Petaluma Valley Hospital in California's Sonoma County suspended talks last week with Prime Healthcare Services while 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 for the deal after a 90-day quiet phase that followed public hearings in December and January. 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 Healthcare, Petaluma Valley and St. Joseph could not be reached for comment.
The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, a frequent critic of Prime, praised Petaluma's choice of St. Joseph. The deal marked Prime's latest attempt to get a foothold in the Bay Area since walking away last year from a controversial takeover of the Daughters of Charity Health System. St. Joseph merged this year with Providence Health & Services.