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June 29, 2022

Proposed health care district gets financial boost, lawmakers’ help

WATSONVILLE—The Central California Alliance for Health has provided a $3 million grant to Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project (PVHDP) to help purchase Watsonville Community Hospital.

The grant is made available through the Alliance’s Medi-Cal Capacity Grant Program.

“Watsonville Community Hospital is a critical provider of needed health care services to Pajaro Valley residents, many of whom are Alliance members,” Alliance CEO Stephanie Sonnenshine stated in a press release. “PVHDP’s proposal to create a healthcare district and to purchase the hospital fully aligns with our mission of accessible, quality health care guided by local innovation. We are pleased that our board voted to make grant funding available to support local action to ensure that Pajaro Valley residents keep access to needed health care services in the community.”

WCH in December reached a preliminary agreement to sell its operations to the new healthcare district sponsored by PVHDP, a nonprofit created by the County of Santa Cruz, the City of Watsonville, the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley and Salud Para La Gente. 

PVHDP must still get approval by state lawmakers. That would come in the form of Senate Bill 418, introduced this year by Senators John Laird and Anna Caballero. 

The urgency legislation has passed through the Senate, received unanimous support by the Assembly Local Government Committee and on Wednesday advanced to the Assembly floor for a full vote.

SB 418 would form a health care district establishing public oversight should the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project be successful in its attempts to acquire the hospital from current ownership, Laird stated in a press release. 

Co-authors also include Assemblymembers Robert Rivas and Mark Stone. 

“The successful passage of SB 418 will ensure the continued provision of vital services to the community and protect the jobs of those who work tirelessly to keep Pajaro Valley residents and their loved ones healthy,” Laird stated. “It is our responsibility as a state to ensure no person, parent, or child is left without access to care.”

Central California Alliance for Health (the Alliance) is a regional Medi-Cal managed care health plan, established in 1996 to improve access to health care for nearly 380,000 members in Merced, Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

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