Ventura County Medical Center Administrator to Resign, Led Efforts to Expand Facility, Health Clinics
Ventura County Medical Center Administrator Dr. Sam Edwards plans to resign the position next month but will stay with the hospital to oversee "special projects" for an interim period, the Los Angeles Times reports. During his tenure with the hospital, Edwards helped modernize the facility and oversaw a "controversial expansion" of the facility's health clinics, which improved care for the uninsured and reduced visits to the facility's emergency room for primary care. Edwards also led the hospital's fight with Community Memorial Hospital, which opposed the county's efforts to upgrade facilities and add a wing to the county hospital (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 2/11). The two hospitals -- located within two blocks of each other -- had battled over market share in the county. Community Memorial had viewed the renovations as a precursor to expanding county-run Ventura County Medical Center to accomodate more patients. In addition, the two hospitals fought over who should control the county's $260 million tobacco settlement funds. Community Memorial led a group of private hospitals in placing Measure O, an initiative that would have transferred control of the funds from the county supervisors to private hospitals, on the 2000 ballot, but voters defeated the initiative. Last March, the two hospitals reached an agreement in which Community Memorial no longer would oppose County's upgrades to its kitchen and laboratory facilities and in return, the county would not extend its low-cost health care plan to private-sector patients (California Healthline, 3/8/01). Edwards will be replaced by Michael Powers, a county attorney who most recently worked as the county Health Care Agency's compliance officer (Los Angeles Times, 2/11).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.