TRMC employees speak out as hospital files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

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The board of directors for Tulare's public hospital filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy Saturday. (KFSN)

The board of directors for Tulare's public hospital filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy Saturday, in the wake of ongoing financial and political turmoil.

Recently, numerous employees have quit, and last week, some did not receive their paychecks on time.

Action News spoke to one of those employees Monday. He has been a Tulare Regional Medical Center employee for more than a year and recently applied for other jobs but has not quit yet--some of his co-workers have.

On Friday night, as the hospital board considered their options during an emergency board meeting, he spoke up, saying if the hospital were to shut down, people's lives would be at risk.

" If you have a missing facility, then the ambulances will be put on bed delay, meaning the patient's still on the gurney at the hospital waiting to get a room, the TRMC employee said and those delays can be up to four to six hours at a time."
The hospital board filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on Saturday.

Board member Kevin Northcraft says the filing does not mean the hospital is going out of business but will allow them to reorganize it.

He is hopeful employees will receive their paychecks on time in the future.

Healthcare Conglomerate Associates (HCCA), the company that manages the hospital, did not respond to a request for an interview Monday.

"We feel that the board is doing the right thing to make this happen and to get us to where we need to be at," the TRMC employee said.
Another special board meeting will take place Monday night, addressing the need to fill two board vacancies.

Richard Torrez resigned last week.

This week, the TRMC employee is feeling more optimistic about the hospital's future.

He knows Tulare needs one and losing it would be devastating.

"That's what the community wants," he said. "They want their community-based hospital, with their community-based physicians treating them. They don't want to have to go someplace else to be treated."
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