Two Ventura County hospitals will soon seek federal permission for a merger that would allow a hospital to remain open in Camarillo, officials said.
Pleasant Valley Hospital would continue to operate in Camarillo if the Federal Trade Commission approves the small hospital's proposed affiliation with St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, said Norman Gruber, president of Pleasant Valley Hospital.
The hospitals would remain separately owned, but a third company may be formed to oversee the two operations, said Dan Herlinger, president of St. John's. The two facilities are about 12 miles apart.
"An independent hospital is having more and more problems making it on its own," Gruber said. He said the proposed consolidation would forestall future economic troubles that might threaten the viability of Pleasant Valley Hospital.
Pleasant Valley Hospital is financially sound now; however, the next few years may be tough if it does not find a financial partner, he said.
The proposed merger, which will be submitted to the FTC in a few weeks, will "retain a hospital in each community, combine the strengths of each facility . . . and reduce duplication," Gruber said.
It is too soon to determine which departments at Pleasant Valley or St. John's may be cut or how many employees may be laid off, Herlinger said. "We will still have emergency rooms at both hospitals," he added.
It might take as long as a year before the FTC issues a decision on whether the proposed merger violates anti-trust laws, Herlinger said.