News Column

Palm Drive Hospital debt relief bill heads to Gov. Brown's desk

May 30, 2014

By Martin Espinoza, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.



May 30--A state bill that would allow the shuttered Palm Drive Hospital to save millions of dollars in bond debt was approved by the California Legislature Thursday and is now before Gov. Jerry Brown.

AB 582, by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, would allow the Palm Drive Health Care District to refinance $20 million of its existing bond debt, resulting in lower interest rates that would save the district $6.5 million, according to Levine's office.

The refinancing would also free up to $3 million in security funds.

The district, which closed the hospital on April 28, is currently going through bankruptcy proceedings. The district is also examining ways to restructure the defunct hospital and resurrect some health care services.

Levine said the bond relief would give the district more flexibility in its efforts to bring back lost health care services.

"It is my hope that the hospital find a means to reopen and serve west county," Levine said in a statement. "The cost savings achieved by AB 582 will help make that a reality."

The Palm Drive Health Care Foundation, which supported the hospital with donations, has proposed a plan to reopen the hospital and is currently in negotiations with the district.

The negotiations have at times become strained. The foundation has accused the district of not negotiating in good faith, while the district has argued the foundation's plan has too many holes in it.

The foundation has scheduled a public meeting on June 9 to provide an update on its proposal, which seeks to bring back the hospital's emergency room and scaled-down ICU and medical surgical services.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the Community Church of Sebastopol, 1000 Gravenstein Highway.

The governor has 12 days to act on AB 582.

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(c)2014 The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, Calif.)

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Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA)


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