Board Approves Coalinga Regional Medical Center Plan To File for Bankruptcy
The board of directors of Coalinga Regional Medical Center last week voted in favor of a plan to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy following a failed real estate project, the Fresno Bee reports. The hospital serves about 20,000 people a year from Coalinga, Huron, Avenal, Cantua Creek and unincorporated areas in western Fresno and Kings counties, as well as the Coalinga and Avenal state prisons. A major factor in the hospital's financial difficulties has been a medical office building constucted in the 1990s that has never able to attract sufficient tenants to cover its expenses, according to hospital administrator Robert Duncan. The hospital is responsible for all unused space under a 10-year lease, which has cost the medical center $1.6 million over the last five years, Coalinga Regional Board Chair Sandy Beach said. Beach also said reduced payments by state and federal agencies and managed care companies contributed to the hospital's financial situation. Hospital officials say they do not foresee any service interruptions or job cuts. "We took this action to protect district assets," Beach said, adding "We cannot allow scarce [health] district dollars to flow to anything except patient care." Approximately one in five rural hospitals in California has closed or filed for bankruptcy since the mid-1990s, according to the California Healthcare Association's Rural Healthcare Center (Coleman, Fresno Bee, 5/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.