Ventura County Medical Center, Community Memorial Hospital Reach Agreement on Renovations
In the latest development in a "long hospital war," Community Memorial Hospital has agreed to support upgrades of Ventura County Medical Center's laboratory and kitchen, the Los Angeles Times reports. Community Memorial had viewed the renovations "as a precursor to expanding" county-run Ventura County Medical Center to accomodate more patients. For the last 10 years, the two hospitals -- located within two blocks of each other in Ventura County -- have battled over "which hospital will capture a prized patient market" in the county. Most recently, the hospitals fought over who should control the county's $260 million tobacco settlement funds. To that end, 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 state ballot last year. Voters defeated the initiative. Under the new agreement, Community Memorial no longer will oppose County's upgrades and in return, the county will not extend its "low-cost health care plan to private-sector patients." Late last year, County Supervisor Frank Schillo had proposed expanding the county's plan to the uninsured working poor. But Community Memorial believed that marketing for the county's plan was a "grab at business" and positioned the two hospitals as "competitors" for the same pool of customers. Under the agreement, the county also has agreed not to expand its specialty clinic network and to send some patients with cardiac conditions to Community Memorial (Dirmann, Los Angeles Times, 3/8).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.