Local Foundation’s Purchase Provides ‘Stability’ for Ojai Valley Community Hospital
Since physicians and community leaders formed a not-for-profit foundation and purchased Ojai Valley Community Hospital last year, a "sense of stability has settled over the hospital," despite financial uncertainty, the Los Angeles Times reports. Operating on a $14 million budget, the 110-bed hospital is making a slight profit at a time when two-thirds of hospitals statewide are losing money. Ojai Valley hospital directors "believe they can save the 40-year-old institution by eliminating shareholders and pouring profits, however slight, back into the facility," the Times reports. Last month, the hospital began an "ambitious" fund-raising campaign, which raised $50,000 in donations from local physicians and $15,000 from other community residents. Later this year, the hospital plans to launch the second phase of the campaign, designed to gather donations for capital improvements. In addition, Ojai Valley directors are planning to start an endowment fund. However, the hospital faces $1 million to $2 million in seismic retrofitting costs by 2008. Further, getting more residents to use the facility "remains a challenge," as the facility's previous owners closed the maternity ward last year, forcing many women to travel 30 minutes to the nearest hospitals. Last month, the facility's directors held a forum to determine what services the community would like at the hospital. Residents expressed support for reopening the maternity ward and developing partnerships with local health spas. Jim Lott, senior vice president of the Healthcare Association of Southern California, said, "The important ingredient to succeeding is community support. You have to have a commitment to use the facility" (Wilson, Los Angeles Times, 6/18).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.