Federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Approves Plan To Reopen Santa Paula Memorial Hospital
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robin Riblet on Wednesday authorized a plan that will allow Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, which declared bankruptcy and was forced to close in late 2003, to reopen this fall, the Ventura County Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 4/7). Santa Paula Memorial closed in December 2003, and the hospital board of trustees subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Santa Barbara.
Under the plan, Ventura County will pay $2.75 million for 13 acres of land, which includes Santa Paula Memorial (California Healthline, 2/15). In addition, Comstock Homes of Manhattan Beach, a home developer, will pay about $13 million for 15.5 acres of undeveloped land. The city of Santa Paula has rezoned the undeveloped land for residential construction. Santa Paula Memorial will use the funds raised from the residential portion of the land to pay creditors (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/7).
Santa Paula Memorial, which houses the only emergency department between Ventura and Santa Clarita, will reopen as part of the Ventura County Medical Center (Kelley, Los Angeles Times, 4/8). The county will not assume liability for the pensions of former Santa Paula Memorial employees or actions of the previous owners. County officials also said that Santa Paula Memorial should have the ability to operate with funds raised through patient care.
Ventura County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathy Long said that she expects Santa Paula Memorial to reopen in September or October (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/7). Samuel Edwards, a former county medical center administrator who has overseen the plan to reopen Santa Paula Memorial, said that county officials must inspect the equipment at the hospital, license the facility as part of the medical center and issue approval for Medi-Cal and Medicare reimbursements -- which could take until December. Santa Paula Memorial will provide emergency care and deliver babies (Los Angeles Times, 4/8).
Long said, "It's a great day for Santa Paula and the Santa Clara Valley" (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/7). She added, "We are fully prepared to bring it back to life as a vital facility for the Santa Clara Valley. We are ready and willing and very able to open the doors and provide quality services for the residents of the valley" (Ventura County Star, 4/7).