The Grossmont Healthcare District, the public agency that serves as landlord of Grossmont Hospital on behalf of the community, has launched an effort to prepare for a June 2014 ballot measure to extend the existing lease agreement with Sharp HealthCare for the operation of the La Mesa hospital.
The Grossmont Healthcare District board members gave the go-ahead to begin preparing a ballot measure with the June election as a target date. A final decision whether to proceed is expected in early March.
Concurrently, the Grossmont Healthcare District and Sharp HealthCare are making final revisions to a lease extension agreement, which would be available for public review and input when finalized.
The Grossmont Healthcare District’s current 30-year lease with Sharp is scheduled to expire in 2021. Discussions have been underway for more than a year about extending the current lease for another 30 years, while making improvements to the current agreement.
Based on state law, voters of the East San Diego County region have the ability to approve any hospital lease extension between the district and Sharp.
In 2005, then-Assemblyman Jay La Suer of La Mesa authored AB 1155, which specified that the district could extend its lease with Sharp following a vote of the people. As a result, the district is currently the only health care district in California allowed to consider a lease extension.
If a decision is made to proceed with the June election, it won’t be the first time in recent years the community has been asked about the future of the hospital.
In June 2006, voters passed a $247 million bond measure, Proposition G, approving the measure by more than 77 percent. Since then, general obligation bonds have been financing construction for several infrastructure projects at Grossmont Hospital.
Recent bond-related projects have included completion of the top three floors of the Grossmont Hospital Emergency and Critical Care Center in 2009. This year, construction started on a three-story 74,000-square-foot heart and vascular center and an 18,000-square-foot central energy plant.