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San Benito County Board of Supervisors approves $2.2 million tax advance money to Hazel Hawkins Hospital

HOLLISTER, CALIF. (KION-TV)- UPDATE ON DEC. 21, 2022, AT 9:34 AM: On Wednesday morning, The San Benito County Board of Supervisors announced that they had approved a $2.2 million tax advance money to San Benito County Health District.

The decision came down during a special meeting that was held on Thursday. Hazel Hawkins Hospital will receive 85 percent of tax revenues during the fiscal year of 2022-2023.

The Board also directed staff to find other resources and look at other options. The Board said that the County is not financially able to offer additional funding to the hospital at this time.

The County says it will continue to seek support on behalf of the hospital.

ORIGINAL STORY

Hollister local Marcella York has questions regarding the potential closure of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.

“I think it's incredibly concerning if you have a life-threatening emergency and there's no nearby hospital, you have to drive to Gilroy,” York said. “How many lives could possibly be lost in that timeframe of driving from here to there? It's very worrisome.”

It’s especially an issue for her since she’s also a parent.

“I would have a ten anxiety,” York said. “Yeah. If you have young active children, it's a huge concern.”

Hazel Hawkins is trying everything to cut costs and find additional funding to keep its doors open.

In a statement regarding this issue, interim CEO Mary Casillas says optimistically quote:

“We offer many vital health services San Benito County relies upon and are aggressively seeking bridge funding options to maintain those services as we look for a long-term strategic partner. With everyone’s support, and with critical improvements on our end, we still believe that we can find a partner that will enable HHMH to remain viable and continue providing top-quality health care services to our community.”

This is still a big concern for people that live in Hollister since it’s the only hospital in San Benito County. The next closest hospital is in Gilroy. That’s a long drive, especially in times of emergency.

Some people already have to take the trip because Hazel Hawkins doesn’t accept their insurance like Diane Torres. She's a cancer survivor of twelve years.

“I need to have my checkups to keep up with my blood work and, you know, mammograms,” Torres said. “Apparently, they don't accept Medicare A and B. And it's hard for me too, you know, to be going back and forth to Gilroy again. I don't have transportation.”

The California Nurses Association also informed Karl that nurses who work for Hazel Hawkins would be attending the San Benito County Healthcare District meeting tomorrow.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46

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