Union Critical of Hospital Chain’s Bond Proposal
The Service Employees International Union, United Healthcare Workers-West is calling on Contra Costa County to examine the state's offering of $200 million in tax-exempt bonds to the not-for-profit John Muir Health, the East Bay Business Times reports. The union alleges that the offer is inappropriate because of the hospital group's for-profit ventures.
The union has criticized John Muir's strategy of building outpatient services through partnerships with for-profit companies. The union says it wants the county to ensure John Muir and its affiliates pay appropriate taxes.
During the past 18 months, John Muir has entered into two additional joint ventures with for-profit entities, increasing to five the total number of such ventures in which the not-for-profit hospital group has at least a 50% stake.
Gus Kramer, Contra Costa County assessor, said that his office will look into the union's allegations but foresees complications because John Muir is a combination of private and public sector, not-for-profit and for-profit ventures.
According to the hospital's bond documents, John Muir's management anticipates an "increasing likelihood" that outpatient services will be provided through joint ventures with private companies and physician groups.
John Muir's bond proposal calls for accessing funds from the California Statewide Communities Development Authority, which provides local governments and private entities access to tax-exempt financing (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 10/6).