Imperial Valley Coalition for Sustainable Healthcare Facilities

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My View

Kudos to the new Imperial Valley Healthcare District (IVHD) Board with all seven members for their efforts as they focus on the daunting task of creating a successful county-wide system to ensure all valley residents have access to hospital care and related healthcare systems as referenced in AB 918, Sec. 1. (l).

The new law speaks to the IVHD Board’s responsibility to determine a staggered-term board, the IVHD’s voting districts, and placing a tax funding source on the ballot in November this year. [AB918 Sec. 2. Chap. 11. 32499.6. Item (c)(1-3)]  

The law’s next item requires the IVHD Board to enter negotiations regarding the acquisition of ECRMC, determine if feasible, and if so, finalize the terms by Election Day or Nov. 5th this year.  That same day county residents will vote on the tax funding source mentioned above. [Sec. 2. Chap. 11. 32499.6. Item (c)(4)]   

The item immediately following in the law requires the IVHD Board to determine a specific date to dissolve PMHD and a specific date to dissolve HMHD between July 1 and January 1, 2025 – basically 4 to 10 months.  Time is of the essence.  [Sec.  2. Chap. 11. 32499.6. Item (c)(5)(A-B)] 

At the IVHD board meeting held on February 22, 2024, there was considerable time spent discussing one financial report, what was in it, and what was lacking in the report.  The second financial report, Kaufman Hall, has yet to be provided but is promised next meeting.  In Thursday night’s discussions, two words stood out – bankruptcy and dissolved.  

A PMHD representative asked that the financial reports add one more possibility – specifically the impact of ECRMC declaring bankruptcy with potential debt avoidance gained from that scenario.  Bankruptcy is a harsh reality, and some members of the audience were aghast.  An ECRMC representative stated that such a request was inappropriate and would cause harm to their clients, employees, etc. He added that AB 918 called for PMHD to be dissolved before negotiations with ECRMC would take place.  As noted above, the law does call for dissolving PMHD, but not before negotiations can begin.  Dissolved is another harsh reality.  

ECRMC has the option to go forward without mandates in AB 918 for merger agreements, only negotiations.  PMHD on the other hand, a viable hospital district, is mandated to be erased and all assets released without PMHD’s residents being fully informed of the impact on them.  How does this not cause harm to PMHD’s clients, employees, tax-paying community members, etc.?  The law does not afford PMHD and their constituents’ options, only ECRMC. 

Again, kudos to the IVHD board for securing an independent legal consultant and requesting an independent healthcare-related fiscal consultant as they face negotiations with ECRMC and the dissolution dates for PMHD and HMHD.  I support the initial concept and want AB 918 to be implemented with the good of all county residents in mind.  I look forward to the IVHD board’s public information regarding the cost savings in this endeavor, their proposal for a voter-approved permanent funding source, and their plan to finance the acquisition of ECRMC should both IVHD and ECRMC agree to the terms.   [Sec. 2. Chap. 11. 32499.6. Item (c)(6)(A-B)]  

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