SONOMA COUNTY: Healdsburg Hospital Entertains Suitors
"Five potential suitors are lined up at Healdsburg General Hospital's front door, some with more ardor than others," the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Mary Schwind, CEO of the hospital, said seven potential buyers have approached Healdsburg, the smallest hospital in the county, and five "appear to be serious." Those five are: the Adventist Health Redbud Community Hospital in Clearlake, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa, Warrack Hospital in Santa Rosa and North County Hospital Association. The "most ardent suitor so far" is the North County Hospital Association, said Dr. Dan Rose of Healdsburg. The association "includes many North County physicians and business people interested in keeping alive the largest employer in Healdsburg." The Press Democrat reports that Healdsburg's parent company, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., set a June deadline by which the hospital must find a buyer or be shut down. According to Chris Holden, president of Columbia's Western Division Pacific Group, the hospital must have a deal approved or Columbia "will begin the six-month process of closing the hospital."
The Press Democrat reports that the hospital's revenues have "dropped $3 million over the past three years" and that it lost $161,000 in January. Just last week, the Healdsburg City Council voted to spend $15,000 assessing the hospital's worth -- "usually the first step in selling or finding a partner." According to industry analysts, the hospital's "physical plant, property and equipment are worth about $6.5 million," and the hospital pays "$11 million annually in property taxes, depreciation and debt service." Healdsburg trustee Mark Gladden said, "It's really too early for anyone to accurately assess what's going to happen here. But no matter what, it's very heartening to see the kind of community response we're getting" (Lauer, 3/27).