The odds of the Tulare Regional Medical Center receiving $22m in emergency funding are down significantly after the proposal to fund the hospital was left off of a committee meeting agenda.
At 10:30am, the California State Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Health and Human Services will decide whether or not to fund a laundry list of proposals. The proposal to fund the Tulare Local Healthcare District’s turnaround efforts won’t be on that list.
Assemblyman Devon Mathis brought the issue to the subcommittee. He states that Democrats found the hospital to be too risky to save.
“Capitol Democrats stated that the hospital is too big of a risk and gamble to bail out. They have concerns regarding the litigation and when the hospital will actually reopen,” a statement from Mathis’ office reads. “There are 70,000 people in Tulare who don’t have access to a hospital, and big city politicians don’t seem to care.”
Justin Turner, Mathis’ chief of staff, said Mathis and his staff have been working throughout the month to try to see the proposal through to a vote; he was even working on swaying legislators late into last night, after the agenda was published.
“Around 9:30pm we got the word that Democratic leadership thought it was too big of a risk,” Turner said.
A delegation of community members from Tulare previously spoke to the subcommittee on May 8.
“Anyone can go to the Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia and see the two tents that are pitched, and see so many people. And I recognize those people,” Xavier Avila, a district board member, told legislators at that time. “They’re sick, they’re in pain, they have fevers, they have injuries. And they don’t know when they’re gonna be seen by a doctor — and it’s horrifying to see that.”
A Lower Amount May Be In Play
“They did say that they will possibly reconsider for a different amount when the Democratic and Republican leadership meet with the governor; we’re hopeful, but it sounds like a long shot,” Turner said.
Rich Gianello, one of the district’s turnaround consultants, had previously told the subcommittee that a reopening would take anywhere from $18-22m.
He stressed to the subcommittee members that their funding wouldn’t be used to pay off pre-bankruptcy debt, and would only be used to reopen the hospital.
Mathis’ office, in a press release, advised citizens to reach out to the Assembly Budget Committee at 916-319-2099 and demand the proposal be heard and voted on.
“Mr. Mathis and our office is not done working on this. We are going to work for other avenues of approach to get this done. We really want to keep working on this. Mr. Mathis doesn’t mind burning all political capital to get this open,” Turner said.
“The hospital’s new management is working night and day to get the doors back open. I’ll keep fighting with the same dedication to find a solution that brings health care access back to our community,” Mathis said.