A new twist and consolidation in health care | Tim Talk | Tim Hunt | DanvilleSanRamon.com |

Local Blogs

Tim Talk

By Tim Hunt

E-mail Tim Hunt

About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

View all posts from Tim Hunt

A new twist and consolidation in health care

Uploaded: Jan 17, 2023
The health care industry in the Tri-Valley took another twist this month when John Muir Health agreed to purchase San Ramon Regional Medical Center.
Tenet Healthcare, a for-profit corporation, has operated the San Ramon facility since it opened in 1990. John Muir invested nearly $100 million in 2013 for a 49% share and this deal changes the ownership, putting Muir in charge.
After the earlier investment, the two entities joint ventured in an outpatient center on Owens Drive in Pleasanton less than a mile from Stanford ValleyCare’s hospital at Santa Rita Road and West Las Positas Blvd.
Drive over Interstate 580 on Santa Rita as it transitions to Tassajara Road in Dublin and there’s a ValleyCare urgent care facility as well as a Sutter Health facility. Add in Kaiser’s urgent care and cancer center a mile away in Dublin plus its facilities in San Ramon, Pleasanton and Livermore, and you can see how many health care organizations want a piece of the well-insured Tri-Valley market.
Stanford took over ValleyCare in 2014, saving the community hospital that was in serious financial trouble. Stanford has since invested more than $50 million in ValleyCare and stabilized its financial situation and now is looking to grow. Before the Stanford takeover, the other key decision by ValleyCare’s board came in the late 1980s when the previously divided directors agreed to build a new hospital on the Pleasanton site and shifted operations there in 1991. That location preserved a key position in the market for ValleyCare that otherwise would have invited San Ramon Regional or John Muir to venture further south in the 1990s.
Stanford doubled down on the valley last month when it announced the purchase of a three-building complex (Hacienda Lakes) in Hacienda Business Park. Stanford already owns, dating to the ValleyCare days, a second building that houses its oncology center at Stoneridge and West Las Positas. The further investment demonstrates how valuable the Stanford corporate leadership considers the Pleasanton franchise and its location.
The Bay Area’s top teaching hospitals are Stanford in Palo Alto and the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Both want the East Bay market and beyond. If you’re being treated at either Palo Alto or the main UCSF campus at Parnassus (near Golden Gate Park) you’ve got an awful commute from the East Bay for a morning appointment—even in these post-lockdown days when traffic is not at pre-2020 levels. I know people with morning appointments at either facility who have gone the day before and then spent the night in a hotel.
When Stanford can locate specialists in Pleasanton, it expands the service circle well into the San Joaquin Valley, more than doubling the effective reach. It’s notable that a few years ago ValleyCare top spine team relocated its practice to Sonora because they had developed such a reputation that patients would come to them. The quality of life for the surgeons and the team became substantially cheaper and better if you like the outdoors and they affiliated with a local hospital.
UCSF has a similar outpost at Washington Hospital in Fremont and joint ventured with John Muir on a facility in Berkeley with another one, including cancer treatment, to come in Walnut Creek.
A key factor in all of this is insured patients who can pay the bills. It is, at its core, a business that must pay its bills.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Hank Thompson, a resident of another community,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 9:20 am

Hank Thompson is a registered user.

Prior to the Obamacare program, if I had to go to the ER I would be accepted at any hospital & then transported to a county facility following diagnosis.

Not any more. Thanks to Obamacare I am now admitted into any hospital of my choice and being homeless, attention to my medical needs is now on par with regular paying patients.

Medi-Cal for all is a blessing and this program should also cover undocumented immigrants seeking a new life in America.

Posted by Renaldo Morales, a resident of another community,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 9:55 am

Renaldo Morales is a registered user.

"A key factor in all of this is insured patients who can pay the bills. It is, at its core, a business that must pay its bills."

This is a very important consideration.

For those on Medicare and/or Medi-Cal via Obamacare, it is no problem as the government foots the bill.

For those less fortunate, all employers regardless of their number of employees should be required to provide free health insurance for their workers or at least be held to a mandatory 75% co-pay on the monthly health insurance premiums regardless of wages or salary.

