Stakeholders weigh Petaluma hospital bids

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In an unusual showing for the Petaluma Health Care District, a large audience of hospital employees, union representatives, elected officials, public safety workers and area residents packed the publicly-elected board’s meeting last week to hear deliberations on selecting the best of four bids to operate the district-owned Petaluma Valley Hospital.

The highly attended meeting was the first for 2016, the same year in which area residents will vote on whether to approve the district’s recommended operator. Four companies, including the incumbent St. Joseph Health, are vying to operate the hospital when a current lease expires in 2017.

Now approaching the closing stretch, officials said they expected to release a schedule of upcoming milestones leading up to the vote during its meeting next week. Tonight’s meeting — 5:30 p.m. at 1425 North McDowell Blvd. — will be the last of four special meetings held to solicit feedback on the selection criteria while raising the level of public engagement in an evaluation process that has so far occurred largely behind closed doors.

“We want a quality operator who hangs their hat on quality outcomes and quality care,” said Ramona Faith, the district’s CEO.

The substance of those offers remains under wraps while the district embarks on a final round of clarifications with the participating companies. In addition to St. Joseph Health, Sutter Health, Prime Healthcare Services and Strategic Global Management have been announced as bidders in the process.

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