Natividad Medical Center, Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce Collaborate on Radio Campaign on the Uninsured
Natividad Medical Center and the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce are collaborating on a series of radio advertisements to coincide with "Cover the Uninsured Week," a move that officials say represents "the first ste[p] toward a new era of cooperation between the two Salinas institutions," the Monterey County Herald reports (Livernois, Monterey County Herald, 5/11). In January, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors began considering several options for the county-owned medical center in Salinas, including closing it and selling it to another provider. Financial analysts expect the hospital to report a profit this fiscal year after a series of cost-cutting measures, but they say that increasing operating costs could result in an $8.8 million budget deficit in the next fiscal year (California Healthline, 3/25). In December, Monterey County voters rejected Measure Q, which would have increased the county sales tax by a half-cent to fund Natividad. The measure would have raised as much as $25 million per year for the hospital (California Healthline, 1/9). According to the Herald, supporters of Measure Q were "stung" when the chamber did not endorse the tax increase because of what the chamber called "flaws in the ballot language." Natividad treats the majority of the uninsured patients in Monterey County, the Herald reports.
Cherie Stock, a spokesperson for Natividad, said that the chamber's recent actions -- including its participation in the ad campaign -- seem to signal that it is willing to work with the hospital to find a solution to some of the problems facing the area's health care system. "Given the acrimony that came out of Measure Q, this is a chance to leave all that behind and an opportunity to put [the chamber] at the forefront," Stock said. Lloyd Lowrey, a Salinas attorney who was involved in creating the ads, said that the chamber and Natividad have joined together to "tr[y] to figure out how to handle health care" in the area (Monterey County Herald, 5/11).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.