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 addition to writing editorials for more than 15 years. I have served as a director of many non-profits in the Valley and the broader Bay Area and currently serve as chair of Teen Esteem and on the advisory board of Shepherd?s Gate. I also served as founding chair of Heart for Africa and have travelled to Africa seven times to serve on mission trips. My wife, Betty Gail, has taught at Amador Valley High (from where we both graduated) since 1981. She and I both graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, as did both of my parents and my three siblings. Given that Cal tradition, our daughter went south to the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in international relations. Since graduation, she has taken three mission trips and will be serving in the Philippines for nine months starting in September. (Hide)
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.