San Joaquin General Hospital announced Monday that it has signed a letter of intent to enter into a long-term agreement with Dignity Health to provide critical care to residents throughout the county.

At a Feb. 9 meeting, supervisors authorized county staff to enter into a non-binding letter of intent to evaluate various options and negotiate the terms for structuring a potential partnership between the hospital and Dignity Health.

The hospital and Dignity Health signed the letter of intent on May 25.

The two entities will now develop a work plan and provide a report to supervisors, with the goal of starting collaboration within 6-9 months.

The letter of intent provides strict parameters regarding this joint effort, including maintaining SJGH as a county hospital, and ensuring it continues to provide care to low-income residents.

San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors chair Tom Patti said the partnership will allow the hospital to remain a viable provider of affordable and quality health care.

“Due to the pandemic and a variety of other fiscal considerations, SJGH will require access to clinical, operational, educational, and financial assistance that could only be provided by entering into an agreement with an established, successful health care system,” Patti said in the media statement. “We believe this affiliation will be significantly beneficial to all parties, but especially to patients and staff at SJGH by providing a more financially-secure hospital setting which offers more sustainable care over the long term.”

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