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Marc Levine, nurses lobby for delay in Palm Drive Hospital vote

State Assemblyman Marc Levine met with nurses and labor advocates Saturday to discuss his legislative effort to keep open Sebastopol's fiscally ailing Palm Drive Hospital.

The San Rafael Democrat said he's introduced a bill that would allow the hospital to refinance its debt so bonds could be paid off at lower interest rates.

AB582 already has won unanimous, bipartisan support in its first committee hearing and is awaiting approval of the full Senate in the next month or so, he said.

If hospital directors would put off a fateful vote Monday that could close the institution, the bill would have a chance to restore its financial health, he said.

"Palm Drive Hospital is incredibly important to our community," Levine told a gathering outside the Sebastopol Senior Senior Center.

He said the bill contains an urgency clause that would allow it to take effect immediately, rather than on Jan. 1.

Nurses worried about the possible loss of healthcare and jobs applauded the move to save Palm Drive.

Many, like emergency room nurse Dave Porter, said its closure would put him out of work and leave west county residents with fewer options when they are sick or hurt.

More than 6,800 patients went to the Palm Drive emergency room in 2012.

"It's just depressing," Porter said.


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