Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Photo by John Chadwell.


Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (HHMH) announced Sept. 21 that there would be no official partnership with Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital (SVMH), though both entities agreed to continue to cooperate on behalf of patients.

The two healthcare systems began negotiating in May 2018. A spokesperson for Salinas Valley told BenitoLink in August the hospital was conducting a forensic accounting study to determine if a partnership with Hazel Hawkins was possible.

According to a HHMH press release, San Benito County’s only hospital will continue to strategize on how to meet the healthcare needs of the rapidly growing county.

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital President and CEO Pete Delgado said the hospital looked forward to “continuing the cooperative relationship we have developed between our two hospitals over the years” and would “continue to work with Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital to support the needs of the patients in our communities.”

Hazel Hawkins Hospital currently utilizes Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital materials purchasing contracts in order to receive the larger facility’s economies of scale in purchasing supplies and equipment, the press release said. Hazel Hawkins will also have access to SVMH education simulation labs for employees to acquire additional training and expertise.

In the future, HHMH plans to continue to work toward finding a strong, collaborative healthcare partner, the press release said.

When Hazel Hawkins Hospital announced the search for a potential partner back in April, Salinas Valley was included in a list of other prospective collaborators, including Stanford Health Care, Dignity Health, El Camino Hospital, Adventist Health, UCSF Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital/HCA, Kaiser Foundation Health, Sutter Health and Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

The Sept. 21 Hazel Hawkins press release states that although the district’s finances have improved over the last several months, CEO Ken Underwood believes a partner will help the hospital reach sustainability and grow at the same pace as San Benito County.

“Our community would benefit in many ways through a partnership,” Underwood said. “The board of director’s vision for collaborating with a larger health system is aimed not only at financial health, but also at enhancing the population health of the community, improving care of chronic diseases, using network platforms for preventative care and wellness, and adapting new education modules to improve our staff competencies.”