Marin General, Sonoma Valley set affiliation

Allows hospitals to cooperate on doctors, insurers, other functions

GREENBRAE AND SONOMA – Marin General Hospital and Sonoma Valley Hospital have finalized a management services and affiliation agreement, a move both administrations say will help reduce costs while keeping two independent health care districts viable in a land of corporate giants.

The Marin Healthcare District put forth a proposal for a shared management services agreement, which the Sonoma Valley Health Care District approved last Thursday.

“This will just enhance our ability to develop an integrated model of care between what we can do in Marin and what they can do in Sonoma,” Marin General CEO Lee Domanico said. “It’s more cost effective.”

Talks between the two health care districts began last September as each hospital was charting its course through rough financial and transitional periods.

Marin General, the North Bay’s largest independent hospital with 235 beds, parted ways with Sutter Health nine months ago after a longstanding battle for control of the hospital. Sonoma Valley, meanwhile, struggled to remain financially sound, posting an $850,000 loss in 2009.

Since then, both districts have strengthened bottom lines and the affiliation agreement will help further stability, officials said.

The agreement “will further the mutual goals of both entities and will serve their respective districts by enabling them to fulfill their missions and to secure for their communities better and more cost effective care,” said Sonoma Valley Finance Committee Chairman Dick Fogg.

Mr. Domanico said Marin General, as a larger health care district, offered to assist Sonoma Valley and possibly other health care districts in the future, lending all parties involved economies of scale while increasing services for patients.

“There are a lot of things we can do with patient care and strengthen ourselves if we work together,” he said. “We’re both districts, and if we can help out smaller districts we will.”

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