District History


December 2, 1947 – San Mateo County residents voted to create the elected board responsible for developing and opening a new hospital in San Mateo County.


March 2, 1954 – After two-and-a-half years of construction, the Peninsula Hospital opened in Burlingame. The new hospital, built primarily through taxpayers’ support, provided 153 beds and carried a staff of 275 employees and 100 physicians and surgeons.


Peninsula Hospital changed its name to Peninsula Hospital and Medical Center.


Peninsula established a Cardiovascular Surgery program at the hospital through an affiliation with the University of California, San Francisco.


Peninsula celebrated its 25th anniversary, as well as signed a joint planning agreement with Mills Memorial Hospital in the city of San Mateo.


Peninsula (Burlingame) and Mills (San Mateo) hospitals merged to form Mills-Peninsula Hospitals in an effort to expand the scope and quality of services provided to residents. Both Mills and Peninsula continued to operate as full-service hospitals.

As part of the consolidation, the District Board leased the Peninsula Medical Center and its land to Mills-Peninsula Health Services, a private non-profit group that assumed management of the hospital. At this time, the District also donated seven parcels of land to Mills-Peninsula Health Services.


The State of California passed Senate Bill 1953, establishing stricter safety standards for general acute care hospitals, which must be complied with by 2013. Mills-Peninsula and the District did two independent studies, both concluding that the only feasible approach would be to re-build the hospital. Although a retrofit was possible, the cost was prohibitive and there was no guarantee that the hospital could remain open during the retrofit.


Mills-Peninsula joined Sutter Health, a non-profit health system of 27 hospitals in Northern and Central California. The Peninsula campus officially became Peninsula Medical Center and inpatient care was consolidated there. At this point, ICU and inpatient services were eliminated at the Mills Health Center in San Mateo. The Family Birth Center opened at the Peninsula Medical Center.

District launched its community grants program and started to invest tax payer assets outside of the hospital and into non-profit, community-based health services organizations.


The District filed a lawsuit against Mills-Peninsula Health Services for alleged conflict of interest in the original lease.


The District Board began negotiating the terms of a new hospital lease and the construction of a proposed new hospital with Mills-Peninsula.


A Letter of Intent was signed to restructure the relationship between Peninsula Health Care District and Mills-Peninsula Health Services. The revised agreement outlined terms to negotiate the settlement of the 1997 lawsuit, including the lease arrangement, the District’s degree of oversight and the return of properties to the District.


A proposal for a new $400 million, not-for-profit community hospital and restructured relationship with the Peninsula Health Care District was submitted by Mills-Peninsula for consideration and was reviewed by the District Board and the public.


In response to the last proposal, a new Letter of Intent was submitted to the District and was reviewed by the District Board and the public. The new agreement ensured District ownership of the entire site, allowed MPHS to build a new seismically-safe hospital for the community and lease 21 acres of the site to MPHS for 50 years. The District Board unanimously approved this Letter of Intent minus two provisions which have been tabled. Those provisions include a non-compete clause and a deferral clause.


The PHCD Board began formalizing a definitive agreement that reflected the Letter of Intent’s principles and renegotiated the non-compete and deferral clauses for resolution. Once a final agreement was approved by PHCD Board and MPHS, the agreement was forwarded to the voters for ratification in a special election.


Measure V, the agreement to build the new hospital on District land with no new taxes, was approved by over 92% of the voters. Construction began a month later.


District Board embarked on its expanded role as landlord, real estate manager, and healthy community advocate, leader and supporter. Strategic Plan developed and Executive Director Cheryl Fama was hired.  New office, infrastructure and systems are established.


The doors to the new Mills-Peninsula Medical Center opened.