Madera city leaders, first responders concerned about impact of Madera Community Hospital closure

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Saturday, December 24, 2022
Madera city leaders, first responders concerned about impact of Madera Community Hospital closure
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State leaders are urgently searching for a solution in hopes of saving a Central Valley hospital.

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- State leaders are urgently searching for a solution in hopes of saving a Central Valley hospital.

Madera Community Hospital announced Friday it plans to file for bankruptcy and close its doors.

It comes comes after a potential sale of the hospital fell through.

First responders and city leaders are speaking out about the impact to resident care.

The hospital that celebrated 50 years of service in 2021, is now planning to close its doors for good unless something happens -- fast.

Robert Poythress serves on the Madera County Board of Supervisors.

He's also a member of the Board of Directors for Madera Community Hospital.

He says the hospital serves mostly Medi-Cal and Medicare patients.

That comes with a low reimbursement rate from the state.

Then over the pandemic he says many long-time nurses retired.

The hospital had to fill those positions with traveling nurses, at more than three times the rate of pay.

"With these low reimbursements and this high rate of payment of traveling nurses, it just tanked us," Poythress said.

So, the hospital looked for a buyer or partner.

Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno, owned by Trinity Health, showed interest and started the process.

The California Attorney General's Office had to sign off on the sale and released a list of requirements in order for it to move forward.

"Trinity, the parent company of Saint Agnes came out with what they were willing to do and then the Attorney General came out recently 10 days ago -- two weeks ago -- with whatever their conditions were and unfortunately there was a big gap." Poythress said.

Saint Agnes released a statement saying in part "Unfortunately, given the complex circumstances and the additional conditions imposed by the AG -- outlined in a final report issued last Thursday -- it became clear we could not move forward."

The AG's office also released a statement saying in part, "Any deal without those conditions would make the hospital one that would not serve or help the community."

Without a sale, the hospital plans to file for bankruptcy and close its doors on January 3, 2023.

Service in the emergency room, delivery room, surgery and outpatient will all close at that time.

Clinics will close on January 10, 2023.

The looming closure is putting pressure on other first responders.

Ted Pistoresi co-owns Pistoresi Ambulance.

He says response times could slow as patients are taken to hospitals further away.

"If we have all of our ambulances in Fresno taking two to three hours to get back, it's going to affect the ability to provide service here because we're just not going to have ambulances," Pistoresi said.

David Bacci, the Regional Vice President for the Hospital Council says the impacts of the closure will be felt well beyond Madera County.

Patients will fill beds across the Central Valley, meaning longer wait times and further travel for care.

"Depending on where in our region people are seeking care, this could potentially be a difference of 70 miles or more that they would have to travel," Bacci said.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors is planning to hold an emergency special meeting next Thursday to discuss what steps to take next.

The exact time of the meeting will be released next week, but officials say this is something that needs to be discussed as soon as possible.