Santa Paula Memorial Hospital Officials Will Request Review of Plan To Reopen Hospital
An attorney for Santa Paula Memorial Hospital this week will ask U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robin Riblet to allow Pasadena-based Kare Healthcare to prepare a business plan for reopening the hospital, the Ventura County Star reports (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 6/24). 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. Documents filed with the court listed 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 (California Healthline, 5/7).
The hospital board and Kare signed an agreement last week to allow Kare to prepare a business plan for the hospital and take over management of the facility. According to hospital attorney Jay Michaelson, Kare's business plan would be the "heart and soul" of any reorganization plan, which would allow the facility to satisfy creditors and emerge from bankruptcy protection. Kare has promised to deliver a business plan within 45 days. Michaelson said that court approval of the agreement would allow the facility to spend $40,000 toward reopening; half of the money would compensate Kare, and the other half would be used to maintain leases on two outpatient clinics, which could be reopened to help bring patients back to the hospital when it reopens. Hospital CEO Gene Kaberline said of the plans, "I certainly will not commit to any services, but the intent is we would be an acute care hospital. We hope to do an emergency room and necessary affiliated services." In addition, hospital administrators are making plans to reactivate the board's license to operate a hospital (Ventura County Star, 6/24).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.