Hillman Clinic Slow to Re-Open

May 29, 2009 1:32:38 AM PDT
The Tulare Regional Medical Center has shut down a former county-run clinic.Water stains and holes still cover the ceiling at the Hillman Health Clinic. A sign inside reads the Hillman Clinic is closed.

Tulare Regional Medical Center officials say when they took the clinic over from the county at the beginning of March, it was only open for a few days.

Steve Debusky said, "We knew there were problems before but we didn't know the extent of the problems until we were actually in the building and had to hire inspectors to utilize the location."

The hospital is in the process of getting a license to operate the facility. But getting it up to code won't be easy.

Everything from the walls, panels and doors will be painted over and the ceiling will be replaced

It'll cost at least $100-thousand dollars alone just to paint the clinic and work could begin this weekend. The repairs can't happen soon enough for patients like Josie Watkins who are being told to go to the hospital's other clinic on Cherry Street, a mile and a half away.

Josie Watkins said, "I think it's very important because there's a lot of people suffering and it's been really inconvenient for a lot of people."

The Cherry Health Clinic has been seeing about 12-hundred patients a month, most of which are patients from the Hillman Center.

The state is expected to perform a final inspection of the Hillman Clinic on June 15th. Hospital officials plan to open up the clinic immediately afterwards.

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