Marin General Hospital And Palm Drive Hospital Are Set To Implement Affiliation Agreement

GREENBRAE, CA — The ink is finally dry on the affiliation agreement signed between Sebastopol's Palm Drive Hospital and Marin General Hospital, providing a vehicle to create a three-hospital network that maintains local autonomy for all three communities, while providing many of the benefits of an integrated system. The Marin General-Sonoma Valley Hospital-Palm Drive network offers economies of scale, group purchasing, coordinated planning, and the ability to enrich the array of medical options for Sonoma's West County residents.

For West County residents, the affiliation agreement will strengthen primary and specialty care options in the area. It will give residents access to doctors in the Marin-Sonoma Independent Physicians Association, which means that more specialists will be available to them. Through the recruitment capabilities of Prima Medical Foundation, which can offer strong operational support to physicians daunted by high practice costs, it is likely to bolster primary care, as well. For residents of the Marin and Sonoma Valley healthcare districts, the benefits come from "strength in numbers." By sharing a variety of back-office costs - from billing and marketing to purchasing - all three hospitals will benefit from lower overall expenses.

"This truly is a win-win proposition in our view," said Lee Domanico, Chief Executive Officer, Marin General Hospital. "We all gain from economies of scale, and we all believe it's important to our communities to have access to care close to home offered by locally based providers. This affiliation has the potential to strengthen the balance sheets of all three participants."

"District hospitals in California often face tough odds against large hospital chains," said Domanico. "Those competitors can choose to serve major population centers and cherry-pick among service lines to maintain profitability. They also benefit from the huge leverage afforded by their size and negotiating power. By combining forces, we are trying to even the odds."

According to David Cox, who currently serves as Chief Financial Officer of Marin General Hospital, the immediate priorities will be to complete the assessment of operations, engage the local medical community, implement financial management programs to improve performance, evaluate opportunities for consolidated services, and to evaluate and pursue market opportunities, including introduction of the Prima Medical Foundation into the community. Cox emphasized that the affiliation leaves Palm Drive Hospital "in control" of its organization and a key participant in a regional strategy with Marin General and Sonoma Valley Hospitals.