Contra Costa Supervisors Approve $6M Loan to Prevent Hospital Closure – Total Loan to Hospital Now $35M Since 2006

June 17, 2014 15:08 pm · 41 comments

A plan to keep Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo open in a drastically scaled-down form is moving forward with a $6 million loan from Contra Costa County.

The county’s Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 at its meeting in Martinez this morning to approve the multimillion-dollar transfer from the county’s general fund capital reserve in order to keep the financially struggling public hospital open while health care officials devise a downsized hospital model focusing on emergency care.

“We have an obligation to all the citizens of this county, and although this closure will have more of a major impact in West County, it will have a countywide impact,” Supervisor Federal Glover said.

The county’s loan, to be repaid over three years, will give Doctors Medical Center the time it needs to explore a new financially viable health care model such as a stand-alone emergency room or a much smaller facility focusing on emergency care, Contra Costa Health Services director Dr. William Walker said.

Without the cash infusion, the hospital would have to close this summer and would lose $6.4 million in property tax income along with its MediCare license, West Contra Costa Healthcare District director Eric Zell said.

“There’s a lot of angst about the change of this model, but at the end of the day, this is about providing basic health care services to that part of the county and we have to do what we have to do to get there,” Zell told the board.

Today’s vote came a week after Doctors Medical Center officials announced they had rescinded a notice to close the hospital by July 25. The hospital had been on track to shut down after voters in the

West Contra Costa Healthcare District rejected a May parcel tax measure meant to bridge its $18 million budget gap.

Supervisor Mary Piepho, the board’s sole “no” vote on the loan, cited the $29 million the county has already loaned the hospital since 2006 and its continued failure to sustain itself.

In addition to ongoing county support, the hospital has managed to stay afloat with revenue from property taxes passed by voters in 2004 and in 2005.

But with the failure of the latest tax measure in May and a structural budget deficit of $18 million due to a patient population consisting mostly of MediCare beneficiaries, hospital leaders prepared for closure.

The county’s loan won’t be enough to keep Doctors Medical Center from a dramatic downsize. Some 80 to 90 percent of its employees could be out of a job as soon as Aug. 1, according to Walker.

Several hospital employees at today’s meeting said that while the county loan is needed to keep the hospital open, a plan that includes reduced emergency services would be woefully inadequate to meet the needs of a largely low-income patient population.

down and out June 17, 2014 at 3:22 PM

good luck in ever getting the loan repaid.

VikingPrincess June 17, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Good to see our county leaders care.
Too many statewide hospital closures these days.

yes June 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

ER would be better than nothing.

Close the Borders June 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

illegals are overwhelming and bankrupting our hospitals.

The Mamba June 17, 2014 at 3:44 PM

Stop chasing bad decisions with more money, its that simple.

james June 17, 2014 at 3:50 PM

That place is a dump. It smells like urine through out the facility. I don’t even know why the state of California hasn’t shut it down for not being up to health standards.

My FIL hds a workers comp surgery there. He couldn’t wait to get out. Poor facility, rude staff and very dirty.

They should of let the place shut down years ago.

Cat Wrangler June 17, 2014 at 3:53 PM

Hats off and kudos to the Co Co Board of Sups in taking the moral high road to help keep services available in a community that would suffer without them.

Now that the loan is in place, maybe the Board can make the difficult decisions to operate a Community Clinic and separate Basic Emergency Services instead of a system where the Emergency Room triages all walk-ins from common colds and sprains to heart attacks and strokes at ER pricing and costs. Hopefully, the Board can establish a better public-private partnership with those other medical centers in the adjoining communities that are paying administrators and consultants more than they pay General Practitioners.

no handle June 17, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Remember Brookside Hospital ?
New name , same old story.

Julio June 17, 2014 at 4:31 PM

I am totally against this. Just how do they plan to repay 6 million dollars?

Bob the Repairman June 17, 2014 at 4:57 PM

If this place can’t sustain itself, then let it close. It is a business and has two columns in accounting – debit and credit. It should not be a rat hole for additional funds.

Dear Julio June 17, 2014 at 5:09 PM

Pay us back?
Hold your breath.

ant June 17, 2014 at 5:10 PM

$6 million is a tax payer gift.

NotPC June 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

#4 is entirely correct. Illegals go to the ER, obtain services and go, no payments ever. They then have the bad taste to demand we honor their culture and grant them amnesty and give them jobs.

