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Another hospital deal, another fight between Prime and SEIU

Two health systems are vying to operate Petaluma (Calif.) Valley Hospital, and SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West wants one contender knocked out of the competition.

Petaluma Valley Hospital's current lease expires in 2017. Four organizations placed bids to operate the hospital, and it narrowed its choices to two last month. The hospital chose Prime Healthcare Services as one of the finalists — a move that is not sitting well with SEIU-UHW.

SEIU-UHW has accused Petaluma Health Care District of misinforming the public. According to the union, the district said in November that Prime Healthcare Services was one of the companies interested in buying Petaluma Valley Hospital. However, last month, after the four public hearings on potential buyers concluded, Prime Healthcare Foundation was listed as one of the two finalists.

"If the Petaluma board refuses to drop Prime Healthcare Foundation from consideration, hospital workers could file a lawsuit under the state's Ralph M. Brown Act, which guarantees the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of local legislative bodies and requires transparency in district board decisions," SEIU-UHW said in a news release.

Prime Healthcare Foundation spokesman Fred Ortega said SEIU-UHW's allegations are without merit. "As usual, SEIU-UHW has decided to interject itself into a matter wherein they represent none of the workforce in its ongoing campaign against Prime Healthcare," he said. "It is unfortunate that SEIU-UHW spends its efforts on these baseless complaints in an attempt to scare and bully companies into submission for their self-serving political motives."

This isn't the first time Prime and SEIU-UHW have crossed paths. The two organizations were involved in a bitter battle of words for the past few years concerning the sale of Los Altos, Calif.-based Daughters of Charity Health System.

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