Plans for reopening SPMH detailed by Sup. Long

October 22, 2004
Santa Paula News

The plans for reopening Santa Paula Memorial Hospital (SPMH) topped the bill at the season premiere of Good Morning Santa Paula! (GMSP) when Supervisor Kathy Long offered an update on the county’s purchase of SPMH, shuttered since December.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe plans for reopening Santa Paula Memorial Hospital (SPMH) topped the bill at the season premiere of Good Morning Santa Paula! (GMSP) when Supervisor Kathy Long offered an update on the county’s purchase of SPMH, shuttered since December.Limoneira Co./Mercantile hosted the Chamber of Commerce sponsored event held at Logsdon’s at the Santa Paula Airport.Long noted that every seat was filled for GMSP hosted by “such good representative of a company,” Limoneira that is so important to Santa Paula.“I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you to the community who never gave up,” and challenged leaders to reopen SPMH, shuttered since December, said Long.Following the December 2002 announcement “of the insolvency” of SPMH, the Santa Clara River Valley formed a joint Ad Hoc Committee to study hospital issues and then watched as the hospital started to slip away, she noted.Ventura County started talking with the hospital board about taking over SPMH: “I’m not here to cast blame, the negotiations were what they were,” and ultimately failed, but in recent weeks the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to purchase the hospital campus for $2.75 million.Now a plan forged between the Creditors Committee and the county -assisted by the city - will be presented to the bankruptcy court including bids on the hospital’s remaining property.The City Council will work on zoning issues and garner public input on property development and the county will work with the state on licensing and other issues, noted Long.Also a priority is the condition of the facility and “making sure that we have one that is staffed, supplied and run administratively well…a walk through has already taken place and other reviews,” will take place.The county team believes that the facility is in “very good condition, a majority of the equipment is still there, it was a very positive walk through.”
An agreement with river valley physicians will be sought for them to resume SPMH practice under Dr. Sam Edwards utilizing the “strength of the entire county healthcare system. It is intended to be a full service, 24-7 hospital, babies to be born and loved one taken care of,” with the projected opening in Spring 2005.Long noted that county hospitals are governed by statutory laws that makes it very difficult to change the level of service or close down.“It’s a very open public process required by law and required to be done in the community with the community, they won’t walk up and read that a hospital is closed but would have a part in the decision making.”In addition, the county has an “open system for your continual review; as a taxpayer you are entitled to look at the books, now the revenue stream,” and how money is spent.Reopening SPMH does not preclude a new hospital being built on Highway 126, Long noted, a move that would require a vote of the river valley residents.“It can be done. As I’ve seen you step forward to get the Hospital on the Hill open I would work with the community,” to create a new hospital.An audience member noted that the strength of SPMH had been its staff and Long said that the county would be open for new hires. “We don’t have excess staff that can move over,” and preference would be given to former SPMH workers.Area physicians would be offered “full privileges to practice; it’s very important that the physicians in the valley support the hospital,” and would like to keep their patients serviced by SPMH.About 1,000 county employees live in the area who would become hospital patients and the county is trying to identify sites for medical clinics to provide preventive care, said Long.“I appreciate your support…there’s work in front of us,” including the bankruptcy court process. “We’ll be calling on you for additional support.”Long said that river valley leaders including Mayor Gabino Aguirre, Vice Mayor Mary Ann Krause and Dr. Ernie Carlson were instrumental the process of reopening SPMH.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.