SP Hospital: Delayed official opening won’t dampen Saturday dedication

June 23, 2006
Santa Paula News

Although it might not be officially open, it won’t damper the celebratory dedication of Santa Paula Hospital on Saturday.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesAlthough it might not be officially open, it won’t damper the celebratory dedication of Santa Paula Hospital on Saturday. The celebration will be held from 2 to 4 p.m., and those who would like to attend can board a shuttle bus at the Depot or the VISTA bus stop across from City Hall for the ride to the celebration of the return of the “Hospital on the Hill.” The shuttle bus will run from 1:15 p.m. until 4:45 p.m.Elected officials including Supervisor Kathy Long and Mayor Rick Cook will be on hand for the dedication ceremony, which will include a tour of the refurbished and revitalized facility.“Although the hospital won’t be open,” due to state inspection delays, “celebration of the return of this life-saving community asset is still in order,” said Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause. Krause and the City Council had made first trying to save and then reopening the hospital a top priority since it was first announced in December 2002 that the community built facility might be lost.“We’ll be dedicating it, it might not be open but it’ll dedicated,” said Supervisor Kathy Long, who spearheaded the county’s effort to purchase the hospital. The celebration will also mark what very few have accomplished in recent years: purchasing and reopening a small, rural hospital.
The closure of Santa Paula Hospital not only was an emotional blow to the River Valley it had served since 1961, but also represented a healthcare crisis for the approximately 60,000 area residents who relied on its Emergency Room. After the December 2003 closure, those seeking emergency care were more than 20 minutes away from the closest facilities.In late 2005 the deal was closed for the county to purchase the hospital campus for $2.75 million, but once possession was obtained it was found that the facility had deteriorated and much of the medical equipment was missing. The county has spent about $4.5 million on repairs, upgrades and equipment replacement.“We took the necessary time and used the best resources to assure that patients, staff and residents will be proud of their hospital,” said County Health Care Agency Director Michael Powers. “Patients at Santa Paula Hospital will receive top-notch, quality care due to its affiliation with our comprehensive system of healthcare.”“It took us a little more time than we anticipated, but the hard work that went into it shows and the hospital looks beautiful,” noted Supervisor Long. “The Santa Clara River Valley community will be proud” of the 49-bed hospital.Eventually the hospital will have a workforce of 145 full-time employees, many who were employed at the facility at the time of its closure. Services at the reopened Santa Paula Hospital - with an operating budget of $14 million annually - will include emergency, maternity, surgery, critical care, radiology and laboratory, among others.



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