Petaluma Valley Hospital in California's Sonoma County this week suspended talks with Prime Healthcare Services as it attempts to solidify a deal with first-choice buyer St. Joseph Health.
Irvine, Calif.-based St. Joseph has held the lease on 27-bed Petaluma Valley Hospital since 1997, but the 20-year agreement expires in January. St. Joseph also operates nearby 272-bed Santa Rosa (Calif.) Memorial Hospital.
The Petaluma Health Care District selected St. Joseph as the front-runner after a 90-day quiet phase following public hearings in December and January. The next steps will be to communicate the terms of the proposal to the community, leading up to a ballot measure in November when the deal will be up for a public vote.
Officials at Prime, Petaluma and St. Joseph could not be reached for comment.
The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, a frequent critic of Prime, praised the selection of St. Joseph. The deal marked Prime's latest attempt to get a foothold in the Bay Area since walking away from a controversial takeover of Daughters of Charity Health System last year.
St. Joseph merged with Providence Health & Services earlier this year.