Reedley fights to keep a hospital open

FRESNO, Calif.

Adventist Health wants take over cash-strapped Sierra Kings District Hospital. To do so, voters must approve "Measure G".

Many residents we spoke with in Reedley say they know how valuable it is to have a hospital close by.

Annette Payne said, "We need it first of all for all the patients that come here because if they don't where are they going to go to Selma? A lot of them don't have cars and if an emergency an ambulance they go to Fresno. It's needed here not only for the community here but all around."

Voters in Reedley are being asked to decide on Measure G in June. If passed by a simple majority, Adventist Health would pay $12 million to take over the Sierra Kings District Hospital. The hospital board needs voter approval when selling off more than 40% of the hospital.

Sandy Haskins said, "To lease most of the hospital property, to sell the clinic businesses, the rural health clinic businesses, and for Adventist Health to purchase the equipment in the facility."

Interim CEO Sandy Haskins says like other rural hospitals that had to shut down, Sierra Kings has been suffering for years. In 2006, voters approved a $20 million bond to renovate the hospital's birthing center and update equipment, yet just three years later, the hospital filed for bankruptcy. If Measure G is not passed, the hospital could close.

Haskins said, "It'd be very problematic to be able to continue to operate the facility without this transaction."

Right now Sierra Kings District hospital is losing money every day. Adventist Health hopes to change that by hiring more doctors and specialists here in Reedley.

Rick Rawson adds, "I think being part of a larger network with more resources really provides a lot more opportunities for this to be successful."

Adventist Health already owns hospitals in Selma and Hanford.

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