With donations, Sutter bonds get final approval

After months of negotiations, northern California's Sutter Health has gotten final state approval for a $910 million bond issue, but only after the health system agreed to substantial donations to rural hospitals and clinics. Sutter will use $750 million for facility upgrades and new construction, including major expansion of its Sutter Roseville Medical Center and Sutter Amador Hospital. The remaining $160 million will go to refinancing long-term debt at more favorable interest rates. However, to get the approval of the California Health Facilities Financing Authority (CHFFA), Sutter had to agree to sweeten the pot by committing $4 million over the next six years to rural hospitals and $750,000 a year to rural clinics. State authorities now say that they're likely to impose similar conditions on future bond issuers. Sutter had hoped to complete the process last year. However, CHFFA withheld its approval for months more, in part due to urging from unions, who pressed the authority to make sure Sutter passed some of the bond benefits back to the community.

To learn more about the financing deal:
- read this item in the Sacramento Bee