SAN DIEGO COUNTY: Supervisors Change Direction on Edgemoor — Again
San Diego County supervisors and labor leaders joined forces Tuesday, despite being "at each other's throats" in the past, to support the rebuilding of Edgemoor Hospital, a county-run nursing home. Supervisor Dianne Jacob presented a plan that would allow the county to "carve out" sites for the new Edgemoor Hospital, an expanded women's jail and a senior health campus, selling or leasing the remaining land to the highest bidder. Dr. Robert Ross, head of the county Health and Human Services Agency, opposed reconstruction two years ago, but now supports the plan, saying, "things have changed." Referring to a new Democratic governor, a stronger economy and a brighter financial future for the county, Ross claims that certain factors have helped reduce the financial risk for a "new Edgemoor." Also, state legislation passed this fall will allow San Diego County to apply for a federal reimbursement after construction is completed and the building is occupied. But Ross still has reservations about the plans and the expected $35 to $40 million price tag. He said, "My ongoing concern has been that the building ... and operation of a new Edgemoor could potentially pose a huge risk to the agency budget," adding that the county could also possibly "lose its special Medi-Cal reimbursement rate," driving up annual costs from $3.5 million to $13 million. County supervisors instructed Chief Administrative Officer Walt Ekard to "return in 90 days" and present analysis on how much land to set aside and how much to sell or lease and to provide prepared documents "to solicit bids for the transaction." Jacob says of the plan, "I think this provides us with a different opportunity ... a better opportunity" (Rother, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/10). But not all share Jacob's enthusiasm: An editorial in the San Diego Union-Tribune calls the proposal a "very promising idea," but deems the solution "risky." The authors "can't help but wonder how many more twists and turns will occur before the protracted Edgemoor saga is concluded" (11/11).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.