Tulare hospital’s emergency room had its first patient just 15 minutes after reopening under the management of Adventist Health.
“(Patients) are in good hands,” said hospital board member Xavier Avila.
Nearly a year after closing, Tulare Regional Medical Center opened on Monday, making history along the way. The reopening comes just days after receiving state certification.
Kevin Northcraft, the board’s president, said there wasn’t any other hospital that opened within a year after surrendering its medical license and declaring bankruptcy.
“It took a great deal of work, frustration and overcoming obstacles,” he said.
Northcraft said Adventist Health has exceeded expectations since showing interest in managing the Tulare hospital in June.
“It leads me to believe we will have a glorious partnership,” he said.
Avila also said Adventist Health was the right organization to manage the Tulare hospital.
“You are the answer to our prayers,” he said. “We prayed for an answer and God responded with you.”
Adventist Health, which manages hospitals in Hanford, Selma and Reedley, was chosen over another organization that submitted plans to reopen the Tulare hospital.
Adventist Health’s plan was picked because it included a $10 million loan to finance projects needed to open and promised board members the hospital would reopen ahead of the one-year closing mark.
Under new management, Tulare hospital opens Luis Hernandez, firstname.lastname@example.org
In order to reopen the hospital, a number of repairs needed to be made including the installation of a chiller, repairs on shelving and flooring around the hospital and the installation of a new nurse communication system.
The building’s outside was also painted.
Tulare representatives and administrators said having the Tulare hospital open is a welcome addition.
David Macedo, Tulare’s mayor, said he was pleased with the partnership between the hospital and Adventist Health.
“From my seat, this is the right thing,” he said. “This community will benefit so greatly from Adventist being in this community. I don’t think we understand what they bring.”
Willard Epps, interim city manager, said having the hospital open is great. He praised the board members for their work and said having a local hospital can make a difference in a patient’s life.
“It’s just a matter of seconds between life and death,” he said. “Just to have a hospital with tremendous resources, it is almost hard to explain.”
Larry Blitz, interim hospital CEO while the hospital was closed, said he was pleased to see it open. Blitz, who has been in hospital administration for four decades, called the Tulare hospital the most satisfying project.
“It took a tremendous amount of effort,” he said.
Randy Dodd, Adventist Health executive, said the Tulare hospital’s opening is like a phoenix rising from the ashes leaving behind the previous administration.
Dodd said Monday made 110 days since the hospital board approved negotiating with Adventist Health to get the hospital open. Work that typically gets done in six months took 21 days for the Tulare hospital.
“It is amazing work when you get focused and everybody is committed to a timeline,” he said.
Adventist Health will manage the Tulare Hospital as an acute care facility, offering an emergency department, medical and surgical nursing, intensive care, emergency surgery, anesthesia, pharmacy, nutritional services, medical imaging, and lab.
The hospital opened with 265 employees, about half of them are returning, increasing the local economic impact.
Board members said they were pleased with the opening. They also asked for voters’ support in November.
Measure H seeks approval to finalize the lease agreement between the hospital board and Adventist Health. The agreement needs approval because the hospital gets property tax funds.
Mike Jamaica, a board member, said the opening was just the beginning of a two-step process.
“We have arrived,” he said. “A vote yes in November will keep us alive.”
Avila also called on voters’ support for Measure H.
“H is for hospital. H is for honesty. Vote yes on H,” he said.
Source: Luis Hernandez, Visalia Times-Delta