Mt. Diablo Health Care District Settles Lawsuit Over Closure of Birthing Center in Concord
The Mt. Diablo Health Care District has settled a lawsuit that the district filed against the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System over the health system's decision last year to close the birthing center at Mt. Diablo Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports (Hannah, Contra Costa Times, 6/15). Last June, the health system's board voted to close the birthing center at Mt. Diablo Medical Center -- the only obstetrics facility in Concord -- as a result of financial losses, including a $4 million loss in 2000 (California Healthline, 10/30/01). The decision to close the birthing center "outraged" members of the district's board, who said that the move would "jeopardize" the hospital's "ability to handle obstetrical emergencies." As a result, the district filed suit against the health system, alleging that the birthing center closure violated the state's "open-meeting" laws and a merger agreement between the district and the health system. A lower court ruled against the district, and the district's appeal "was on hold pending settlement talks." Under the settlement, announced last Friday, the district board will have an "advisory role" in the health system's decisions related to Mt. Diablo Medical Center but will have no authority over the decision. The district also "will be privy to strategic information but prohibited from publicly discussing the information." The settlement will not reopen the birthing center or "change the health system's protocol for handling obstetrical emergencies" at Mt. Diablo Medical Center, the Times reports (Contra Costa Times, 6/15).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.