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UC San Diego Health operations deal with California hospital slows to crawl

Tri-City Healthcare District in Oceanside, Calif., and UC San Diego Health are still working on plans for a joint power agreement that was expected to be completed by the end of March, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported April 21.

Tri-City selected UC San Diego Health in October as a partner for the agreement.

Initial plans for the deal would have given UC San Diego Health administrative, clinical and operational management authority over all of Tri-City's healthcare services with a community board that provides input and guidance. 

Along with its assets, Tri-City's debts would have been assumed under the initial plan, the publication reported. 

UC San Diego Health CEO Patricia Maysent told the Union-Tribune that the health system is "100% committed to getting this [the agreement] done," and while it might not be exactly like the previous plan, the goal is to stabilize healthcare in the area.

The agreement reached in October was also dependent on UC San Diego Health's understanding of Tri-City's physical and financial struggles, largely due to the pandemic, a process that has been underway for almost six months with no resolution in sight.

Tri-City also fell victim to a cyberattack in November, which Ms. Maysent told the publication has added time to UC San Diego Health's analysis.

However, the beginning of 2024 saw an upswing for Tri-City, marking the first time in around two years that the hospital saw positive margins in back-to-back months. 

"[UC San Diego Health] sent a team to dive into our financials and make sure that they were spot on, no inconsistencies, that our forecasts for the rest of the year looked good," Gene Ma, MD, Tri-City Medical Center CEO, told the publication. "They found that we didn't make assumptions that they disagreed with, and they were able to validate that we're hitting all of our targets."

Becker's reached out to UC San Diego Health for comment and will update this story if more information becomes available. Dr. Ma had no further comment.

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