Voters Approve Measure To Fund West Contra Costa Healthcare District
About 84% of voters in West Contra Costa County voted to approve a measure on the June 8 ballot that will assess single-family homeowners a $52 annual tax to help fund Doctors Medical Center San Pablo and its emergency department, the Contra Costa Times reports. Measure D, which required a two-thirds majority to pass, will raise an estimated $6.1 million per year for the West Contra Costa Healthcare District (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 6/9). The district plans to take over operations at Doctors in August after Tenet Healthcare, the hospital's current operator, ends its contract with the hospital July 31 (California Healthline, 4/30). Without a significant increase in funding, the 200-bed facility -- which serves patients in El Cerrito, Hercules, Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo -- would have been forced to close, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (St. John, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9). The passage of Measure D was "vital to health care far beyond the boundaries of the district," according to the Times. Doctors operates West Contra Costa County's only full-service ED, and health and government officials said that closure of the department could have forced its 40,000 patients per year to seek emergency care in other counties (Contra Costa Times, 6/9). Officials for the health care district said that the hospital, which currently has a $150 million annual budget under Tenet, could become self-sufficient but added that the tax revenue is needed to demonstrate to lenders that the district will be able to pay off $30 million to $40 million in startup costs, the Chronicle reports (San Francisco Chronicle, 6/9).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.