SAN JOAQUIN: Public Health Bidding Bonanza Dwindles
After narrowly deciding to pursue a private partnership to provide public health care, San Joaquin County Health Care Services, which runs San Joaquin General Hospital, has lost another potential partner. With Sutter Health's decision to pull its bid from the table, the "164-million-1-year agency" is left to entertain a single joint bid from the University of California-Davis Health System and Catholic Healthcare West. Critics charge the "narrowing of applicants -- four initially had expressed interest -- bodes ill" for San Joaquin: with the county serving many of the region's poorest patients, Sutter's pullout raises doubts that the indigent will receive sufficient care. But County Health Care Services Director Michael Smith said that Sutter's departure from the negotiating table "changes little. The remaining proposal still will be judged against a criteria of what is best for the county." The Modesto Bee reports that the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors is scheduled in March to decide whether to continue to pursue a partner. In the year since supervisors voted 3-2 to explore partnership options, Sutter Health, Tenet Healthcare Corp., and Adventist Health have all withdrawn their bids to help the agency provide health care to the county's poor (Miller, 1/22).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of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.