Agreement Provides Funds for County Hospital
Monterey County supervisors on Tuesday approved a plan between Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula to contribute $8 million during the 2006-2007 fiscal year to improve the financial standing of Natividad Medical Center, the Monterey County Herald reports (Johnson, Monterey County Herald, 7/19). The county and hospitals had been working on a deal for three months.
Under the plan, each hospital will contribute $2.5 million this year and up to $1.5 million next year for operations or improvements at Natividad. The money cannot be used for any other county use.
The plan also will establish a new interim board of trustees, to be headed by one current county supervisor, plus two members from each hospital, among other county and hospital staff. The current board will be disbanded (Mel, Monterey County Herald, 7/18).
The interim board will have "sweeping authority" to make changes at the hospital and must recommend within 90 days a manager to oversee the hospital, the Herald reports. The manager will be required to submit within six months a short-term business plan to improve operations at the hospital (Monterey County Herald, 7/19).
Supervisor Jerry Smith acknowledged that Natividad likely will continue to require money from the county general fund. The county provided Natividad with $22 million last year and has allocated a $12 million subsidy for the hospital this fiscal year (Monterey County Herald, 7/18).
Natividad's deficit has cost the county more than $60 million since 1999 and could reach $150 million by 2012.
Monterey Medical Society Executive Director Jill Foley said that future budget shortfalls are expected and that "it is imperative that a local, sustainable and long-term funding source be identified" (Monterey County Herald, 7/19).