The Petaluma Health Care District has announced that it will regularly discuss the upcoming expiration of Petaluma Valley Hospital's lease in order to prepare for the hospital's future.

The hospital is owned by the health-care district but operated by St. Joseph Health System. Under the current 20-year lease agreement, St. Joseph will remain in charge of the hospital until 2017.

Health-care district officials voted last week to add a standing agenda item at every forthcoming board meeting to discuss the upcoming expiration and whether any changes should be made in the agreement with St. Joseph.

"We're starting now so that the public can have sensitivity to fact that this lease is coming to an end," said Daymon Doss, the district's executive director.

Doss added that no decisions have been made, and the ongoing agenda item is an indication of the plans for an open dialogue.

"We're sending a signal to the community that board is beginning process of review," he said. "We believe there will be high public interest."

— Argus-Courier Staff