Santa Paula City Council Approves Plan To Consider Selling Parcels of Memorial Hospital’s Property
The Santa Paula City Council on Monday voted unanimously to approve a plan directing City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz to work with Santa Paula Memorial Hospital's creditors to identify buyers for parcels of property that are not necessary for hospital operations, the Ventura County Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 6/29). The 49-bed facility, which operated the only emergency department between the cities of Santa Clarita and Ventura, closed in December. The hospital's board of trustees filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court in Santa Barbara three days after the closure. Court documents list no claims or creditors, but board members have said that the not-for-profit hospital has debts of about $7.5 million and about 400 creditors. The hospital board and the Ventura County Board of Supervisors have been negotiating since June 2003 to make Santa Paula Memorial part of the county health care system to allow the hospital to remain open. In addition, an attorney for the hospital this week is expected to ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robin Riblet to allow Pasadena-based Kare Healthcare to prepare a business plan to reopen the hospital. Kare has promised to deliver a business plan within 45 days (California Healthline, 6/28). Because the city is a creditor, the city council also can propose a reorganization plan, but Kare officials on Monday asked the council to consider their plan to reopen the hospital, pay off creditors and preserve the land for community use before releasing its own plan.
Bobkiewicz said the plan to sell parcels of the hospital's 29 acres of property could remove the hospital's largest obstacle to reopening -- satisfying its creditors in the medical center's bankruptcy case. Council members also unanimously approved a plan to consider re-zoning the property to open it to development, and they directed Bobkiewicz to work with creditors to find a health care provider interested in operating the hospital without having to purchase its outlying property (Ventura County Star, 6/29).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.