The board voted 5-0 in favor of the proposal during a non-binding straw vote. Final approval of the business plan is scheduled for Aug. 24.
Several people told the supervisors the new hospital's location would not be easily accessible by bus and that they preferred a location in southwest Santa Rosa.
The board members, however, agreed the business plan meets three key criteria of the county's 1996 Health Care Access Agreement with Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa, the goal of which was to provide care to the county's uninsured and indigent residents.
The agreement requires the new facility to provide: equal or better access to county residents, equal or better quality of care than now provided by an aging Sutter hospital located on Chanate Road, and reduced overall costs of health care.
Board members said the hospital's location near U.S. Highway 101, the county's main artery, would be more accessible to county residents.
The health care access agreement expires in 2021, and board members said Sutter's compliance with the agreement would be continuously monitored during that time.
The new hospital would sit on a 25-acre site and would replace the Chanate Road hospital in Santa Rosa, which needs to be retrofitted or replaced by Dec. 31, 2014.
That requirement will be met if construction on the new facility starts on or before Dec. 31, 2010.
Mike Cohill, senior vice president of Sutter Health, said he was pleased with the board's approval of the business plan and that construction on the hospital will start by the end of the year.
The plan for the new hospital includes 82 licensed beds, 10 labor and delivery rooms, a 24-station Universal Care Unit for patient observation and extended recovery, and a 12-bed emergency department.