Since 1948 the Eden Township Healthcare District has served Castro Valley, Hayward, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, and the unincorporated areas of Ashland, Cherryland and Fairview.
It was originally formed to build Eden Hospital which opened in 1954.
In 1997 the district entered into a deal with the Sutter Health chain to operate Eden Hospital.
Similar arrangements were later extended to cover San Leandro Hospital, which the district acquired in 2004.
In a series of agreements, disagreements and, eventually, lawsuits, Sutter Health rebuilt Eden Hospital and finalized its control over San Leandro Hospital.
Against this backdrop, the governing board of Eden Township Healthcare District met last week to mull its purpose and future as an entity without a hospital, as reported in the East Bay Citizen blog.
The blog quoted district CEO Dev Mahadevan telling associates that the body needed "a convincing story to tell. Why should we need to exist?"
The same report suggested a raison d'etre advanced by district board member Dr. Vin Sawhney: to open urgent care centers that would compete with hospital-run emergency rooms and offer services at a fraction of the cost.
Whatever its rationale, the East Bay Citizen report suggests that the district should find it soon.
A county body called the Local Agency Formation Commission or LAFCO is informally assessing its purpose and viability.