North Sonoma County Healthcare District takes the next step in ensuring long-term security and viability for the Critical Access Hospital
North Sonoma County Healthcare District (NSCHD) is pleased to announce it has taken the next step and agreed to terms with NorCal HealthConnect, LLC, a secular affiliate of Providence St. Joseph Health, to purchase Healdsburg District Hospital.
In accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in March, the parties have participated in numerous discussions refining the details of a resolution that was adopted by the NSCHD Board this week. The resolution formalizes a purchase of the District hospital and associated clinic assets, includes assurance of seismic compliance, and guarantees continuation of existing District services far into the future.
“Our Partnership Committee and Board of Directors have worked hard to craft a fair and comprehensive agreement, and to finalize what has been a multi-year conversation with Providence St. Joseph Health. This agreement offers the community the security of preserving the hospital’s essential departments and continuing the century-long history it has of serving the community,” said Healdsburg District Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer, James P. Schuessler.
According to NSCHD Board Chair, Erin Gore, “The NSCHD board believes that this purchase will provide the best assurance that the residents of the District will receive continued, long-term access to acute care hospital services, including the 24/7 emergency room. A larger network can bring additional value into our District by expanding access to comprehensive services and implementing Community Benefit initiatives and programs to address our community’s needs.”
“We are excited that the parties have come to terms on the purchase of Healdsburg District Hospital,” said Kevin Klockenga, Regional Chief Executive for Providence St. Joseph Health, Northern California. “This partnership would ensure that North Sonoma County continues to have access to a Critical Access Hospital to serve its community members.”
The next milestones are finalizing the purchase agreement and seeking voter approval in November. The ballot measure for the proposed agreement will not require additional taxes from the District. If approved, the closing date will be on or before December 31, 2020.
“Our expectation is that voters will support this initiative to ensure availability of the quality health care they will need well into the future,” said Schuessler. “This agreement will put the hospital on solid financial footing, reducing the uncertainty that small hospitals face in today’s unstable economic environment.”
Voters can familiarize themselves with this agreement in the coming months as they prepare to make their decision in the upcoming election. Board minutes are located on the hospital’s website: www.HealdsburgHospital.org. The District will hold three public forums in August to further discuss the transaction and answer questions.
Between the closing date and the effective date, the parties will enter into a transition period with a management services agreement to maintain District operation of the hospital and its clinics without interruption. Active employees will have their wages and benefits maintained, with no benefit adjustments for at least 12 months after the closing.
In addition, the hospital will continue to operate as a Medicare-designated Critical Access Hospital (“CAH”) for at least 30 years and maintain a 24/7 dedicated emergency department in accordance with state and federal statutes and regulations.