Arias, Bredefeld ask Bonta to launch investigation into Valley Children’s

The two Fresno City Councilmembers penned a letter to Rob Bonta over concerns about the hospital’s operations.

Fresno City Councilmembers Miguel Arias and Garry Bredefeld made an official request to Attorney General Rob Bonta launch an investigation into the operations of Valley Children’s Hospital. 

The letter comes one week after they raised their concerns to the public and said they would reach out to Bonta. 


The big picture: Arias and Bredefeld write that they have “deep concern and dismay” at the revelations surround the hospital. 

  • They pointed to the 2021 tax returns, which show Valley Children’s paid 28 executives nearly $27 million, which was nearly double other comparable children’s hospitals in California. 
  • They also pointed out that Suntrapak was paid a total compensation package of over $5 million in both 2020 and 2021, as well as the $5 million forgivable home loan that Suntrapak received in 2021 as a retention bonus. 
  • “In tax year 2021, the most poorly paid Valley Children’s executive earned 10.2 times the per capita income of a City of Fresno resident,” the letter reads. 

The other side: Valley Children’s sent a letter to the Fresno City Council on Wednesday addressing reports by The Sun and others over the compensation given out to Suntrapak and others.

  • Valley Children’s Healthcare Board Chair Michael Hanson, the former superintendent of Fresno Unified School District, said the hospital shifted when it hands out performance bonuses, resulting in the inflated number for 2021. 

Go deeper: Arias and Bredefeld also pointed out the $124.5 million in offshore investments that Valley Children’s listed in its tax returns, saying it is unclear if those include Medi-Cal proceeds. 

  • “Since excessive executive pay was discovered, our offices have received numerous complaints from employees and patients at Valley Children’s Hospital regarding significant operational gaps,” they wrote. “Our deep and abiding concerns regarding the possible misuse of hospital funds, lack of transparency, disregard from board trustees, and quality of care necessitate intervention from your office.”

What they’re saying: Valley Children’s sent the following statement attributed to Hanson on Thursday afternoon to select media outlets, which was later acquired by The Sun:

  • “It is clear that these two local elected officials – including one in the midst of a political campaign – are simply calling for this investigation today to garner further publicity for themselves. It is disturbing to see elected officials attempt to use children’s healthcare to garner media coverage.
  • “Valley Children’s Healthcare has already made public the facts that refute the erroneous claims of these two politicians. It has been our careful fiscal stewardship and the sound management of our investments that has enabled Valley Children’s to remain financially strong at a time when many other local hospitals are struggling or closing their doors.
  • “This financial strength allows us to cover the cost of high-quality care that is far greater than what we receive from Medi-Cal and to carry out the mission of this organization – to provide high quality, comprehensive services to children, regardless of their ability to pay.
  • “We are proud that our team of caring doctors, nurses and the rest of our staff are able to provide this care to the children of our community as we have for more than 70 years.”
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