By Roy Robbins and John O'Brien, Monterey County Herald
July 24, 2012 – This week it is anticipated the Salinas Valley Memorial Health System's board of directors will decide whether to move forward on a merger between Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital and Natividad Medical Center. It is important there be a clear understanding what is being proposed.
Key to the affiliation of the two public hospitals will be formation of the Central Coast Hospital Authority. The establishment of the Central Coast Hospital Authority requires passage of specific, sole-purpose state legislation.
The legislation would retain the unique features of the two public hospitals and set forth a governance and operational structure that will enhance delivery of health care in the Salinas Valley, now and into the future.
The legislatively-created Central Coast Hospital Authority will have a governance structure comprised of a nine-member board of trustees who will be appointed by the SVMHS board of directors and the Monterey County Board of Supervisors.
Members of the board will serve four-year terms and can only be removed for cause. This locally appointed board will be fully empowered to independently run the Central Coast Hospital Authority. The nine-member board will have a sufficient number of members to create a skill-based board that is representative of the communities the hospital authority serves.
The Central Coast Hospital Authority will be its own government entity, separate and apart administratively, fiscally and operationally from the county of Monterey and SVMHS.
The Central Coast Hospital Authority legislation, Assembly Bill 276, will protect the unique funding streams which NMC receives as a designated public safety net hospital and as a teaching hospital, and expand those revenue streams to the NMC and the SVMH campuses. The legislation promotes synergy between the two hospitals to achieve a financially viable, best-in-class health care system.
We believe bringing together SVMH and NMC will build on the strengths, expertise and experience of both hospitals. Such an affiliation will assist in development of a seamless inpatient and outpatient health care system through standardization of existing best clinical practices and streamlining the process for the innovation of new services.
The Central Coast Hospital Authority will allow our community to rally around an integrated health care system, which will be capable of enhancing the overall health of everyone.
Roy Robbins is chairman of the Natividad Medical Center Board of Trustees. John O'Brien is vice chairman.
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