Jan 16, 2015

The executive who led Doctors Medical Center (DMC) from bankruptcy before the hospital was hit with more financial challenges is stepping down due to unspecified health issues, said Eric Zell, chair of the West Contra Costa Healthcare District.

Dawn Gideon’s official end date is Feb. 1. Kathy White, the interim COO, is slated to assume Gideon’s duties in addition to her COO work.

Zell said Gideon had originally planned to leave later this year as part of the cost-cutting measures from the 5×8 plan, a last-ditch effort to preserve DMC as a full-service hospital.

“Dawn’s departure is ahead of schedule, but given her personal health issues, it is completely understandable,” Zell said in a statement.

He credited Gideon for “innovative cost cutting measures, reforms and strong leadership as she kept hte hospital open during dire financial times.”

Gideon was hired as DMC’s Interim CEO in March 2011, after leading an effort to rescue the hospital from bankruptcy three years earlier, partly through operational adjustments to save $12 million annually.

DMC’s financial troubles returned, however, after the safety-net hospital suffered from decreased reimbursement rates and a 22-percent drop in patients (CC Times) due to the Affordable Care Act, which offered patients more options to go elsewhere, according to Gideon.

In 2013, the hospital declared a fiscal emergency, and then in May of last year voters rejected a parcel tax that would have closed a $20 million annual deficit.

The latest effort to address that shortfall is the 5×8 Plan: a five-year, eight-part proposal to preserve a full-service hospital.

The plan includes the need to pass a less expensive parcel tax, to procure additional contributions from hospitals in the region, and to further slash DMC’s payroll and employee benefits.

The 60-year-old DMC has had financial problems for years, mainly related to the low reimbursement rates from the hospital’s many MediCare and Medi-Cal patients.

Last year, the hospital was forced to dramatically reduce services, diverting all ambulances to other hospitals and reducing the number of beds.

On Friday, the Contra Costa Times looked into the impact the ceasing of ambulance service at DMC has had on other hospitals such as Kaiser Richmond.


  1. The Richmond promise program is to important To be cannibalized , to be clear to take collage money out of the mouth Of our Richmond kids for a short term solution to have a full service hospital will not happen . We need leadership in DMC to stand up and be accountable. It’s well understood in the real estate community that the property DMC sits on is listed with a real estate broker for sale .
    The Richmond small businesses association did a poll which shows the majority of the voters overwhelmingly agree that you can’t rob the college fund from our Richmond children for a short term solution. DMC will lose this campaign, in more dramatic fashion then their last campaign.

    The leadership needs to Look to the solution promoted by the team of professionals , an emergency room facility ,

    Richard Poe | Jan 17th, 2015
  2. The above article was edited to exclude the city council action to divert $ 12 million from the Richmond promise program to preserver full-service hospital . A complete reporting should include the city council action in taking collage funds away from our Richmond kids for a short term 5 year solution to maintain a full service hospital , only if everything else falls into place this city council action is however textremely unpopular with a majority of the voters ., DMC doesn’t have a long term solution how can they live within their means ? , The original parcel tax of $ 20 million a year did not solve the hospital problems for they had $100 million retrofit that remained unfunded .
    Also what is the plan for the sale of the hospital as advertised by their real estate broker? I remain hopeful of Goodhard reporting on the subject will help the board of DMC face reality now , while there is time to have a solution for a stand alone emergency room facility .

    Richard Poe | Jan 18th, 2015
  3. Richard, thanks for reading and for your comments, For the record I did not exclude this information. I just kept the focus on Gideon’s departure. In future stories that deal expressly with DMC’s future, you will read about the Richmond council’s plan to use $15 million from the Chevron Modernization community benefits package, and how an important part of those community benefits, the $35 million Richmond Promise program, would be reduced by $10 million. I will again report, and have reported in the past, on the looming $100 million seismic retrofit by 2020 and so forth. Past stories with this info: http://richmondstandard.com/2014/12/contra-costa-county-supes-approve-debt-waiver-plan-help-preserve-full-service-dmc/ and http://richmondstandard.com/2014/10/richmond-plan-keep-doctors-medical-center-full-service-hospital-many-question-marks/.. Thanks for keeping me on my toes, Richard.

    Mike Aldax | Jan 18th, 2015
  4. Thanks Mike ,
    It’s my personal believe the Richmond promise program is to important in the long run , to be short changed by diverting funds to a failed module a stand alone full seviice hospital . The plan as published I s only for short-term fix maybe five years .nIf the county board of supervisors felt DMC was important priority they would find he money to keep the doors opened . They collect enough taxes in the system , clearly DMC isn’t a priority , finding money for their unfunded pension liabilities is higher on the list .clearly government unchecked growth has allocated resources to big government and ever increasing operational cost . I believe our elected officials I’ve to stop playing politics and take the solution in front of them , a stand alone emergency facility, There is no net job loses since their is a shortage of nurses and doctors, the staff that left all are gainfully employed as I understand it .

    Richard Poe | Jan 18th, 2015

About the Author

Mike Aldax is the editor of the Richmond Standard. He has 13 years of journalism experience, most recently as a reporter for the San Francisco Examiner. He previously held roles as reporter and editor at Bay City News, Napa Valley Register, Garden Island Newspaper in Kaua’i, and the Queens Courier in New York City.