If federal/state/county/municipal employee health benefits are covered at taxpayer's expense, this practice should be extended to all citizens of the entire United States as we are the taxpayers.

Posted by Ernie Jenkins, a resident of another community,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Ernie Jenkins is a registered user.

Stanford Med Center is not all that great. Being a 'teaching hospital' diagnostics are often left to interns and new residents, many of whom have never dealt with real human ailments or conditions.

The Ben Casey/Dr. Kildare style of medical prognosis is best left to the county hospitals or newly arrived MDs from India and other 3rd world countries.

Posted by Geraldine Presley, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 1:03 pm

Geraldine Presley is a registered user.

In India, one can procure a physician's degree in four years of undergraduate studies but in order to practice in CA they must pass the required medical board exams.

Why can't we do the same here in America? No wonder most of our physicians are from Asia.

Posted by Butch Logan, a resident of Danville,
on Jan 17, 2023 at 1:14 pm

Butch Logan is a registered user.

@Geraldine...the real question is why don't these overseas-trained physicians from India, China, and the Middle East remain in their own country to help their own people?

Posted by Jake Waters, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 18, 2023 at 8:52 am

Jake Waters is a registered user.

It appears from the comments here that the call for bigger and bigger government is what you want. It already employs over 4 million people, much of what we really don't need. A year and half ago the California Medical Board sent out letters to all California Physicians that their licenses were in jeopardy if they gave advise on Covid 19 that wasn't the propaganda of the government. Newsom solidified that by signing the current healthcare bill strengthening such a mandate. Our healthcare has been under attack since the virus began. The oath of doctors took a big hit.

Be careful with the word ‘free.' The government doesn't make any money it takes it from us. Close to 72% of the budget goes to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. Congress will never balance the budget no matter what they take away. And with the absence of a southern boarder it is only going to get worse.

Lastly, telling businesses to foot the bill for healthcare will close the doors of many small businesses because raising the prices to the consumers of their goods and services will put an end to their dream.

It appears that more and more people in this country want Socialism. The illusion that all your needs will be met through the governmental nanny is attractive. I fear you will get what you want, but you won't like what you get.

Posted by Lawrence Jackson, a resident of Walnut Creek,
on Jan 18, 2023 at 10:36 am

Lawrence Jackson is a registered user.

@Jake Waters...the United States should also consider curtailing its foreign aid assistance as most of the money goes towards supporting corrupt pro-US dictatorial regimes and ruthless warlords.

Biden offering additional financial aid to Africa in the billions is questionable as is maintaining a blank-check policy defending Ukraine.

Let's use some of that money towards the benefit of American citizens...the ones who need it

As for protecting the southern border, why not employ the National Guard on a full-time basis as this would ease the burden on the U.S. Border Patrol.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of Castlewood,
on Jan 23, 2023 at 6:12 pm

Kevin is a registered user.

@Jake, our homeless friend there explained very well why Obamacare works. Instead of going to the ER, he is seeking and receiving proper medical care. ER is much much more expensive compared to proactive medical treatment. I am glad to read that the majority of comments seem to agree that healthcare is a right.

@Lawrence, The Texas governor deployed Texas national guard to the border and it did not stop the migrants from coming. The Arizona governor built a border wall of shipping containers and that did not work either. The real solution is to have comprehensive immigration laws that not only address the border but also the courts, state department, etc. There have been several bipartisan efforts to get comprehensive immigration laws but border and immigration are topics that Republicans love to use to beat up on Democrats during elections so no progress there either. Sorry state of politics in this country!

Posted by JJ, a resident of Birdland,
on Jan 24, 2023 at 7:19 am

JJ is a registered user.

Immigrants are coming by the millions because Biden opened the boarder. And Newsom and Biden promised them everything for free. 7 out of 10 immigrants in California are on welfare. Take away the welfare and they will go home.

Follow this blogger.
Sign up to be notified of new posts by this blogger.



Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from DanvilleSanRamon.com sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Burning just one "old style" light bulb can cost $150 or more per year
By Sherry Listgarten | 8 comments | 1,995 views

Reflecting on lives this Thanksgiving Day
By Tim Hunt | 0 comments | 1,049 views