.$15.2 Million Needed to Buy Watsonville Community Hospital

The Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors said the hospital must be purchased by Aug. 31

The Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Board of Directors told the Santa Cruz County Supervisors Tuesday that they still have to raise more than $15 million by Aug. 31 to complete the $61.7 million sale of the Watsonville Community Hospital.

The board has a steep mountain to climb and faces a looming deadline.

County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios said the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project—the nonprofit formed late last year to purchase the hospital—has “high expectations” if it thinks California will foot the $15.2 million bill.

Additionally, the project needs another $2.5 million for monthly operations and a $10 million reserve for working capital. Supervisor Zach Friend added that supporting the hospital is necessary for the long-term health of the county.

“This is a very essential leg in the healthcare system here, and if this falls, the rest of the county will collapse along with it,” Friend said. “This hospital can turn around, and it will turn around, and we will be very successful.”

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The new Board of Directors, which took their oath of office on March 24, has appointed County Counsel Jason Health as its legal counsel and Auditor Controller-Treasurer Tax Collector Edith Driscoll as the District’s Interim Treasurer.

The Board also retained Walnut Creek-based law firm Best Best & Krieger LLP to provide legal services in connection with the structure and operation of the newly formed District. (BBK charges $425 per hour and requires a $25,000 retainer).

Funding will initially come from the County Administrative Office.

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