The ink is finally dry on the affiliation agreement signed between Sebastopol’s Palm Drive Hospital and Marin General Hospital, providing a vehicle to create a three-hospital network that maintains local autonomy for all three communities, while providing many of the benefits on an integrated system. The Marin General-Sonoma Valley Hospital-Palm Drive network offers economies of scale, group purchasing, coordinated planning, and the ability to enrich the array of medical options for Sonoma’s West County residents.
For West County residents, the affiliation agreement will strengthen primary and specialty care options in the area. It will give residents access to doctors in the Marin-Sonoma Independent Physicians Association, which means that more specialists will be available to them. Through the recruitment capabilities of Prima Medical Foundation, which can offer strong operational support to physicians daunted by high practice costs, it is likely to bolster primary care, as well. For residents of the Marin and Sonoma Valley healthcare districts, the benefits come from “strength in numbers.” By sharing a variety of back office costs — from billing and marketing to purchasing — all three hospitals will benefit from lower overall expenses.