Talk of the Bay
Talk of the Bay
Saving Watsonville Hospital and creating the new Pajaro Valley Healthcare District
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The for-profit corporate owner of Watsonville Hospital announced in 2021 that they would have to sell the hospital or file for bankruptcy. Host Len Beyea interviews Mimi Hall of the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project and County Administrative Officer Carlos Palacios about successful legislation (SB 418) to create the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District, a new sale agreement with the current owners of Watsonville Hospital, and promising fundraising efforts.

Mimi Hall is a longtime health care administrator in the public sector, including serving as the Health Services Director for Santa Cruz County during much of the coronavirus pandemic. During that time, she worked closely with the community and local health care providers to save as many lives as possible and successfully reduce racial and ethnic disparities when it comes to testing, vaccinations and health care outcomes for communities of color. Last year, Ms. Hall received national recognition from PEN America for her courage leading the county through the pandemic in the face of opposition and threats. She recently left county service for the private sector, but has continued her public service by serving on the board of the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project, the nonprofit seeking to establish a healthcare district for the Pajaro Valley and acquire Watsonville Community Hospital.

Carlos Palacios is the County Administrative Officer for the County of Santa Cruz, a position he has held since 2017. During that time, he has guided the county through both the CZU Fire and the coronavirus pandemic, and has undertaken several initiatives to improve county government operations including Strategic Planning and the purchase of a large property in the city of Watsonville to more equitably deliver county services to South County residents. Mr. Palacios is also a board member of the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project, and has taken a leading role in preserving Watsonville Community Hospital by leveraging public and private dollars to support the acquisition and operation of the hospital. Prior to his time with the county, Mr. Palacios served for nearly two decades as the city manager of the city of Watsonville.