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San Benito Health Care District weighs Chapter 9 bankruptcy at upcoming meeting

HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION-TV) -- San Benito Health Care District's board of directors are considering whether to file a Chapter 9 bankruptcy case at its next board meeting.

Chapter 9 is a chapter of the national bankruptcy code allowing hospital districts and other public entities to adjust their debts in a bankruptcy case.

In that case, the district may continue operations without disruption, including caring for patients.

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital has faced a dire financial situation since the end of 2022.

During the last board meeting a consultant told the board that "while much had been done to shore up finances, the efforts would fall short of saving the Health care District as early a September of this year."

This meeting on filing for Chapter 9 is scheduled for May 22 at 5 pm.

The agenda item can be read here

California's Distressed Hospital loan program could benefit Hazel Hawkins

HOLLISTER, CALIF. (KION-TV)- The Distressed Hospital Loan Program will step in to help hospitals in distress, like Hazel Hawkins, who are struggling to stay open.

It's a relief for those who rely on their services like Corrie Kareus.

"We live a 45-minute drive to get to town already," Kareus said. "Can you imagine us having to go to a different hospital, especially because we have children?"

Another concerned parent echoed what Kareus said.

"And plus, we're not even from here," the parent said. "We come like 40 minutes down from Panoche Valley. So this is the only emergency place we have."

Although help is coming from the state, there's still concern about how much it'll help the hospital. 

The hospital is glad they're getting help, but they say there's more work to be done.

In a statement, Hazel Hawkins said in part quote:

"For our part, we will continue the work we are doing to shore up our finances, find a partner or buyer for our system, and to secure access to healthcare for our San Benito County community."

The hospital is still thankful to state leaders for making a program like this and is hopeful Governor Newsom will sign the bill to make it official.

There's about $150 million in funding for the program. 

The Department of Health Care Access and Information would oversee it, requiring hospitals to provide more transparency about their financial condition, create more accountability to ensure long-term sustainability and require state verification of financial plans before any loan approval.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46


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