SONOMA COUNTY: One Thousand Sign on in Support of Palm Drive
Supporters of Palm Drive Hospital in Sonoma are closer to obtaining a spot for their hospital district measure on the April election ballot. Volunteers have collected 1,000 of the 6,000 signatures they hope to solicit by the end of the month. Although supporters need only 3,371 signatures of registered voters (12% of the county electorate) to proceed, they plan to acquire about twice that amount "to ensure they end up with enough valid ones." If the signature campaign is successful, Sonoma County voters will decide this April whether to create a west Sonoma County hospital district. Hospital supporters view the measure as a vital step in their overall effort to save Palm Drive from closure, "one that would permit the district to issue about $4 million in bonds to buy the facility and issue a contract for medical care." Last year, a group of local leaders and doctors put up $2 million, one-third of the hospital's $6-million price tag, to keep the previous owners, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., from closing the facility's doors. If approved, the hospital district would stretch from Guerneville to Bogeda Bay and include the Twin Hills, Gravenstein, Sebastopol, Oak Grove, Forestville, Monte Rio and Harmony school districts, as well as the part of Shoreline in Sonoma County. Campaign manager Bill Wood "said the volunteer signature collectors were very encouraged by the enthusiasm they encountered for keeping Palm Drive Hospital open" (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/14).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.