The Ventura Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Community Memorial Hospital's position against a proposed $56-million county clinic project that the hospital believes would hurt its business.
The chamber's board of directors voted to endorse the hospital's stand against Measure X on the March 26 ballot after hearing presentations from both county and Community Memorial representatives.
"The board felt that this is truly government competing with the private sector," said John Walters, chamber president. "As the voice of the business community, we would be opposed to that."
The Ventura County Medical Center wants to build the new walk-in facility as part of its plan to consolidate several clinics now housed in leased buildings away from the hospital campus. County officials say the move would save money on rent and overhead costs in the long term. Officials of Community Memorial, situated two blocks away in Ventura, oppose the project because they believe it would be used to unfairly compete for privately insured patients. Officials also say the county could end up footing the entire bill for the project if state and federal construction money is cut back.
The League of Women Voters of Ventura County will sponsor a public forum on Measure X at 10 a.m. Saturday at Poinsettia School, 350 N. Victoria Ave.
Dr. Samuel Edwards, administrator of the county hospital, and Laura Dahlgren, a registered nurse at Community Memorial and a spokeswoman for Taxpayers for Quality Health Care, will be the featured speakers.