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San Benito County Board of Supervisors voted to sign NDA with San Benito Health District

HOLLISTER, Calif. (KION-TV) -- UPDATE ON MAY 23, 2023 AT 6:02 PM- During Tuesday's meeting, The San Benito County Board of Supervisors voted in favor to sign a non-disclosure agreement with San Benito Health District.

The agreement comes a day after the San Benito Health Care District voted to approve Chapter 9 bankruptcy for Hazel Hopkins Hospital.

Under the NDA, The Board of Supervisors will now get the same information that potential buyers of the hospital are getting from the health care district.

The NDA will allow the county to help the hospital in finding a potential partner and the Board will now have access to the hospital's financial records.

Hazel Hopkins Hospital originally declared a fiscal emergency in November 2022.

San Benito Health Care District votes to approve Chapter 9 bankruptcy filing

The San Benito Health Care District approved filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy during a board meeting Monday night.

It's an option that staff says has been on the table since last year.

The district says they've looked at ways to cut costs and shore up finances but the decision "allows us to deal with larger issues we just can't tackle outside of Chapter 9."

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital will stay open, according to a spokesperson, while the process continues.

According to the hospital the Chapter 9 process allows them to do the following:

  • Resolve key contract issues relating to its self-inured status for healthcare benefits for employees
  • Allows the hospital to remain open and fully operational during the process
  • Accelerates the search for a partner or buyer
  • The court can now appoint an ombudsman to ensure the quality of care provided to the community

The hospital says healthcare benefits are costing the District over $15 million a year currently and is not in alignment with other similar sized institutions.

Hazel Hawkins to discuss filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy

HOLLISTER, CALIF. (KION-TV)- For the second time in six months, Hazel Hawkins will consider filing Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Interim CEO Mary Casillas explained why this is coming up again after it was brought up last November.

It has taken some time and to be honest, we were looking to avoid Chapter 9 or bankruptcy early on,” Casillas said.

Casillas says the time is now to possibly file, but says this doesn’t mean the hospital is closing.

“What bankruptcy and filing Chapter 9 can do is allow us to stay open longer,” Casillas said. “So it does allow us to stay open and restructure our finances to do that.”

Employees working in the hospital don’t feel as confident as administration.

The constant unknown of the hospital's longevity has seen a handful of staff members already leave the hospital according to Registered Nurse Diane Beck

“ER is out of compliance a lot,” Beck said. “ICU is out of compliance because we've had a few nurses in ICU that have left. That search where I’m at we’re pretty well staffed. But, OB’s they’re low on staffing.”

Beck says the only real change that needs to be done needs to start with hospital administrators.

“It’s so irritating and upsetting that our community is going to suffer because of what has happened,” Beck said. “And in the unknown, in the community, they have no idea if they're going to have a hospital here or not. That is not fair to them.”

Casillas also said she understands that this could be frustrating as they’re trying to do what they can to keep the hospital afloat by also looking into the loan program provided by the state.

Whether or not bankruptcy is filed will be determined at the Hazel Hawkins board meeting scheduled for Monday night.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46


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