The Monterey County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to move forward to see whether a collaboration between two Salinas hospitals makes sense.
They voted to explore further the idea to create a partnership between Natividad Medical Center and Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.
The decision does not mean the partnership is going to happen. It simply means now the Board is going to explore the idea further through fact finding before the big talks can start.
The Board decided to create a committee to lay down the rules of negotiation and get input from all stakeholders to find out what their needs are. Given their experience with the community, supervisors Fernando Armenta and Simon Salinas were chosen to form that team.
"I think if we can do it in an open manner, in a manner that's respectful, in both organizations the people are going to win," said Harry Weis with Natividad Medical Center. "Then we can continue to do some incredible things in this community."
"There may be great opportunities for collaboration. That is what it appears to be on the surface of it, but it requires much deeper look beyond the surface to see if the two institutions could work more carefully together," said Adrienne Laurent with Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System.
The supervisors will put together their findings, then bring it back to the Board in about a week or two to see if it wants to move forward at that time with the heavier talks.
Supervisor Armenta emphasized these discussions will not surround the trauma center. He said that decision to move forward with the construction has already been made, and he doesn't want to touch it again.