Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo (Lisa Aliferis/KQED)
By Sara Hossaini
Support is waning for another parcel tax aimed at keeping Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo open.
Last year, West Contra Costa County voters declined to put a third parcel tax in place that would have benefited West Contra Costa County’s public safety-net hospital. Measure C would have imposed an additional $210 parcel tax for a 2,000-square-foot property.
A ‘key blow’ to keeping Doctors Medical open, says hospital governing chair.
Now Eric Zell, chair of the hospital’s governing board, says a new poll of likely voters shows they’re even less likely to pass a parcel tax this year. Fewer than half say they’d support a $150 tax, falling well short of the two-thirds needed to pass.
“This is one of a number of elements that we’ve considered, but it’s a cornerstone of the potential funding that we were looking at,” Zell said. “So it’s a key blow to our ability to put together a sustainable package of funding that would potentially keep this hospital open.”
He said he wouldn’t recommend putting a measure on the ballot to the board.
Doctors Medical Center runs an $18 million-a-year deficit because most of its reimbursements come from Medi-Cal or Medicare, which pay at a lower rate than private insurance.
Zell said the hospital expects to sign a deal to sell some of its property to the city of San Pablo next week, and he says officials will next have to decide whether to use that money to stay open or close responsibly. That would mean paying off some of the hospital’s debt and paying employee pensions and vacations, he said.
Zell said those decisions will come in the next two to four weeks.