Posted: Saturday, March 14, 2015 12:00 am
By Jennifer Bonnett/News-Sentinel staff writer |
The blending of Lodi Health and Adventist Health will bring a $98 million capital investment in Lodi Memorial Hospital and related services over the next 13 years, according to a report prepared for the state Attorney General.
Adventist Health also plans to provide a $2 million donation to the Lodi Memorial Health Foundation under the proposed affiliation agreement.
Lodi Health’s top executives will become Adventist Health employees after the merger. Also included in the report: Adventist will encourage an environment conducive to “employees’ and patients’ Sabbath rest.”
The hospital, all clinics and other healthcare services will be likely maintained for at least five years, except for the Trinity Plaza Surgery Center. The Stockton facility closed in 2013, but Lodi Health still has part ownership.
The information comes from an 82-page consultant report known as a Health Care Impact Statement released Thursday.
It was prepared by a third party at the request of the Office of the California Attorney General to assess the potential impact of the proposed affiliation agreement between Lodi Health and Adventist Health System/West.
Reports like these typically run in the $8,000 range, according to Lodi Health spokeswoman Carol Farron, and Lodi Health will be billed for it by the attorney general.
What the affiliation might mean
Lodi Health has sought affiliation with a larger healthcare system because of financial concerns; the report revealed that as of Dec. 31, 2014, Lodi Health had an outstanding debt totaling approximately $145.4 million.
Under the deal, substantially all Lodi Health employees in good standing will be retained, although the top four administrative positions will become employees of Adventist Health, according to the report. They include the chief executive officer, chief nursing officer, chief financial officer and chief administrative officer.
The donation of $2 million to the foundation will be restricted, to be used exclusively in support of Lodi Health and its affiliates to further Lodi Health’s charitable mission of reaching out to the rural areas surrounding Lodi.
Under the proposal, Adventist Health may place limitations on the types of foods served at the hospital and affiliated healthcare facilities; and adopt policies to “encourage the creation of an environment conducive to employees’ and patients’ Sabbath rest.”
In is unclear what this might mean for Lodi Memorial Hospital, but at other Adventist hospitals, the Sabbath is celebrated from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday as a time for quiet rest and religious reflection. All patient services continue to be provided on Saturday, although most administrative offices are closed and the cafeteria hours are reduced.
In the end, the consulting firm that performed the report determined the proposed change in control and governance of Lodi Health is likely to improve the availability and accessibility of healthcare services in the communities served by the hospital. Access for Medi-Cal, uninsured patients, and other classes of patients will either improve or remain unchanged, according to the report.
The affiliation still requires the state Attorney General’s approval, expected shortly after a formal public hearing in Lodi later this month.
What the report recommends
If approved, the firm recommends for at least the next five years continuing to operate Lodi Memorial as a general acute care hospital and maintaining 24-hour emergency medical services at a minimum of 28 treatment stations with the same types and/or levels of services.
Additionally, the hospital will maintain:
- Acute rehabilitation services, including a minimum of eight rehabilitation beds.
- Adult day care services.
- Cardiac services, including the cardiac catheterization lab.
- Critical care services, including a minimum of 10 intensive care beds.
- Obstetric services, including a minimum of 16 obstetrics beds.
- Urgent care services.
- Women’s reproductive health services.
For at least five years, the hospital will also retain all of its Lodi care clinics, as well as those located in Ione and Galt.
Trinity Plaza Center has since sold all of its leasehold improvements and the majority of its equipment and supply inventories to a privately-owned operator of ambulatory surgery centers.
Under the agreement, Lodi Health will also continue to expend an average of no less than $801,365 annually in community benefit services including Camp Hutchins, the Fitness Center and the Walter E. Reiss Outreach Clinic.
What’s the next step?
The attorney general’s official public meeting, set for 2 p.m. on March 23 in the hospital’s West Wing, is being held to receive comments on the proposal and to consider the official Health Care Impact Statement prepared by the consultants, as required by state law. The full report can be read at www.oag.ca.gov/charities/nonprofithosp.
That law requires the Attorney General’s review and consent to any sale or transfer of a health care facility owned or operated by a nonprofit corporation whose assets are held in public trust, such as Lodi Memorial. This requirement covers health care facilities that are licensed to provide 24-hour care, such as hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at email@example.com.