TULARE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Tulare Regional Medical Center is closing its doors to patients Saturday at midnight -- forcing patients to get care elsewhere and leaving hundreds of employees out of work.
The Tulare Regional Medical Center medical board asked the state to allow them to voluntarily shut the hospital down and are looking to cut ties with the company that manages it.
The medical board says this will help the hospital protect public health and safety -- hoping to make changes that will allow them to provide at a higher level of care for patients after declaring bankruptcy.
The voluntary shut down will halt medical care and jobs until they can reopen but it has also halted new construction.
"The construction was pretty much stopped, there was an $85 million bond to build that tower," said Xavier Avila.
Now, patients who would normally receive healthcare from this hospital will need to travel further for help. Three hospitals in surrounding areas are taking patients including, Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, Adventist in Reedley, and Sierra View Medical Center in Porterville.
Sierra View Medical says they have already started seeing an increase in patients but say they are open and available to assist the community in any way possible.
"We've seen about a 23 percent increase in our ambulances over the last few weeks as well as a modest increase in our ED volume," said Chief Nursing Executive Jeffery Hudson.
The hospital is set to reopen at the latest November 27th but they are hoping it will be even earlier.