San Andreas, CA – Just ahead of an impending decision likely to impact a generation to come, Mark Twain Health Care District officials say one of the potential operators it was negotiating with to manage the hospital has dropped out.
According to MTHCD Executive Director Dr. Randy Smart, Adventist Health recently decided to not continue its proposal to lease Mark Twain Medical Center (MTMC). He announced this latest development at a town hall-style meeting held in Arnold last night during an outreach presentation about the district and options for running the hospital that remain on the table.
This past Wednesday, the district held a private meeting with MTMC doctors and plans another one for in-house staff meeting next Monday.
As Smart now explains the decision, it comes down to either running MTMC independently or leasing it to Dignity Health, with whom it has a long-standing relationship and a lease set to tick out at the end of 2019.
Dignity has not only been the hospital operator for decades, it and the district equally co-own hospital assets. As reported here, MTMC doctors and staff made known in recent weeks that they preferred continuing under the Dignity partnership over going with Adventist Health.
Over the past several months that Clarke Broadcasting has reported on the story, district officials have generally mentioned the option of running the hospital independently as a final option. Hearing Smart lead with it at this point indicates that the board is looking hard at both options.
Considered the most challenging way forward, managing the hospital independently would settle a good deal more responsibility on district administrators, although it would also allow them to control billing and other contractors’ activities – and provide a much wider path to chart the direction of local healthcare direction.
“We’re hoping for decisive board action on Dec. 15th, at a special meeting, but that will be contingent on some administrative requirements that are in progress,” Smart confides. Once the board finalizes its decision, Smart earlier indicated the district would make a presentation to the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors and, depending on its chosen direction, prepare a ballot initiative for residents to vote on come June.
Ahead of the board vote, Smart is still planning at least two more town hall meetings. They are slated for Monday Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. and Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 a.m. Both will take place at the Calaveras County Library (1299 Gold Hunter Road, San Andreas). At least one Dignity Health representative will be available to discuss its proposal. Smart emphasizes that all voters are requested to attend if they can because the district’s decision will becomes an election issue for Calaveras voters.
The current MTHCD board members are President Lin Reed, MBA, OTR/L; Secretary Ann Radford, FNP; Treasurer Susan Atkinson, MSW; Members-at-large Debbie Sellick, CMP and Talibah Al-Rafiq.