SAN JOAQUIN: General Hospital’s $1M Profit Calls Merger into Question
San Joaquin General Hospital, "the county-owned hospital that is considered to be so financially troubled that county officials are courting a private partner," surprised onlookers with a $1 million surplus for FY 1998, according to hospital officials. The San Joaquin Record reports that this news -- coupled with reports that its potential partner, St. Joseph's Regional Health System, recorded a $6.6 million loss last year -- has many opponents of the proposed public-private partnership questioning "whether the county's system would be better off remaining independent." Ron Bernasconi of the Communitywide Healthcare Coalition, a group opposed to the merger, said, "The entire environment has changed since this idea was hatched. ... The question needs to be asked, what's in this for the county?" St. Joseph CFO Richard Canning said that his system "would break even by the end of 1999" and that "new strategies" and "renegotiated" managed care contracts would "bring the hospital back in the black in future years." President and CEO Ed Schroeder "said any partnership would protect both entities from losses the other suffered." He said, "It makes sense to look at a partnership. We have services that overlap. Combined services would benefit the community, and that's what we're interested in." The Record reports that county supervisors will decide the issue next month (Martin, 2/16).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.