District Approves Measure Allowing Residents To Vote on Tax for Doctors Medical Center
The West Contra Costa Healthcare District board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed June ballot measure that would establish an annual parcel tax to fund the Doctors Medical Center San Pablo/Pinole, which operates the only full-service emergency department in West Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Times reports. The tax is expected to raise about $6 million per year and would provide the district with "breathing-room" when Santa Barbara-based Tenet Healthcare, which currently operates Doctors Medical Center, terminates its lease July 31, Jim Beaver, the district's executive director, said. District officials said that the tax, which would take effect July 1, would provide the immediate operating capital the hospital will need beginning Aug. 1 to remain open and would provide long-term stability for the hospital, according to the Times. The ballot measure would require home owners to pay $52 per property annually, small apartment building owners to pay $104 and owners of large commercial and industrial parcels to pay $1,040. District residents will vote on the tax by mail ballots, scheduled to be distributed June 8. Beaver said that Doctors Medical Center admits about 70% of its 400,000 annual patients through the ED, adding that about 25% of all patients are uninsured (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 3/10).
The San Francisco Chronicle on Tuesday examined the "uncertainty surrounding" the future of Doctors Medical Center after Tenet terminates its lease with the district at the end of July. District officials are in "preliminary discussions with about a dozen companies interested in running the hospital" but have not received any offers yet, the Chronicle reports (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/9).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.