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Negotiations stalled on reopening Palm Drive Hospital

Negotiations between the Palm Drive Hospital board and a nonprofit foundation seeking to reopen the closed Sebastopol facility have broken down, according to hospital officials.

Sandra Bodley, a hospital board member involved in the negotiations, said Saturday that the proposals put forward by the foundation had continued "serious flaws in governance in the clinical model, and in their financials."

Bodley said the foundation sought last week a premature legally binding agreement between the board and the foundation over a proposal that was not yet ready.

But Gail Thomas, a key negotiator for the foundation, said her group sought only a "commitment" that the board would work with the foundation to quickly reopen the hospital, which officially closed Monday.

"We wanted the district to restate that they want to reopen the hospital," Thomas said. "So as far as I'm concerned, the talks are not off. We are trying very hard to get them to come back to the table."

Hospital officials say they were forced to close the hospital because of years of financial struggle brought on by declining health insurance payments and a dwindling inpatient volume.

The hospital board said it will hold a series of public forums this summer to survey west county residents regarding the kinds of medical services they want.

Bodley said the foundation's proposal should become part of the public forum process.

"I think the next step is to proceed with our community forum meetings and have the foundation included in those meetings," she said. "I think we will get a broader perspective and hopefully some solid suggestions for re-emerging with health services that will be utilized by our west county community."

Thomas accused the hospital board of failing to negotiate in good faith.


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