HOSPITAL WARS: Community Memorial, Ventura County Medical Center May Cooperate
Ending several years of intense rivalry, Community Memorial Hospital has proposed working with Ventura County Medical Center "to create a single regional medical center." The two hospitals "cooperated fully for decades but battled in recent years over patients as policy changes put the institutions in greater competition," the Los Angeles Times reports. However, both hospitals now face costly retrofitting to comply with the state's new earthquake standards, which is making a merger more attractive. In addition, both hospitals are only half full at any given time and have duplicative services, such as neonatal intensive care units. Michael Bakst, executive director of Community Medical, said, "I see this as an opportunity to minimize expense, maximize service and create for the community a situation where its two premier medical facilities are working together." The Times reports that a "majority of the county Board of Supervisors," which must approve any merger by county-owned Community Medical, "welcomed the initiative" (Kelley, 10/3).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.