MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Madera Community Hospital sits empty more than three months after it shut down on December 30, 2022.
Across the parking lot, Dr. Mohommad Ashraf remains in his practice but he now has to go to Fresno to operate.
The cardiologist said two of his patients have died since Madera Community closed.
One was in an ambulance on the way to Fresno, the other at home waiting for an ambulance.
"There are only six ambulances in Madera. There are only six crews, that's it," said Dr. Ashraf.
Assembly Bill 412 is making its way through the state's capitol.
It would provide much-needed funding to hospitals like Madera Community that have either shuttered or are about to.
It would allocate millions of dollars in loans to prevent hospitals from closing, but it's just a band-aid.
The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria, who said another solution could be to get U.C. Merced involved.
"We will need a teaching hospital. Maybe this is that opportunity for the UC to step up and be a partner with us here in the Central Valley to ensure this hospital reopens," said Soria.
Dr. Sharaf is hoping AB-412 will pass and that it will be enough to get even a small portion of Madera Community running.
"Even for some limited number of beds. We can get 25-30 beds, as an emergency -- an emergency room, some beds, emergency surgeries," said Dr. Ashraf.
He says just like with a stroke or heart attack, where every minute counts, every dollar put towards reopening the hospital is a step closer to renewed care in the community.
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