County Supes Green-Light Natividad Medical Center's Restructuring Plan
July 29, 2011
The Monterey County Board of Supervisors approved in principle Natividad Medical Center's plan to move forward with a Public Hospital Authority model Friday. But the green-light from the Supes, which allows Natividad to free itself from direct county control, is just the first step in a lengthy process that will involve the passage of a county ordinance and state "enabling" legislation.
The results of a recent feasibility study indicate that a change in governance structure and business model to a Public Authority will allow NMC to more easily contract or partner with other healthcare service providers, and in doing so continue to provide vital services to low-income citizens as part of its state and federal "safety net" hospital designation. According to hospital CEO Harry Weis, it will also position the hospital to bolster its bottom line and be more flexible in its operations, which is seen as necessary to success in a healthcare environment being rapidly reshaped by federal reform. The move could also help the hospital develop more cost effective health care plans for individuals and businesses, another key aim of federal healthcare reform.
There are still many details to be worked out, including how Natividad will implement the transition to the Public Authority model. The Supervisors' approval, however, puts the process in motion; now it's up to hospital leadership to complete that process by its June 30, 2012 deadline.