Dignity Health to help manage San Joaquin General Hospital

The move by Dignity Health expands the healthcare company’s footprint in Stockton, which already includes a growing hospital and two other facilities.

STOCKTON, Calif. — After a year of negotiations, Dignity Health has entered into a management agreement with San Joaquin County to partly manage San Joaquin General Hospital.

The agreement, unanimously approved by county supervisors during a May 3 meeting, allows Dignity Health to help oversee day-to-day operations at the county-operated San Joaquin General Hospital. Under the agreement, which will cost the county as much as $4.5 million, Dignity Health will provide advice and assistance to the hospital and appoint a CEO to be approved by the county’s board of supervisors.

San Joaquin General Hospital, established in 1857, is home to the only trauma center in San Joaquin County, a status that county officials say will not change. The 196-bed hospital serves an estimated 1.3 million outpatient clinic patients each year.

The agreement comes after a 2020 decision by the county to explore agreement options for the hospital in order to improve its future viability due to “the extraordinary situation with the pandemic and other external industry indicators,” according to a county press release.

San Joaquin County will still operate and maintain control and authority of the hospital after the agreement goes into effect. All employees currently working for the hospital will not see changes to compensation or benefit structures, according to the agreement.

In February of 2020, an ad-hoc committee was formed by the county to engage in discussions with health care providers regarding a management agreement for San Joaquin General.

The approved agreement between Dignity Health and the county will go into effect July 1 and will run through Dec. 31 of 2023. An option in the contract will allow the two parties to mutually agree to extend the agreement for up to 10 years.

According to a presentation by county officials, the initial focus of the 18-month agreement will be on revenue cycle operations, information technology connectivity, quality management and improvement, the hospital’s group purchasing organization affiliation and clinical integration.

The move to approve the contract expands Dignity Health’s large footprint in the city of Stockton which already includes a growing St Joseph’s Medical Center and facilities on March Lane and Harding Way.

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