Madera County Supervisors unanimously approved reserving $100,000 of federal COVID-19 recovery funds to help pay for Madera Community Hospital’s license renewal costs.
Tuesday’s vote came with little fanfare but potentially significant consequences for the 106-bed hospital, which closed in January amid severe financial difficulties. The hospital’s license is currently on hold and state officials as well as local leaders are exploring ways to reopen the facility, which housed adults in Madera County before closing earlier this year and filing for bankruptcy. was the only acute care hospital for
The hospital’s license expires on May 26, according to Jessica Lyons, the county’s chief administrative analyst.
County administrative director Jay Varney said California hospital regulators have expressed considerable flexibility on license expiration as the local center explores options for reopening. He added that Madera County will hold back $100,000 of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) until the state makes a formal request for the payment of the license renewal fee.
The expiration of the license means that whoever takes over the closed hospital will have to start from scratch as if they were trying to license an entirely new hospital, one that process that may require compliance with a set of entirely new requirements. For hospitals that are already licensed.
“The bottom line is, if this is going to reopen as a critical care hospital, the license is very important, and I think it’s important for the county to have that license,” Varney told county supervisors in his Sept. There would be a reasonable commitment to pay.” May 9 meeting.
According to the California Department of Public Health, the licensing and certification fee for acute care general hospitals is $828 per licensed bed. With 106 beds, the license fee for the Madera Community Hospital would be approximately $88,000.
A potential lifeline of the state
The vote comes a day after Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Distressed Hospital Loan Program, a new state program designed to provide interest-free loans to public and non-profit hospitals facing significant financial hardship Is. Local government agencies may also be eligible for loans to help prevent hospital closures or reopen a closed hospital.
The bill authorizes the allocation of up to $150 million from the state general fund to the loan program for the 2022–23 and 2023–24 budget years. The loan program will be available through the end of 2031.
State Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria, D-Fresno, and State Sen. Anna Caballero, D-Merced, welcomed the bill as a potential lifeline for Madera Community Hospital and other financially troubled hospitals in central San Joaquin.
“I am grateful to the governor for prioritizing state aid, so Madera Community Hospital and other struggling hospitals have access to emergency funds,” Soria said Monday. “Reopening Madera Community Hospital has been my top priority this year and (Monday’s action) gives me hope in restoring emergency medical care, delivery services and access to critical preventive care for the community.”
Caballero said she is grateful for the “quick and collaborative work of my Assembly and Senate colleagues, as well as the support and work of Governor Newsom and his team to ensure that our hospitals remain open and serve our residents.” be able to.”
Caballero said, “The Madera community hospital was financially unable to continue providing services and was forced to close three clinics in rural communities along with its … hospital.” “Our healthcare system is in crisis.”
Madera County studying feasibility of reopening hospital
In addition to the $100,000 approved Tuesday, county supervisors voted last week to hire a consulting firm to study the feasibility of various options for reopening the hospital.
Joel Budge, the county’s deputy managing director, said Force 10 Partners LLC will study business scenarios for an agency or entity to acquire the hospital with the goal of “transforming it and turning it into a hospital-based health care facility.” Could The work will also include an analysis of break-even prospects for different types of services and an estimate of how much money will be needed to reopen the hospital if a new operator can be found.
There is no specific amount of the contract, but according to Budge, the total cost of the various aspects of the study is estimated to be between $400,000 and $440,000.
Regarding potential claimants to the hospital, Varney said that “there have been very, very preliminary talks.” He told The Fresno Bee on Tuesday that he could not provide details about who might participate.
For now, he said, potential carriers are awaiting more detailed information on costs, the possible mix of insurance and other payers for services, reimbursement rates and time delays and more.