Santa Paula Hospital Considering Deal With Community Memorial Hospital
Officials at Santa Paula Memorial Hospital on Wednesday indicated that the hospital may affiliate with private Community Memorial Hospital to prevent it from closing after negotiations for a similar arrangement with Ventura County have become "troubled," the Ventura County Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 10/16). The Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted in June to begin negotiations to bring the hospital into the county's heath care system. Santa Paula -- the area's only general hospital and emergency room -- announced in May that the facility's debt had reached $3.7 million, that it was having difficulty making its $200,000 biweekly payroll and that late payments for medical supplies had led some vendors to withhold further deliveries. Negotiations were expected to last four to six weeks (California Healthline, 6/4). Dr. Logan Bundy, a member of Santa Paula's negotiating team, said that hospital and county officials have been unable to resolve how the hospital's debts would be restructured to prevent the county from having to assume any additional liability. County Supervisor Kathy Long said the process has been impeded by Santa Paula's failure to provide financial information in a "forthright manner," according to the Star. Dr. Michael Tushla, chief of the medical staff at Santa Paula and a board member, said that given the negotiation difficulties with the county and the "dire need" to keep the 49-bed facility open, Santa Paula is considering a deal with CMH, which first suggested an affiliation in January, the Star reports. The Santa Paula board did not act on the offer because of a staff disagreement at CMH. Currently, CMH and Santa Paula officials are trying to work out a confidentiality agreement that would allow a CMH consultant to review Santa Paula's finances (Ventura County Star, 10/16).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.