Watsonville Group Hospital in jeopardy as buy deadline looms – Santa Cruz Sentinel

WATSONVILLE — Fundraising to purchase the bankrupt Watsonville Group Hospital continues to be hundreds of thousands of {dollars} brief, and officers fear the acquisition bid will fail, the power will shut down, and residents of Santa Cruz and Monterey counties will undergo.

“I’m scared we received’t be capable of shut the sale,” stated Mimi Corridor, chair of the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Mission, a nonprofit neighborhood group attempting to purchase the power.

For the acquisition to go forward, venture officers should give you $63 million by a court-ordered deadline of Aug. 31, and as of this week have been greater than $15 million brief, Corridor stated.

“It’s getting more durable and more durable to shut that hole,” stated Corridor, former director of the Santa Cruz County Well being Providers Company.

In the meantime, the deadline for Driscoll’s berry firm to match donations as much as $1.75 million has been prolonged until the top of this month.

The hospital, considered one of two in Santa Cruz County, has seen nearly two dozen for-profit homeowners over the previous twenty years. A bunch of traders purchased it in late 2019 and it filed for chapter in
December in federal court docket. With a shutdown looming, a neighborhood effort and fast-tracked state laws in February created the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District, an unbiased public company that may function the hospital if sufficient cash is raised for the acquisition to undergo.

The hospital now operates at a lack of $2 million a month, however venture officers imagine that in the event that they purchase the power, it could be breaking even by the top of subsequent yr.

“It’s the hope that when there’s not a profit-making entity taking out revenue and as soon as they will management the expenditures that they’ve a greater likelihood of bringing it in steadiness,” stated California Sen. John Laird, who with Meeting Member Robert Rivas shepherded the laws to create the well being care district.

“We will’t let this hospital fail,” Laird stated this week. “This hospital employs over 600 individuals and … serves a deprived neighborhood that must journey for providers if this hospital
weren’t there.”

Watsonville residents needing hospital care must get to Natividad Medical Middle in Salinas or Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, or be taken to a type of amenities by ambulance, Laird famous. “For emergency providers, that’s a troublesome distance,” he stated, including that closure of Watsonville’s hospital would put an additional burden on the opposite two amenities.

The Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Mission, which the chapter choose dominated in February may purchase the hospital, nonetheless wants somewhat greater than $15 million to achieve the $63 million it requires, its chair Corridor stated. The $63 million consists of $9 million for the hospital, nearly $24 million in debt to be paid off beneath the acquisition deal, $7 million in contract obligations, and $23 million for post-sale
operations and various acquisition prices, she stated.

Mission proponents are counting $20 million from the state as already raised, though affirmation is determined by approval of the funding within the state funds scheduled for a June 15 vote. “I don’t need to jinx it by saying it’s 100% at this level,” Laird stated.

Santa Cruz County has put $5.5 million into the venture, Monterey County has contributed $3 million, the Group Well being Belief of Pajaro Valley has added $6 million, the Central California Alliance for Well being and the Kaiser Basis Well being Plan have every put in $3 million, and Stanford Kids’s Hospital has added $1.1 million.

The well being care venture grew out of collaboration amongst Santa Cruz County, town of Watsonville, Salud Para La Gente and the Group Well being Belief of Pajaro Valley.

For the Driscoll’s donation match, $1.3 million of the $1.75 million has been raised, well being care venture spokesman Jason Hoppin stated this week. Earlier than the deadline extension, the match pledge was to run out in the beginning of Could.

Mission proponents, Hoppin stated, are pursuing a number of fundraising potentialities, together with acquiring belongings from the Group Well being Belief of Pajaro Valley, which was created by way of proceeds of the 1998 sale of the hospital — a nonprofit on the time — to a for-profit Tennessee-based hospital firm.  The belief’s most-recent monetary statements present $19.3 million in belongings final yr, together with $18.6 million in investments. The belief didn’t instantly reply to questions on use of its belongings for the acquisition.

Mission officers are additionally working to steer native foundations to kick in to assist purchase the hospital, Corridor stated.

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