ADVENTIST HEALTH: Voters to Decide Purchase of Selma Hospital
Voters will decide today whether Roseville-based Adventist Health System, a billion-dollar, private, not-for-profit health system affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church, may acquire Selma District Hospital, a 40-year-old hospital funded partially by local taxpayers, the Fresno Bee reports. Selma had been struggling to maintain its $14 million operating budget with the $66,000 it received from tax revenues each year. "This vote is critical in order to ensure and enhance health care for the citizens of Selma and future residents," said Lawrence Alderete, president of Selma District Hospital's board of directors, noting that rural hospitals in the area have been struggling to compete and often require the "financial and management backing of large, established health care partners." While the district's five-member board approved the sale in March, the hospital's taxpayer-supported status requires a majority vote from voters before the purchase can proceed. The purchase proposal surfaced almost two years ago when Adventist took over management of the hospital, but was stalled by residents' fears "about losing local control to an out-of-town religious-affiliated corporation." Although Ernst & Young valued the hospital and its assets at $4 or $5 million, Adventist would purchase it with $8 million, absorbing $4 million in bond debt and $4 million in liabilities. Adventist would also spend $500,000 on physician recruitment and $2.3 million on hospital improvements. The hospital's Cultural Arts Center would be sold to the city, and two local representatives would serve on an Adventist governing board (Correa, 6/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.