Stanford University statement on Measure F in Palo Alto

Stanford University

Stanford University opposes Measure F, an initiative on the November ballot in the City of Palo Alto, because it would threaten Stanford Health Care’s ability to provide top-quality health care to patients from Palo Alto and across the region.

Supported by the research engine of Stanford University, Stanford Health Care is one of the nation’s leading health care providers and is committed to providing the highest quality care to patients from Palo Alto, the Bay Area and around the world. As an academic medical center, Stanford Health Care often serves critically ill patients with complex medical needs. It receives more than 680,000 ambulatory visits and 53,000 emergency room visits annually, and offers the only Level 1 trauma center between San Francisco and San Jose.

Measure F proposes to limit charges to commercially insured patients at Stanford Health Care – as well as at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Kaiser Permanente affiliates and other health care providers in the city – to no more than 15 percent above the “reasonable cost” of providing “direct” patient care. Such a policy is estimated to reduce Stanford Health Care’s budget by 25 percent, requiring significant cutbacks and the possible closure of many services and programs that are essential to high-quality health care in the local area.

The proposal generally would not affect what patients actually are charged for services, but rather would force Stanford Health Care to pay any rebates to insurance companies. Meanwhile, it would prevent Stanford Health Care from being paid for managers, technology and administrative expenses, and hospital services required by state law.

Measure F also would require the City of Palo Alto to create a costly new regulatory structure to enforce the new regulations.

Stanford also opposes Measure U, a similar measure in the City of Livermore, where Stanford Health Care operates ValleyCare Medical Center.

The university typically does not take positions on external political issues unless they directly impact its mission. These measures do. The patient care provided by Stanford Health Care is an integral part of Stanford University’s mission and is a major part of the university’s contribution to the health and quality of life of our region. As with any election issue, the university encourages individual members of the university community to review the facts of the issue and cast an informed vote, whatever their final judgment on the merits of the issue.