John Muir/Mt. Diablo Could Merge with Large Hospital System, Contra Costa Times Says
If "history is a guide," the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System could merge with a large hospital chain, the Contra Costa Times reports. The Times says that in many Bay Area hospital mergers, a facility, seeking to escape "increasing debt," will merge with another nearby community hospital. After a few years, the merged system might still be struggling to stay "out of the red" and will "consequently hoo[k] up with a large hospital chain." John Borsos, hospital division director for the Service Employees International Union Local 250, said, "If you look at example after example, a merger like John Muir and Mt. Diablo was a transition to a larger health system." John Muir/Mt. Diablo is an "appealing target" for Sutter Health because the chain would "fill a big geographic hole" by merging with the system. Further, an affiliation with Sutter "offers [John Muir/Mt. Diablo] security and a way to cut costs by accessing Sutter's competitive contracts with health insurers," the Times reports. But a John Muir/Mt.Diablo spokesperson said the system has "no intention of joining forces" with any hospital chain (Silber, Contra Costa Times, 6/24).
In other John Muir/Mt. Diablo news, the system's board of directors will vote tonight on a proposal to close the Mt. Diablo birthing center and consolidate labor-and-delivery services at John Muir. System CEO and President J. Kendall Anderson "wants to get past this decision" so that system officials can "work to enhance" Mt. Diablo's strengths (Ashley, Contra Costa Times, 6/24). Meanwhile, John Muir/Mt. Diablo's negotiations with the city of Brentwood on a medical campus have "hit serious roadblocks." Brentwood officials have expressed "skepticism" over what the system "might build and when," the Times reports. The system has an option to buy land in the area, which it proposes to turn in part into a medical campus. Anderson has said the campus will "develop slowly" and might result in a 100-bed hospital, but only "if market demand warranted it." But officials worry that the system might instead sell the land for commercial development, and some want John Muir/Mt. Diablo to commit to building at least a 15,000-square-foot medical building before it can do so. The Brentwood City Council is scheduled to vote on a development agreement July 10 (Peele, Contra Costa Times, 6/24).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.