San Mateo County Establishes New Hospitals Department, Hires Director
San Mateo County supervisors Tuesday established a new county Department of Hospitals and Clinics and hired a director to administer the department, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Nancy Steiger, CEO of Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, will head the new department (Pence, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/16). County supervisors voted unanimously to separate San Mateo County General Hospital and affiliated clinics from the county Health Services Agency to establish the new department. They said that move would "expedite decision making in trimming costs and upping revenue" at the hospital (Whitney, San Mateo County Times, 1/16). The Chronicle reports that Steiger will lead a department plagued with "financial woes" -- including a $3 million debt -- as a result of reductions in government reimbursement rates for care of the uninsured and higher energy costs. The new department has a staff of about 800 and an annual budget of $140 million. The Chronicle reports that most of the 20 California counties that operate their own hospitals "are grappling with diminishing revenue and rising health care costs," and San Mateo County "is no exception." County Manager John Maltbie said that as a result, the county "needs a separate organizational unit that more mirrors how hospitals operate in the private sector so that they can be more responsive" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/16).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.