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California hospital ends merger talks with Dignity Health

County officials overseeing Ventura (Calif.) County Medical Center have ended months of partnership talks with Dignity Health after leaders from both parties deemed an affiliation too risky, according to a VC Star report.  

County Health Care Agency Director Bill Foley said San Francisco-based Dignity approached county officials last year for preliminary talks about a partnership. The parties discussed various models, including one in which Dignity would lease and manage VCMC's main hospital in Ventura and its affiliated Santa Paula Hospital. 

Mr. Foley said Dignity officials considered it a risk to take on public hospitals, while county managers were concerned they would give up control but still face risk for buildings and finances. County officials were also concerned VCMC would lose its designation as a public hospital under either a lease or a contract with Dignity, which would put roughly $150 million in annual funding at risk. 

VCMC's search for a partner continues. "We are looking at strategic relationships with other systems where we maintain our identity," said Mr. Foley.

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