Santa Paula City Council Creates Health Care Agency To Develop Reorganization Plan for Santa Paula Memorial Hospital
Members of the Santa Paula City Council on Monday voted unanimously to form a new public health care agency that would work to reopen Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, a 49-bed facility that operated the only emergency department between the cities of Santa Clarita and Ventura, the Ventura County Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 5/4). The hospital's board of trustees in December filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Santa Barbara, three days after the board closed the facility. Documents filed with the court listed no claims or creditors, but board members have said that the not-for-profit hospital has debts of about $7.5 million and about 400 creditors. The hospital board and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors have been negotiating since June 2003 in an effort to make Santa Paula Memorial part of the county health care system to allow the hospital to remain open (California Healthline, 4/26). The new agency, which is a joint powers collaboration between the city of Santa Paula and the Redevelopment Agency of Santa Paula, is charged with creating a reorganization plan for the hospital. The Santa Paula Community Healthcare Authority will present the plan to U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robin Riblet for approval (Ventura County Star, 5/4).
City council members said the new agency, which will have its first organizational meeting May 11, would not be permitted to impede continuing discussions between the current hospital board; county health officials; Kare Healthcare of Pasadena; and the Pinnacle Development Group, an Arizona-based developer that has offered to purchase the hospital property (Covarrubias, Los Angeles Times, 5/5). The Star reports that the council also voted on Monday to continue to encourage a partnership deal that would reopen the hospital under the auspices of Ventura County Medical Center (Ventura County Star, 5/4). Hospital board Chair Phil Romney said the council's decision was "a smart thing to do," adding, "It will give us an opportunity to complete the steps we've taken to reopen the hospital. And they have a vehicle by which they could operate a facility if they needed to" (Los Angeles Times, 5/5).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.