counseling to pediatric immunizations so that its patients can seek care before a medical problem becomes serious and requires an emergency room visit and costly treatment.

“If it weren’t for Tri-City Health Center providing needed care, it’s safe to say that our emergency room -- which already ranks second in Alameda County in terms of patient volume -- would quickly become not only the busiest but overwhelmed as well,” said Nancy Farber, chief executive officer of Washington Hospital Healthcare System. “Tri-City Health Center is an important safety net for our community.”

In 2007, the Board of Directors took action on the loan, which was being provided to TriCity Health Center at an interest rate of three percent. Tri-City Health Center subsequently met the covenants of the loan agreement and was in the process of repaying the loan. Washington Township Health Care District is governed by an elected board of directors. Unlike a municipal or county hospital, Washington Hospital’s operating expenses, research, community programs, and employee salaries are funded by revenues generated through providing patient and other health care services.

Washington Hospital Healthcare System includes a 359-bed acute-care hospital; the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute; The Gamma Knife® Center; Washington Radiation Oncology Center; Washington Outpatient Surgery Center; Washington Outpatient Rehabilitation Center; Washington Outpatient Catheterization Laboratory; Washington Center for Joint Replacement; the Institute for Minimally Invasive and Robotic Surgery; and Washington West, a complex which houses Washington Women’s Center, Outpatient Imaging Center and additional outpatient hospital services and administrative facilities.