Jason Cowan
The Union Democrat

The release of a study intended to evaluate the possibility of the Mark Twain Health Care District operating the medical center in San Andreas has been delayed.

Larry Blitz, executive director of the district, said results of the study known as the Quorum Assessment have not yet been released to them. The rough draft of the document was expected by the middle of January. Blitz said the final report is expected next month.

“We’re not overly concerned,” Blitz said. “We’re not sure what’s going on. I’m sure we’ll hear from them very quickly. At this point, I’m not worried.’

Quorum Health Resources LLC is being paid $175,000 for the assessment. Biltz said he reached out to the company two days ago but hasn’t gotten a response.

A 30-year lease between the district, the Mark Twain Medical Center Corporation and its partner Dignity Health expires at the end of 2019.

As part of the agreement, the district leases all equipment and properties to the corporation. Dignity Health employs a chief executive officer and other high level officials and manages operations and health support services. The corporation also pays for hospital staff that provides the day-to-day care.

Dignity Health operates the center in San Andreas and the five rural healthcare clinics throughout Calaveras County. The hospital leases one clinic but does not control any of the four others. Negotiations include them all nevertheless.

In all, the assessment will evaluate future lease options with the current entities and whether it is viable for the agreement to continue, if there’s another option out there, and if the district can operate independently.

Almost simultaneously, the district will host a town hall event to identify community needs and how they can cater to the interests of many in the population for the next 20-30 years.

Blitz said the community-needs assessment could factor into a future lease agreement. If they identify certain target areas they’d like to work on, they could take them to potential lessees and get their insight on a plan to accommodate.

Blitz said the town hall would likely be held next month. The information would go back to the board for consideration. They would then develop a Request for Proposal.

“I would expect it within 30 to 45 days, a pretty good initial idea of how community feels about what’s important,” Blitz said.