Hospital district with no hospital avoids dissolution

A California hospital district that continues to receive funding but has no facilities under its jurisdictions may spend as much as $800,000 to resist dissolution, reports the San Jose Mercury News.

The problem is a vexing one for the mostly rural and suburban hospital districts that sprouted up around the United States after World War II, a large number of which have turned their facilities over to private operators but still collect taxpayer funds.

The Mt. Diablo Health Care District spends most of its money on overhead and returns little or nothing to the community, according to four county Grand Jury reports recommending it be dissolved. The district's dissolution is currently being examined by the agency formation commission for Contra Costa County. The district recently hired an attorney and general manager to fight its dissolution.

The Mt. Diablo district was formed in the 1940s, but turned over its hospital in the community of Concord to the John Muir Health system in 1996. It still collects more than $250,000 a year in parcel taxes, and in the past has spent at least $600,000 to litigate John Muir's closing of a birthing center at the Concord facility.

However, what money it spends on public benefits programs are often only tangentially related to healthcare, such as training high school students to perform CPR.

To learn more:
- read the Mercury News article
- visit the district website

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