Grossmont Healthcare District Hospital Lease Continuation, Measure H (June 2014)

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A Grossmont Healthcare District Hospital Lease Continuation, Measure H ballot question was on the June 3, 2014 election ballot for voters in the Grossmont Healthcare District in San Diego County, California, where it was overwhelmingly approved.

For the past 23 years, the privately owned Grossmont Hospital Corporation, a subsidiary of Sharp Healthcare, leased the public Grossmont Hospital from the Grossmont Healthcare District, a public government agency. This lease agreement was set to expire in 2021, and the board of directors for the district was asking voters to re-approve it for another thirty years in Measure H.[1]

Election results

Measure H
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 56,559 86.68%
No8,69413.32%
Election results from San Diego Elections Office

The lease

In 1991, the Grossmont Healthcare District leased the Grossmont Hospital to the Grossmont Hospital Corporation, owned by Sharp Healthcare, allowing Sharp to operate and maintain the hospital under the following conditions:[1]

  • Sharp must operate and maintain the hospital in good condition;
  • Sharp must make operational decisions without discrimination and in ways that support the good of the community;
  • Sharp cannot eliminate any essential or basic services without the consent of the district's board of directors;
  • Sharp must keep the hospital insured and report to the board on the hospital's financial and physical condition; and
  • Sharp is responsible for all costs of alteration, repair and improvement to the hospital, including earthquake safety renovations and the completion of the Heart and Vascular Center.

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot:[1]

Grossmont Hospital Lease Continuation.
In order to continue providing high quality, comprehensive medical and emergency healthcare services at Grossmont Hospital and to ensure that future hospital repairs and improvements are completed at no additional cost to taxpayers, shall the Grossmont Healthcare District enhance and extend the existing Lease Agreement with the nonprofit organization operated by Sharp HealthCare in accordance with Resolution No. 02-14 of the Grossmont Healthcare District Board of Directors adopted March 5, 2014?[2]

Board resolution

The full text of the resolution from the board of directors calling for the lease agreement is available here.

Support

Supporters

The following individuals signed the official arguments in favor of Measure H:[1]

  • Dianne Jacob, San Diego County Supervisor (District 2)
  • Joan Embery, Community Ambassador
  • Brian S. Moore, M.D., Chief of Medical Staff at Sharp Grossmont Hospital
  • Nanette Kent, RN, Emergency Room Nurse
  • Sunny Cooke, Ph.D., president of Grossmont College

Arguments in favor

Proponents of Measure H argued that allowing the Grossmont Healthcare District to lease its hospital to the Grossmont Hospital Corporation, owned by Sharp Healthcare, had resulted in a highly efficient and excellent source of emergency and comprehensive medical healthcare. They argued that Sharp Healthcare is a private medical services provider with extensive healthcare experience and expertise, allowing the private business to operate the Grossmont Hospital in a much more efficient and cost-effective way than a government entity could have achieved. Supporters pointed out that, since the beginning of the lease in 1991, Sharp saved taxpayers millions of dollars through investing private funds, operating the hospital efficiently and providing private benefits and pensions to hospital employees, none of whom received publicly funded benefits or pensions. According to Measure H supporters, continuing the lease would save taxpayers even more money in the future because the lease agreement required Sharp to pay for repairs and improvements, including earthquake and safety renovations and the approximately $20 million necessary to finish construction of the Heart and Vascular Center.[1]

Grossmont Hospital CEO Barry Jantz said, “This is a unique opportunity for the citizens to consider extending the agreement with Sharp HealthCare. This is a public-private partnership that has served the community for over two decades, bringing millions of dollars in Sharp funding to maintain and improve East County’s community-owned hospital as a state-of-the-art facility.”[3]

Opposition

Opponents

Jim Stieringer, former board member of Grossmont Healthcare District from 1992-2010 and member of Protect East County, wrote the official arguments in opposition to Measure H.[1]

Arguments against

Jim Stieringer argued that the board of directors of the healthcare district had not even considered other offers, allowing Sharp to take the lease of the valuable Grossmont Hospital without any competition to drive a better deal for taxpayers. Stieringer argued that, according to the lease agreement, Sharp was given permission to keep all the profits from the hospital and pointed out that it is from these profits that the hospital's CEO is paid over $500,000 per year. He also suggested that the Sharp industry was not committed to or invested in the community, as demonstrated by Sharp choosing to operate its insurance company, Continuous Quality Insurance SPC, out of the Cayman Islands instead of from East San Diego County. Stieringer said that, while an extension of the lease might be a good idea, there was no hurry since it was not even set to expire until 2021. Stieringer suggested that district voters should wait, insisting on a better deal from Sharp before signing over their hospital.[1]

See also

External links

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