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PVHCD History

In order to form a healthcare district and acquire Watsonville Community Hospital, urgency legislation — Senate Bill 418 — was brought forward by State Senator Laird and coauthored by California State Assembly members Robert Rivas, Mark Stone, and Senator Anna Caballero. The bill was passed unanimously by the Assembly and Senate, and on Friday, February 4, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the legislation into law. The District itself was created by the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project , a collaboration between the County of Santa Cruz, the City of Watsonville, Salud Para La Gente and the Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley. Working together, these entities saved Watsonville Community Hospital from bankruptcy and established public oversight of the hospital through the Pajaro Valley Health Care District. The District’s borders run from the Aptos area on the west to the town of Pajaro in the east, spanning two counties and serving a diverse population of residents from all walks of life. While the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors made initial appointments to the PVHCD Board, future Boards will be subject to public elections. The PVHCD Board recognizes that health outcomes are directly impacted by social determinants of health such as race and ethnicity, living conditions, occupation, documentation status, zip code and income. Watsonville Community Hospital serves many areas where these factors, if unaddressed, can lead to poor health care outcomes. A balanced healthcare infrastructure in Santa Cruz County, including the long-term viability of WCH, is essential to addressing these disparities.

PVHCD Map & Stats

The boundaries of the Pajaro Valley Health Care District are shown in the map below, in the salmon color. This map was created by LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission). The PVHCD boundary covers 108 square miles. For more detailed information on the areas included in the District, click here.

The 2023 estimated population of the PVHCD is 94,349. As of Feb. 27, 2024, there were 43,229 registered voters in Santa Cruz County and 4,497 registered voters in Monterey County that live within the boundaries of the PVHCD. Voters within the district will receive information from their county election department whenever there is an item on the ballot relating to the Pajaro Valley Health Care District. Following are links to those election departments: Santa Cruz County and Monterey County.

The Pajaro Valley Health Care District was is proud to be named the Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce 2022 Organization of the Year.

This video showcases our history from the creation of the Pajaro Valley Health Care District Project to becoming a new Health Care District within the state of California, and the effort to help us return to our roots as a non-profit hospital, owned by our community.