Ventura County Board of Supervisors Agrees to Negotiations With Santa Paula Hospital
The Ventura County Board of Supervisors yesterday voted 5-0 to begin negotiations to bring Santa Paula Memorial Hospital into the county's heath care system in an attempt to save the financially "struggling" facility, the Los Angeles Times reports (Kelley/Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 6/4). Santa Paula -- the area's only general hospital and emergency room -- announced last month that the facility's debt has reached $3.7 million, that it is having difficulty making its $200,000 biweekly payroll and that late payments for medical supplies have led some vendors to withhold further deliveries (California Healthline, 5/30). The supervisors appointed a negotiating team to be headed by county Health Care Agency Director Pierre Durand; county Executive Officer Johnny Johnston will oversee the committee directly and former county hospital administrator Samuel Edwards will serve as a consultant. Under the agreement, the county would "gain a stronger foothold" in the Santa Clara Valley health care market -- worth about $50 million a year -- which according to the Times is dominated by Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura and St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard; Santa Paula has annual revenues of about $12 million to $13 million but has a $3.7 million debt and has not been profitable since 1988. Hospital Chair Philip Romney said he expects the facility to come to an agreement with the county in four to six weeks. The Santa Paula City Council yesterday also "back[ed] away" from taking legal action against the hospital and endorsed the facility's partnership with the county (Los Angeles Times, 6/4).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.