It would also help everyone if the hospitals would stop charging OBSCENE prices for everything, no one can afford to pay it. If it was affordable, we would be able to pay and they would make a buck or two. The providers of medical equipment and meds are also to blame, they charge out the nose for what costs them pennies. Greed rules our health care system, not the good of the patient.

But Nooooooo, they have a monopoly on health care and they know it; so they charge enough to make them rich – because they can.

Elwood June 17, 2014 at 5:23 PM

“The county’s loan, to be repaid over three years”


Just Sayin June 17, 2014 at 5:28 PM

CLOSE IT! It wasn’t the end of the world when the County Hospital in Concord closed and it won’t be the end of the world for San Pablo. For real emergencies, people can go to Kaiser Richmond or to the Oakland. For free STD treatment, I’m sure the bums can drift a bit further south. Heck, losing the hospital might help clean up San Pablo.

mike mac June 17, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Way to piss our money away. Got to love our politicians.

primo June 17, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Shame on co co co supervisors
they exploited taxpayers once again
NO general fund tax transfers-ever
wait until election time-adios ????????????

Atticus Thraxx June 17, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Look at it this way, if you close the poor people hospital, then poor people will come to our regular people hospitals and nobody wants that, right? Stupid poor people and their getting sick.

Kendall June 17, 2014 at 7:04 PM

Doctors Medical Center now, John Muir Health soon. The non-payers are killing the smaller hospitals. John Muir is a small business with a big ego. Just because they have advertisements on billboards and on buses doesn’t mean they have the ability to absorb the influx on non-payers.

RIII June 17, 2014 at 7:14 PM

It’s not a loan, it’s a gift That operation has been a complete failure for years. Who does it serve? It serves people who don’t pay their bills and people who live off of the public. And then, what is the cost of administering the place? Not the doctors and nurses, the administration who pull in a real good salary. How many are on the payroll that have nothing to do with the medical profession?

JLG June 17, 2014 at 9:03 PM

I really most of you people don’t think things out (critical thinking) if tDoctors Medical Center closes it will increase pressure on other Hospitals. So now you are going to be waiting even longer at your local treatment centers

nuxie June 17, 2014 at 9:10 PM

Wait, I thought Obamacare fixed everything???

DJF June 17, 2014 at 9:55 PM

Does DMC still own the medical center on Appian? If so, why not make that an emergency center or triage center. Easy access to freeway – Patients could be easily transferred to other hospitals as needed.
And who is paying for the 24-hour guard posted at the Appian facility? What was left behind that needs to be guarded, leaving the building unuseable?

Long Lines Few Hospitals June 17, 2014 at 9:58 PM

With obamacare and State reducing what they will pay hospitals and Doctors, look for Many hospitals to close. Oh and don’t forget the Doctor Shortage, democrats are already passing bills to allow NON Doctors to treat patients.–abc-news-health.html
Doctors Quitting Early Due to Burdensome Obamacare Regulations

Reward of 3rd world medical care for gullible low information voters and Unions.

Here's the scoop... June 17, 2014 at 10:09 PM

The county is lining things up to take over Doctors thus creating the “Contra Costa Hospital District” and with that you all will have a shiny new tax on your property tax bill. This happy little plan has been in the works since David Twa hit town and that twit John Gioia is drooling and the thought of being the Chair of the district.

Mr.B June 17, 2014 at 10:10 PM

@24 YEP!

Common sense June 17, 2014 at 10:45 PM

How about all of our other public services that are burning and crashing. There is a huge deputy shortage from all the deputies quitting and retiring because they have not had a raise in almost a decade and keep getting more of their money taken away over the last few years. Our public services are in shambles and those crooked narcissistic county supervisors keep pissing away money the tax payers can’t afford to lose into unnecessary black holes like the County Hospital and San Pablo Doctors hospital. It’s shameful.

