Board member Kevin Northcraft says the decision had to be made, after Healthcare Conglomerate Associates, the company that manages the hospital, told employees this week it would temporarily suspend operations and potentially let all employees go-due to a board decision earlier this month to declare bankruptcy, among other reasons.
Northcraft says HCCA is trying to create maximum harm, arguing the board is trying to keep it to a minimum.
"Let's hope in the long run we'll look back on this painful period as just a necessary evil to get to the long-term goal of bringing back our quality public hospital."
Full statement from Benny Benzeevi/CEO of Healthcare Conglomerate Associates
"HCCA was prepared to continue with the management of the hospital and provide financing alternatives to the board which would have kept the hospital open. Instead, blinded by their hate and personal agendas these individuals hastily and without any plan, filed for this unnecessary bankruptcy for the sole reason of trying to remove HCCA. Unfortunately, their imprudent actions informed by personal vendettas and hate may end up costing the taxpayers of Tulare millions of dollars and may result in the closure of their hospital. It is ironic that the very people who rejected the proposed bond offering and instigated the recalls and who promised that they will do a better job, are now faced with the imminent closure of the hospital. They may have succeeded in their mission to reject HCCA but at a terrible cost of potentially hundreds of jobs lost."
"Think it will be kinda hectic if they close and I would have to find another spot to go to," said Johnny Vallejo.
Vallejo's girlfriend was planning on having their baby here, but now they're not sure if the hospital will be reopen in time.
Pete has lived in Tulare for decades, and says the hospital closure is a major setback for the city he calls home.
He says ambulance patients will be brought to Kaweah Delta in Visalia, and that will take time.
"Having pneumonia or whatever. I mean they say well six miles, but look at all the red lights it's got, look at all the stops he's gotta make and slow down to make it," said Pete.
A notice drafted by the hospital board and its law firm list three area hospitals people can go to while Tulare is closed, including Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, Adventist in Reedley, and Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville.