Watsonville Hospital
Watsonville Community Hospital. Pajaronian file photo

Plans to bring Watsonville Community Hospital—and the property on which it sits—into public ownership took a giant step forward Wednesday.

The Pajaro Valley Health Care District (PVHD) Board of Directors approved a proposal to hire Isom Advisors, a municipal bond advisory firm that will help determine the feasibility of bringing a bond measure to the public next year to help raise money for the $40 million purchase.

If passed by voters, the bond would also fund a renovation of the emergency department and the second floor of the hospital.

When Halsen Healthcare bought the hospital from Quorum Health Corporation in 2019, the company sold the property and building to Alabama-based Medical Properties Trust (MPT), and leased it from them in a sale/leaseback. 

The Health Care District is currently paying MPT more than $250,000 per month.

The hospital’s Board of Directors ousted Halsen after the company was unable to pay its bills.

When the hospital announced it was facing imminent closure unless a buyer stepped forward, Pajaro Valley Health Care District Project did just that, having been formed in October 2021 for that very purpose.

PVHD board member Tony Nuñez said that the board must consider all its options in protecting the long-term viability of the hospital.

“The bond measure is one of the most secure ways to have that financial stability for our community to ensure that we’re going to have a hospital within the Pajaro Valley and at the heart of the Central Coast,” he said. “We can’t understate just how essential a bond measure would be to both financial stability in the short-term coming out of bankruptcy, but then also accomplishing all the goals we want to accomplish.”

The funds, Nuñez added, fit into the strategic plan and call for a much-needed reinvestment in the hospital.

“We’re not just asking for money,” he said. “We’re saying we have a plan of how we want to spend this money, and how we want to invest this money back into the hospital, which hasn’t been done in decades. It’s been disinvestment after disinvestment after disinvestment.” 

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


  1. The new hospital administration and Board needs to start now to inform about half of the Aptos community that they live in the Watsonville Hospital boundaries and could soon be voting for or against a bond. For some unknown reason the northern boundary is Rio del Mar Blvd. Rio del Mar and Seascape resort area are within the voting area.
    Having another well run hospital in the county is a win win for residents. I am wishing the new leadership the best.

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