Random Task June 18, 2014 at 8:18 AM

ty for posting this injustice ….yet as the posts have said the problem lies within the lies ……funding with a general fund of at least 40million dollars backed by tax payer money they will take that money back very soon. The dems have created a large group of lemmings who only see what they are told all the while the hard working tax payer foots the bill for illegals and corruption. Watch the dems look for help when it all comes down and they will blame bush of course yet demifornia has been run by dems for over 40 years ……..they say the schools need funding and yet a general fund throws out 6 million to secure more dem votes by locking in illegals to the fact that free money only keeps coming if they vote dem with their forged papers supplied by the dems …yes supplied by the dems …look it up happens every day and expect it to ramp up within the next year …as election time is on the way

Patty June 18, 2014 at 8:26 AM

I am seeing a lot of very good comments here. I wish more people had commented directly to the Board of Supervisors BEFORE their meeting. We really need our citizens to pay attention and pick up the phone or send an e-mail to our politicians to tell them we are Taxed Enough Already. I know that care is needed in West County, but this $6,000,000 that the BOS “lent” to Doctor’s Hospital will take years and years to pay off (if ever), and yet the hospital was not required to make any management changes that I have seen, even though this hospital has been been so badly managed.

@ Common Sense June 18, 2014 at 8:36 AM

While agree that county services to the general tax paying public are going down the toilet, you are wrong about the DSA (Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc). They had a wage freeze when other employee groups were forced into a permanent wage reduction of 2.75%. The DSA is splitting health care premiums with the county 50/50 while other employee groups are picking up 100% of all increases. Both of these moves were devistating to the lowest paid employees (clerks, janitors, gardeners, services workers @ the hospital and clinics). This last contract go round the DSA received a 9% increase (3/3/3) over 3 years while the other employee groups received 7% (0/4/3) over 3 years (and remember the other labor groups were forced into a permanent cut of 2.75% so they really only got a 4.25% over 3 years). The big reason Deputies are retiring (like many other county employees) is due to the PEPRA ruling.
Yes this “loan” (which is not a loan but a “purchase”) is a bad idea but one must remember that David Twa has the brain dead BOS by the balls and knows how to play on John Gioia’s ego. And giving Johnny Boy a Hospital District feeds it fine. FYI – The BOS is slated to give themselves a 50% raise once the clerk sign off on their labor contract………

@ Patty June 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM

People can “speak” all they want to the BOS but 99% of the time the decission is made and it doesn’t matter as they are going to do what they want whether the tax paying public likes it or not,

Buster June 18, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Look for Contra Costa County to ask for a sales tax increase in November.

.... June 18, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Hey, CoCo BOS…..

You don’t have an obligation to provide medical care; but you do have an obligation of general fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Contra Costa County.

@ Buster June 18, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Bingo – they will be asking for a quarter cent increase on the November ballot……….but it will be to fund the BOS 50% raise

Patty June 18, 2014 at 10:44 AM

The BOS is taking a “survey” to see if the voters will vote for an increase in sales tax. I think this survey costs $40,000. If the survey says yes, then 4 of the 5 BOS needs to approve to have the sales tax put on the November ballot, from what I understand. I was very disturbed that Candace Anderson voted to approve this fake loan. Mary Piepho seems to be listening to her constituents, but Candace is not. I suggest everyone contact ALL of the Supervisors and tell them NO. This hospital is being operated so poorly. Please STOP the bleed.

Anon June 18, 2014 at 8:51 PM


Great comment(s) on all accounts.

anon June 18, 2014 at 10:26 PM

Thanks for trying Mary you are the only voice of reason on the board. We will never see this money paid back it was a bad move and a waste of tax dollars.

Cvhs1994 June 18, 2014 at 10:35 PM

Free healthcare will drive many into bankruptcy.

chuckie the troll June 19, 2014 at 2:02 PM

This is the face (and the price) of ObamaCare. It is designed to provide a lower standard of care (would you choose John Muir or Doctors Med Center for your next procedure?) while raising premiums at the same time. And it does all of this while limiting your choices. Simply brilliant!

Anon June 20, 2014 at 10:09 PM

I hope county Supervisors Mary Piepho and Candace Andersen will hold the line when the proposition of a countywide sales increase is before them. *It takes a supermajority of 4/5 for the supervisors to put it on the ballot. If Andersen stays true to her word and follows Mary Piepho then Gioia’s little scheme won’t fly. Expect a lot of whining from John Gioia…..

@@commonsense June 22, 2014 at 9:37 PM

Your wrong. I have personally seen the majority of deputies leaving because they can’t afford to support their families. 9% is countered by the previous cuts and increased deductions. Getting a portion of something back that was taken away previously does not equal a raise. And unlike other county positions, cops are the only type of employee that can not live where ever they want. Fire, EMS, Nurses, etc do not have jobs that by their very nature place them in dangerous antognistic situations. Cops take bad people to jail. They need to make enough to not have to live in the same neighborhoods as the criminals they arrest.

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