Santa Rosa Memorial, Healdsburg hospitals to collaborate on north county care

Healdsburg District Hospital and Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital announced Tuesday they have agreed to collaborate on medical services provided in north Sonoma County.

The "affiliation agreement" by Memorial, which already is part of a health system that operates Petaluma Community Hospital, helps extend its reach to the northern part of the county.

The pact provides a framework for jointly recruiting physicians, developing more integrated clinical systems, entering into new business ventures and conserving resources, according to the chief executives of the two hospitals.

"This is really kind of the beginning stages of what we're trying to do," said Kevin Klockenga, president and CEO of Memorial Hospital.

Both hospitals will continue to operate separately, maintaining independent staff and finances. The North Sonoma County Healthcare District owns and operates Healdsburg District Hospital, while the St. Joseph Health System, based in Orange, runs Memorial Hospital.

Evan Rayner, the district's CEO, said "there are many opportunities to work together in physician recruitment, best practices and additional business ventures."

Both Klockenga and Rayner said the new agreement does not portend a takeover by Memorial of the Healdsburg hospital, nor does it represent a competitive response to expanding health care services by Sutter Medical Center in north Santa Rosa.

"This really is purely about what is in the best interest of the two hospitals," said Klockenga.

Healdsburg District Hospital, a 43-bed facility, serves about 60,000 residents who live in north Sonoma County, including Windsor, Healdsburg, Geyserville and Cloverdale. The district also operates a wound care clinic, physical therapy and women's diagnostic care at an off-site clinic on Healdsburg Avenue in Healdsburg.

The 278-bed Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is affiliated with several services based in northern Sonoma County. They include North County Hospice in Healdsburg, a new urgent care clinic scheduled to open November 22 in Windsor. St. Joseph also operates an existing outpatient blood draw station in Windsor.

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