District renews medical deal

Jeff Benson

A Huntington Beach healthcare provider filed a lawsuit against Coast

Community College District last week for its alleged refusal to

accept all bids for Coastline College's healthcare service. But that

didn't dissuade the district's board Wednesday from renewing its

existing contract.

The board, which also governs Orange Coast College, voted 5 to 0

Wednesday to extend its contract with Memorial Prompt Care Medical

Group Inc. for one year while it searches for better proposals from

other healthcare providers. Memorial Prompt Care has served the

college since 1998.

"The reason the college asked for that one-year extension was

because it could take us four or five months to get all

constituencies involved in the process," district spokesperson Erin

Cohn said. "It may not take a whole year, but we don't want to

require students to have to change healthcare providers in the middle

of the school year."

Dr. David W. Cheshire's lawyer, Dale Quinlan, said the contract

should be open to public bid under the public contract code and

contended that the district failed to comply for the second year in a


"The contract was originated in 2003 as a five-year contract with

the district," Quinlan said. "In 1998, there was another [request for

proposal] process, and another doctor got the contract. In 2003, the

contract came up again, but the district declined to open up the bid

process, and they extended the contract. Then they did it again


Quinlan also said Cheshire's Huntington Beach-based organization,

Family Care Medical Assn., was unfairly shut out from bidding on the

Coastline contract because the doctor who holds the contract, Jamie

Lewis, also serves on Coastline's foundation board.

District trustee Jerry Patterson said the request process will

take about a month to iron out before bidding opens.

"He's decided to sue us," Cohn said. "The college will open up the

[request for proposal] process, and he will have that opportunity."

Cohn said Coastline students, for the most part, have been happy

with the services they've received from Memorial Prompt Care. The

district is expected to commit to a five-year term with a healthcare

provider after it reviews bids this year, she said.

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